White Paper

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White paper — is an official document informing the reader about the new technology, methodology, product or service being launched[1].

The main objective[edit]

1. To provide the readers with important information about the product or technology;

2. To influence the decision made by the reader who read the text;

3. To establish interaction with existing or potential clients of the company.

The scope of use[edit]

Originally brief reports, which in the 19th century were provided by the British government for discussion in Parliament, were called White papers[2].

Since the early 90s of the 20th century, the concept of white paper has penetrated marketing[3].

In the information technology industry:

White paper is used either as technical instrument or as a marketing instrument:

  • Since the 1960s, in the Appum Group[4] the information on the latest developments and research results was spred with the help of White Books for internal use.
  • In the 1990s, white papers were actively used to provide information to top management of companies[5].
  • The publication of Satoshi Nakamoto's idea of digital peer-to-peer cash in the white paper of 2008[6] is considered a response to a crisis of confidence in the banking system[7].
  • The appearance of the White Book by Vitalik Buerin[8] in 2014 allowed the Nakamoto technology to be used more widely and completed.


A few important characteristics of White book:

  • It does not contain advertising messages: they encourage users in favor of the described technology or product by explaining why the proposed product is better than alternative ones.
  • It is neither a user's guide nor any other technical document: used before sale as a marketing tool.
  • It is written in a formal language and provides factual information (90% of the text), rather thatn the opinion of the creators of the text.


The documents of white paper of key cryptocurrencies resemble academic articles in terms of their structure. They often contain the following sections:

1. Introductory part: statement of the problem and a brief description of the current situation on the market

2. Definition of basic concepts, explanation of the operation of key algorithms.

3. The very presentation of the proposed concept. Technical details.

4. Enumeration of possible problems, as well as their solution. An explanation of why the solution of this company is better than the solutions of competitors/previous developments.

5. Examples of applications of the described technologies in other areas.

6. Main conclusions, brief summary of the document.

Interesting facts[edit]

Ethereum is constantly being improved by the creators, therefore, along with the White Paper, the following documents also apply to technical documentation:

  • Yellow Book (Gavin Wood) April 2014 - detailed technical description of Ethereum
  • Lilac book (Vitalik Butterin) September 2016 - a description of the new version of Etherium 2.0, which is called Casper. An attempt to eliminate the shortcomings of the PoW mechanism.
  • "Polka dot paper" (Gavin Wood) November 2016 - a description of an architecture consisting of many blockchains.

See also[edit]


  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white%20paper
  2. Ferguson R. Word of mouth and viral marketing: taking the temperature of the hottest trends in marketing //Journal of consumer marketing. – 2008. – Т. 25. – №. 3. – С. 179-182.
  3. Kantor J. Crafting White Paper 2.0: Designing Information for Today's Time and Attention-Challenged Business Reader. – Lulu Publishing, 2009.pp.24
  4. Willerton D. R. Ethos and exigence: White papers in high-tech industries : дис. – Texas Tech University, 2005.pp.27. – Academic Press, 2015.
  5. Willerton D. R. Ethos and exigence: White papers in high-tech industries : дис. – Texas Tech University, 2005.
  6. Nakamoto S. Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system.//URL: http://nakamotoinstitute.org/bitcoin/ 2008
  7. Chuen D. L. K. (ed.). Handbook of digital currency: Bitcoin, innovation, financial instruments, and big data. – Academic Press, 2015.
  8. Buterin V. Ethereum: A next-generation smart contract and decentralized application platform //URL https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/% 5BEnglish% 5D-White-Paper 2014