The term has political roots; it was first mentioned by Churchill in 1922 in his White Paper. In this format he presented his idea, which later became a bill. In the 1990s, whitepapers began to be widely used not only in politics, but also in marketing and sales, turning into tools for attracting attention to products. In the blockchain world, these documents work in a similar way.
Cryptocurrency whitepapers can have different purposes depending on the audience. For example, the Bitcoin white paper informs about a new technology for sending money without intermediaries. Modern white papers are often created to attract investment for the implementation of a project or for its marketing.