The only useful ICO review is an accurate ICO review. Such a review, therefore, can only ever actually add value to the community if it is balanced and thorough and applies equal rigour to the highlighting of a project’s deficiencies as it does to extolling said project’s strengths, virtues and potential.
That is what we strive to do at The Coin Radar.
Many ICO review sites shill: we do not shill. Many ICO review sites offer fake ratings in return for payment: we do not offer fake ratings. Many ICO review sites seek merely to make money by leveraging their influence: we do not. Leverage. Our. Influence.
Our reviews are independent. Our reviews are, whilst often opinionated, honest – and often we rate projects lower than other sites.
The one thing we have in common with most ICO review sites is that we review projects using a consistent set of metrics. Whilst the actual reviews may. depending on how we judge it best to explain the technology, vary slightly in format, they are all rated in the same way. This is to allow you, our reader, to make a cogent comparison of the projects we review.
What follows are the guidelines we generally adhere to.
How established is the project? Do they already have a working product and, if not, does the organisation behind the ICO have a track record that suggests their proposition lends itself to the blockchain? And, if not, is the team, idea and general circumstance credible enough to negate the lack of a working project? Shout-out to Cardano on that one.
Moreover, is the project one that lends itself to being an ICO, or is it merely a cash grab from a company that has operated perfectly without blockchain technology? Without a functional, meaningful product or use-case very few ICOs are capable of making real progress in either development, contribution to industry, market cap, or ROI.
What is the product behind the ICO’s potential? Is the team aiming change the paradigm in which their chosen sector functions, or are they merely making a specific dApp to solve a particular problem? This is an admittedly subjective area, but one we feel to be worthy of consideration.
The importance, as we see it, is that a project’s ‘vision’ speaks not only to its ambition but, crucially, its chance of being adopted to the extent that it may not only be a worthwhile investment, but will add genuine value to blockchain technology’s integration and adoption as a whole. We strongly believe that no single project – not even Bitcoin – will ever, ever alter the mind of the world when considering and, ultimately, accepting the benefits of blockchain technology. Vision is of fundamental importance.
In a market as volatile as crypto, word of mouth is king. One bad story can irrevocably damage a currency’s credibility, and, conversely, a large amount of hype can see an ICO open on exchanges at 1000% or more or the ICO price (Wanchain and Quarkchain to name just two).
Therefore, this particular metric deals with the crypto community’s level of awareness of a project. Do they have active Twitter, Reddit and Telegram groups? Are they being tweeted? How many engagement do those tweets have? Is their Telegram full of ‘when binance?’ or does it contain substantive discussion of the topic? In a universe as – being honest – immature as crypto, is the project being considered and discussed in a manner that gives it credence? A negative perception (Tron and Verge, for example) can kill a project, making this a worthy consideration.
A project’s team is arguably – and in our minds is – the single-most important aspect of a project. There is no point having an amazing idea if only one man is sat behind a keyboard and, conversely, a dedicated team can elevate a seemingly generic idea, making their vision manifest in the blockchain space. We realise the importance of a team and we ensure that every review we research and write contains a substantive analysis of not only the team’s calibre, but their suitability to deliver upon the project’s promises.
It’s a sad fact that a promise is often all ICO contributors have to go on: an ICO investment conveys neither a share in the company nor voting rights and this is, therefore, a hugely important metric.
The token metrics of a project are not only an important consideration, but a multi-faceted area containing numerous elements:
We consider the amount sold in pre-sale, the amount sold at ICO price and the requisite discounts. A token with a ‘large’ discount (typically anything above 20-25%) is a potential red flag, as it suggests that the token in fact is not worth as much as the company says it is, and will therefore come out of ICO at a lower price as people dump their ‘free’ tokens. Conversely, a small or zero discount can be an indicator that the token has been correctly valued; that the team are confident in the tech, and/or that there is a good amount of hype surrounding the project. There is sadly no set formula for this as, for example, a project may be offering no discount at ICO, but sold 80% of its tokens at a 60% discount in private sale – that would certainly not work in the contributor’s favour.
Moreover, how many of the tokens are being sold? Are 60% being kept by the team or given to advisors? Is the token distribution a balance of business necessity and team incentive and does it suggest anything about how central to the technology the token or coin being purchased actually is? This element is also a factor when giving the ‘product’ and ‘vision’ ratings.
We also consider the total supply, relative to the token’s cost: the point of an ICO is that it is the beginning of a project and therefore having room for the project to grow is important. If a cryptocurrency is expected to come out of ICO with a $1bn market cap then it is unlikely to provide those moon-filled lambos everyone craves.
This rating is distinct from the overall rating (which is merely the average score of all six ratings), and is instead a personal, oft-discussed (within the team) opinion on whether or not we would invest were we to spend our own money. We consider whether, on balance, the elements of a project are conducive to a sound investment. For example, a lack of hype can be negated by a dedicated team and an inspired application of the blockchain technology, and a team of only two people (an extreme example, we know) can potentially shed serious doubt on the project, regardless of how good the product and vision may be.
We will never recommend that you contribute to a project. Not only because we aren’t qualified to do so, but because we would never, ever want someone to contribute purely on the basis of our analysis. The choice about whether or not you wish to contribute is entirely yours – we just wish to offer a perspective to help you in your own research.
(tl;dr – we call it as well see it.)
Our latest ICO reviews can be found here