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Explained: Difference between crypto whitepaper, yellow and beige papers

Explained: Difference between crypto whitepaper, yellow and beige papers

Explained: Difference between crypto whitepaper, yellow and beige papers
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By CNBCTV18.com Nov 3, 2022 2:51:02 PM IST (Published)

A crypto whitepaper is a handy guide for investors looking to ascertain the crypto project's future potential. However, it is only one of the many sources of information put out by the project. Some developers also publish yellow and beige papers to provide more detailed information regarding the project. Read on to know how the yellow and beige papers differ from the standard whitepaper.

Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile. The prices of these digital assets can fluctuate wildly in days, hours and even minutes. However, projects with solid fundamentals, practical use cases, a good vision and a sound technical foundation usually offer value appreciation in the long run. But how do you check if a cryptocurrency checks these boxes?

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Well, that's where the whitepaper comes in handy. It provides plenty of information about the project, the problems it is looking to solve, its tokenomics and its founders. As such, it is a handy guide for investors looking to ascertain the project's future potential.
However, the whitepaper is only one of many sources of information put out by the project. Some developers also publish yellow and beige papers to provide more detailed information regarding the project.
Tag along as we tell you more about yellow and beige papers and how they differ from the standard whitepaper.
The whitepaper
Whitepapers have become commonplace in the world of cryptos. It is usually the first thing an investor will go through before participating in an ICO, STO, IEO, IDO or any other crypto fundraising event. It is a detailed document that sheds light on the project's market strategy, value proposition, roadmap, token flows, core team and investors.
The yellow paper
While the whitepaper is relatively easy to understand, a yellow paper is usually more technical and scientific. It often describes research or technology being investigated, as opposed to a whitepaper, which covers all planned aspects of the project. Therefore, if we consider the whitepaper as a proposal, the yellow paper is like a deep-dive or a 'part two' where all the specific details are provided.
Yellow papers are often created with future collaborations in mind. It is an extremely helpful document for other blockchain companies, developmental teams, and layer-2 solutions seeking to use the project's open-source technology for their applications.
The beige paper
As you can imagine, a yellow paper does not make for light reading. It is often only understood by developers and blockchain experts, and ordinary investors might need help to comprehend its contents fully. Keeping this in mind, some projects also introduce a beige paper that is easier to grasp. The content is often re-formatted in a more organised manner and is usually easier to understand.
The Ethereum example
Ethereum is one of the only crypto projects to produce these three research documents. The whitepaper is titled "A Next-Generation Smart Contract and Decentralised Application Platform". It covers the history and background of the project, the Ethereum philosophy, technology and applications, and the workings of the Ethereum token. It is slightly technical but easy to understand with a little research.
On the other hand, the project's yellow paper is titled "Ethereum: A secure decentralised generalised transaction ledger, Byzantium version." From the title, one can understand that this is a more technical document. It begins by introducing the technology and providing definitions of several concepts but quickly jumps into complex computational equations designed for expert readers, blockchain-savvy users or developers.
Finally, the Ethereum Beige Paper is titled "An Ethereum Technical Specification." It is merely a re-write of the yellow paper for readability. The language used is straightforward, and it explains the various technical details of the project in an easy-to-understand manner.
Conclusion
As an investor, the whitepaper holds all the information you need to make an informed decision regarding the prospects of a project. If you are interested in looking into the technology behind the project, skimming through the beige paper is a good option. However, only a few projects create this document, and even if they do, it will still take a good amount of additional research to understand fully.
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