How to Run Successful ICO Bounty Programs for Your DApp 9 months ago

How to Run Successful ICO Bounty Programs for Your DApp

ICO bounty programs help blockchain projects tap into a network of hundreds (if not thousands) of active blockchain users.

“Bounty hunters” or users who participate in a bounty program include everyone right from tech and marketing geeks to people with very many diverse talents. It’s almost like recruiting an army of blockchain enthusiasts to work on your project.

But running ICO bounty programs is a lot more than just sourcing talent or spreading word about your project using other people’s networks. In the wider sense, bounty programs help you build your project’s TRIBE.

They help you connect with a bunch of users who actively want to contribute to your project right from the start (actually even before your project begins).

Let’s now look at what ICO bounty programs are, their different types, and an easy 3-step process you can follow to run successful bounty programs for your project.

ICO bounty programs 101

An ICO bounty program is a task (or a set of tasks) a user must perform in order to win tokens in a blockchain project.

ICO bounty programs fall into two categories: 1) Pre-sale ICO bounty programs and 2) Post-sale ICO bounty programs.

Pre-sale ICO bounty programs are geared toward building momentum before the ICO. These programs focus on getting the bounty hunters to write or tweet about the upcoming ICO and refer more people to associate with the project.

Whereas post-sale ICO bounty programs help improve a blockchain project’s infrastructure, code, and accessibility among other things.

The different types of bounty programs

Here are a few of the standard ICO bounty programs.

(In addition to these, you can also come up with your own custom programs targeting areas you need help with.)

  • Signature bounty programs: Signature bounty programs get the hunters to use your banners, logo, or other branding content in their signatures on the Bitcointalk forum. Typically, members with better membership statuses earn more points compared to the newer or junior forum members.


  • Content bounty programs: Content bounty programs get the hunters to write about your ICO or blockchain project on their websites or on the websites they’ve access to. You can think of these programs like PR campaigns. They’re great at building your project’s brand awareness.


  • Social media and community bounty programs: Social media and community bounty programs get the hunters to promote the ICO on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and others and communities on Telegram or Whatsapp and create buzz before the ICO. You can set qualifying criteria for the participants (for e.g., a minimum of 50 Twitter followers) and give points for each tweet or post.


  • Referral bounty programs: Referral bounty programs get the hunters to invite more people to associate with your project. They’re great for adding quality blockchain users to join your project.


  • Translation bounty programs: Translation bounty programs get the hunters to translate the project website or whitepaper or other content. These programs help you personalize your project for your different target audiences.


  • Bug bounty programs: Bug bounty programs get the hunters to discover the bugs or vulnerabilities in your project. You can offer different rewards based on the bug/vulnerability severity.


  • Improvement bounty programs: Improvement bounty programs get the hunters to suggest ways for improving a project. These programs help improve your project’s overall user experience.

Setting up a bunch of bounty programs can make your project a lot more successful. The best part is that setting up a bounty campaign is quite a straightforward process. Here’s one you can use.

A 3-step process to set up, manage, and promote your ICO bounty programs

How to run bounty programs

Step #1: Planning your ICO bounty campaign

The first thing to do to plan ICO bounty programs is to set aside a certain percentage of your ICO tokens to distribute among the bounty hunters.

Typically, these could be between 2-3% of your tokens.

Once you’ve set aside the tokens to distribute as rewards in your ICO bounty campaign, the next step is to determine the different ICO bounty programs you’ll run and the token share of each.

To do this, just look at the different bounty programs above and choose a mix of pre- and post-ICO ones. If you think getting the community’s attention would be difficult, plan more of marketing or (pre-ICO) bounty programs.

Once you’ve chosen the different bounty programs to run and the rewards token percentage for each, it’s time to drill down to the tasks and rules (and terms) of each program.

For example, let’s say you choose the content creation bounty and set aside 25% of the total reward tokens for it.

So your next step is to determine how you want the content to be. For instance, you could say that to be eligible, a content creation entry MUST be on a website of domain authority > 30. And the word count must be 300+. Etc.

Likewise, define all the bounty program tasks and their rules. Make sure that you use a simple language to explain these tasks and terms. Here’s an example of the bounty program of Cryptelo (a blockchain-powered key management system):

Setting bounty terms

DEEP AERO (an AI-powered blockchain drone economy) also keeps its bounty programs’ terms, conditions, and rules simple:

ICO bounty programs

Step #2: Promoting your ICO bounty programs

Once you’ve worked out all the logistics, you need to promote your bounty programs.

So once you set up the bounty page on your website, promote this page to reach more hunters. A great way to do this is to list your bounty programs on ICO bounty program listing platforms such as, ICO Bounty Hunt and to name some. ICO bounty hunters routinely check out such bounty program directories to discover interesting programs. And so featuring on these sites gets your bounty programs a lot more visibility.

Also, publish on free and paid blockchain forums and communities like BitcoinTalk where blockchain enthusiasts routinely hangout.

Step #3: Monitoring submissions

This is often the most difficult part of a bounty program as it involves manually reviewing the submissions to find the ones that qualify for the rewards.

You can either hire an ICO bounty program manager or use platforms like Bounty0x and BountyGuru that make reviewing the hunters’ contributions somewhat easy.

In most cases you’ll end up with spreadsheets like this one from DIWToken (a decentralized identification infrastructure on blockchain) for reviewing the submissions:

Reviewing ICO bounty campaign submissions

Or this one from SelfPay (a payments blockchain dapp that allows merchants to accept cryptocurrency):

Reviewing ICO bounty submissions

Here’s one from Patron Bounty (a blockchain platform that aims to revolutionize influencer sharing economics in Japan):

Monitoring bounty submissions

With that, you’re all set to launch your ICO bounty programs.

Communicating with the bounty hunters

A common mistake many blockchain project teams make is forgetting the bounty campaigns once some responses start rolling in.

Just as with any other campaign, even a bounty campaign needs to engage the bounty hunters to encourage them to keep promoting your ICO or keep looking for bugs.

Posting the campaign’s updates is a good way to keep the momentum on. So keep publishing updates on your bounty programs page.

Wrapping it up

Focusing on the tangible results ICO bounty programs get is a good thing BUT what you’re really finding here is a community that champions your project. If you need help with planning your ICO bounty programs, get in touch using this form.

Also published on Medium.