Below are nine ways that experts are likely evaluating todays dizzying array of ICO projects and their offerings. These points are not meant to be investment advice but rather brief considerations to assist you in navigating this nascent cryptocurrency landscape.
1. Experts identify and vet project founders and advisors:
The entrepreneurial world is full of both good actors as well as charlatans. So its critically important to do a deep dive into who the key players of a project are in terms of their background, track records and ethics. A basic internet search is a great place to get started here.
2. Experts dont get sucked in by fancy websites and white papers:
Sure, its important to review them. But remain mindful of the fact that a fair number of these sites and collateral material, while possessing aesthetic appeal, are of the “sizzle but no steak” variety. The objective is to use flair to draw you in. Your mission is to identify the value proposition nuggets.
3. Experts observe and participate on social media channels:
Yes. there is a lot of bloviation that takes place on these sites. But forums like Reddit. Telegram. Bitcointalk and even Twitter can provide some interesting insights to support your ICO/crypto project due diligence.
4. Experts “slow their roll”:
In other words, they take their time to make a thoughtful, well-informed assessment without hurry or haste. Knee-jerk reactions to bright, shiny object projects in this emerging space can be a prescription for disaster.
5. Experts circulate at industry gatherings:
There is no shortage these days of educational conferences, forums and Meetups regarding cryptocurrencies. ICOs and token projects. These are great places to mingle with insiders and further educate yourself on the intricacies of how these offerings work.
6. Experts read with intent:
It seems like a day doesnt go by without a major industry thought piece or new book being released. In addition to industry publications, keep an eye out for regular features in mainstream media outlets like Fortune. Forbes. The Economist and NPR. among countless others.
7. Experts can intuitively spot a red-flag ICO project.
They then trust their gut:
As a friend of mine is fond of saying. Why is it that whenever we see a red flag, we run over to it and say. Oh. what a beautiful red flag?” My advice is to trust your gut Often, if you do enough homework, people and projects reveal exactly who and what they are. Then it comes down to whether or not youre going to accept what you inherently know.
8. Experts ask lots of questions:
This is my most valued skill as a writer and journalist. Im persistent and nosy as hell. And you should be. too. when it comes to your evaluation of ICOs and cryptocurrencies.
9. Experts avoid the hype:
Lets face it The ICO/crypto world is very volatile. Getting caught up in the fever pitch of a new project one replete with unrealistic expectations, can be detrimental to ones mental health if it goes south. So dont get lost in the hype. Just evaluate and have fun.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this article do not represent those of BTC Inc.. BTC Media or yBitcoin magazine, and should not be interpreted as investment advice.
The cryptocurrency universe is burgeoning. At the end of 2017. there were around 1.350 tokens in existence, an increase from about 1.200 just a few months earlier.
So how can someone keep track of all of these cryptocurrencies? In truth, most people cant. They follow the handful of well-known coins, such as bitcoin and ether. But those coins account for less than 1 percent of the current cryptocurrency ecosystem.
To understand the full potential of blockchain technology and the digital tokens that power blockchain frameworks, one needs a broader grasp of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Familiarizing yourself with the many hundreds of cryptocurrencies in existence may not be feasible, but getting familiar with the cream of the crop is important for anyone who wants to participate in the digital economy.
Of course, there is debate about which cryptocurrencies deserve to be considered in the “top.” and this is just an opinion based on value proposition, real-world applicability and potential for future use.
The top-25 cryptocurrency projects are ranked by market capitalization at the time of press, per CoinMarketCap.
Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency that needs no introduction — even for people who dont actually own or use any bitcoin. Designed in 2008 as the first digital currency managed through a decentralized database, bitcoin is now the most highly valued token by far.
Ripple was released in 2012, long before many people were talking about the blockchain and digital currencies. However, it was not until 2017 that the project became a darling of cryptocurrency investors, who took note of it largely because mainstream banks began adopting its token. XRP. to facilitate transactions. In April of 2018. reports surfaced that the company offered financial incentives to two exchanges in return for listing its token. Still, that controversy did not appear to hamper Ripples value.
Ether, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain. may also need no introduction, at least among blockchain enthusiasts. Although the value of ether is dwarfed by that of bitcoin. some would say that ethers long-term prospects are brighter because it is attached to the Ethereum blockchain. which was conceived as a platform for powering smart contracts and decentralized applications and has received interest from notable legacy institutions around the world.
Born in August 2017 as a hard fork (see page 24) from Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash was designed primarily to solve scalability challenges associated with the original. Bitcoin Cash features a larger block size, enabling faster transactions — even faster than those facilitated by SegWit. which Bitcoin adopted prior to the Bitcoin Cash fork. Cryptocurrency investors who believe that Bitcoins scalability issues will return as the size of the blockchain continues to grow have bet on Bitcoin Cash as a better alternative.
Like Ethereum. the EOS blockchain was designed to power decentralized applications. However. EOS offers built-in features, such as cryptography tools, that can make life easier from a programmers perspective. There are other differences between EOS and Ethereum. too. such as their consensus mechanisms and their scalability strategies.
Stellar is essentially a protocol for building decentralized currency exchanges that use the Stellar network as their distributed ledger. The platform, which describes itself as a nonprofit, has a stated goal of enabling extremely low – cost financial transactions. Founded in 2014. Stellar has already seen some implementations in the developing world.
Neo is a blockchain for building smart contracts, making it similar to Ethereum. Its popularity has been partially driven by speculation that the Chinese government will endorse it as an official cryptocurrency or permit NEO as a token for initial coin offerings (ICOs). which are otherwise banned in China.
Zcash was designed to solve the same privacy challenges as Monero was. The biggest difference between the two is that Monero mixes data from multiple transactions in order to obfuscate the identities of users, whereas Zcash avoids storing the data in the first place. Whether you believe Zcash offers better privacy features than Monero depends mostly on which underlying privacy strategy you deem more effective.
Steems developers describe it as a “smart media token.” The cryptocurrency powers the Steem network, which allows people to produce and share digital content. The publishers of content that is upvoted by Steems decentralized community are rewarded with steem tokens.
Sometimes called the “Asian Ethereum.” Qtum (short for Quantum) is a framework for building decentralized applications. Its early backers hail from major Asian technology companies, including Alibaba. Tencent and Baidu. Qtums go-to-market strategy is defined by a focus on mobile applications.
Ox is a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange for Ethereum tokens. Unlike traditional exchanges, which require users to work through a central party to buy or exchange tokens, decentralized exchanges enable users to trade cryptocurrency without placing their transactions in the hands of a single party.
One of the shortcomings of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. at least in the eyes of some users, is that although the identities of users are anonymous, transactions can often be traced. Monero was designed to provide greater privacy. Through features such as ring signatures. Monero obfuscates the identities of parties involved in a transaction. If you think that Bitcoin will fail in the long run due to privacy limitations, you may like Monero.
Introduced in 2014. Dash can perhaps be best described as a more centralized version of Bitcoin. Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies store transactions on a totally decentralized network in which all nodes are equal. In contrast the Dash network has two tiers. The first consists of ordinary nodes, which mine currency and add blocks to the blockchain. The second tier is composed of so-called masternodes. which handle most of the transactions and control network governance. This is a rare setup for a blockchain network, but it has potential advantages for streamlining governance and performance.
Binance Coin (BNB)
Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange based in China. It caters to professional investors with sophisticated trading tools, low fees and fast transactions.
REP. the token on the Augur platform, lets users earn rewards for correctly predicting the outcome of future events. In addition to providing a way for users to profit from accurate predictions, the platform aims to deliver crowdsourced insight into future events.
Launched in 2015. tether stands out from other cryptocurrencies by reserving one U. S. dollar for each tether in existence — at least according to Tether Limited, which controls the token. Because the value of tether is linked to the dollar, the token can avoid certain types of regulatory oversight and volatility.
As blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum grow ever larger, transactions become more costly and time consuming. Ardor aims to solve this problem by allowing decentralized applications to run on “child chains.” which secure transactions using a larger blockchain but do not necessarily depend on it for data storage and processing.
The DigiByte blockchain employs five mining algorithms (most blockchains have only one) and claims to be spread across more than 100.000 nodes. This radical decentralization provides assurance against the risk that a malicious party could take over the blockchain by flooding it with nodes or exploiting vulnerabilities in the mining algorithm.
Kyber Network (KNC)
Kyber is also a decentralized exchange. It enables payments to be issued with any token and be received as ether. Perhaps Kybers most interesting feature is support for forward contracts, which enable users to conduct a transaction in cryptocurrency at a future date based on the current value of the cryptocurrency. Forward contracts provide protection against price fluctuation.
Aragon uses the Ethereum blockchain to enable the creation of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). It provides tools for creating smart contracts without having to code, as well as a governance framework for decentralized organizations.
Cloud-based storage services are a dime a dozen these days. Storj stands out from the crowd by using a decentralized network of computers, orchestrated via the blockchain. to build its storage cloud. Computer owners who make spare hard drive space available for the Storj network are known as “farmers.”
Short for Secure Automated Lending Technology.” SALT tokens are used to borrow money against cryptocurrency assets. SALTS value proposition centers on providing a way to obtain cash from cryptocurrency holdings without having to sell them.
Po. et“ (POE)
Po. et leverages the blockchain to manage ownership of digital creative assets. Authors, musicians, videographers and other producers of content can register attribution and licensing for their work on the Bitcoin blockchain. where publishers can easily access it Po. et aims to prevent unauthorized copying of digital assets, help good work stand out from the crowd, enable custom licensing and payment processes, and streamline content distribution.
Filecoin is a decentralized storage cloud that allows users to rent out hard disk space. It varies from Stoij in that it uses smart contracts to enforce storage rules and relies on a proprietary “provable data possession” scheme rather than a traditional proof-of-work protocol.
MAD Network (MAD)
The MAD Network aims to upend digital advertising by using the blockchain to connect advertisers directly to content publishers. The platform also promises transparency and privacy for consumers by allowing them control over how personal data is shared with advertisers.