Robert Zaremba Blog

Blockchain startup canvas

I have a long experience with startups: form being the first employee in a startup, partnerships, setting up own startups, advising and mentoring. I won few hackathons and gained lot of very valuable experience. Business Canvas is present at almost every hackathon. Today I’m writing about the central point - startup idea and market validation.

However this one is a bit different - it’s shaped toward blockchain products.

Blockchain startup canvas

The canvas covers several fields and it’s purpose is to research the market in order to have a user validation, find the product-market fit and finally define financial.

Value Proposition

  • What customer needs are we solving?
  • How those needs are solved today?
  • Why your idea works?
  • Why the market needs your idea and why people will use it?
  • What is different? What’s the Unique Value Proposition?
  • How does your tech (blockchain) solves these needs more effectively?

User Segmentation

  • Who is a beneficiary of our solution? Who gets most of it?
  • Define the potential users, their roles, who will pay and what they will get out of it.
  • What customer validation has been done so far?
  • For each user segment, what pains are you solving?
  • Which users will benefit from a blockchain?

User relationship

  • Will user interaction with the system change?
  • Are users expected to interact more with this compared to the existing solutions?
  • Does such solution already exist?
  • How valuable are these interactions?
  • Put yourself in your customer shoes. Validate the experience.
  • What are the pivots related to customer onboarding?
  • Is blockchain awareness expected from a user?
  • Do you need to explain your solution? Is it easy?
  • How difficult it is to use your system? Can my grandmother use it?

Value Components

  • What are the most valuable components of our product? Eg: Contract execution, scaleability, geography (location), security, verification, auditability, tracking, transparency, pseud-anonymity, identity...
  • What’s in it to me?
  • How many user have been performed? In which segments?

System Touch Points

  • What systems are affected by our product?
  • What systems will need to change?
  • Who is the product owner of that systems?
  • Whom we need to partner with?

Key Dependencies

  • What are key dependencies of the product?
  • Do they exist today in the market (buy vs build)?
  • Can they be re-purposed within the organization?
  • How can you take an advantage of existing blockchain solutions?
  • Which blockchain technology are you choosing and why? How this will impact you in 1-year and in 3 year time?

Leadreship & Marketing

  • Could our new system establish us as a market leader in our segment?
  • Who is seen as the technology leader today?

Go To Market Strategy

  • What are the product milestones?
  • When will the marketing campaign start?
  • What’s the plan for marketing and PR?
  • How many FTE (full time employees) will work in marketing?
  • What are the marketing streams?


  • Who are the competitors?
  • What are the known risks?
  • Is there any conflict of interest?
  • How the technology / blockchain security is preserved?
  • What are the limitations of your technology?
  • What are the blockchain related risks? Eg: time, scaleability, wallet / public key infrastructure? Will the technology stay?
  • How expensive is your technology?
  • Is the technology proven? What security assumption do you have?
  • What are the financial risks?


  • How complicate is it to build?
  • What key dependencies don’t exist and need to be build?
  • What key dependencies will be most time consuming to create / use / learn?
  • Is it the right time to build the solution?
  • Is it possible to save some time?

Revenue, Cost & Profit

  • Are there additional sources of revenue from users?
  • What is the cost structure?
  • Is there a cost saving?
  • What are the revenue streams?
  • What is the P&L forecast?
  • What’s the expected size of the first investment round?
  • How long the money will last? What are the next steps?

Company Structure

  • What’s the company structure?
  • Who will make invoices?
  • Where is the IP?

Token Problems

When designing a token based product we need to clearly look at the intend of the token, especially if it will represent a value.

I described some of the major problem which may arise when constructing valuable tokens are in the Token Economics: Token Design problems & classification article.

In a nutshell we need to deal with the following subjects: speculative intent, regulatory implications, network deanonymization, risk of market irrationality, stakeholder alignment.