Our token sale listing and research has been a free service we provide the community. Our goal has been and will continue to be to provide the blockchain community with a thoughtful and objective overview of the token sale market, to provide robust analysis of Token Economics, and to advocate for best practices for token sale launches.
In the last several months, the token sale market has grown tremendously. The growth has been so overwhelming that evaluating and listing token sales has become a full time job in its own right. This is an exciting time for Smith + Crown and for the industry as a whole; however, we’ve observed certain trends in the stream of token sale inquires that give us cause for concern.
First, our policies firmly encourage projects to reach out well in advance to guarantee we have enough time to consider them for sufficient preliminary research. Unfortunately, many projects have not heeded this advice. Of the nearly four hundred unique responses we have received to our token sale intake survey, 32% submitted their response with less than seven days before their token sale start date. A total of 26% submitted their response with less than four days before their token sale. This is simply not enough time for us to evaluate projects, let alone conduct the thoughtful research we aim to conduct.
Additionally, the sheer number of sales launching has made it increasingly difficult to distinguish signal from noise. While the community has voiced strong support for an unfiltered list of token sales, we now feel that it is important to identify the select projects which appear to us to meet the high standards of transparency, innovation, and ethical behavior.
As a result of these developments, we are implementing two major changes to our token sale listing policies.
- We will be charging for expedited responses to listing requests. In order to encourage timely responses to our token sale intake form and establish fair and objective criteria to prioritize project evaluations, we are implementing the following pricing model.
- No fee: we will process your sale within 14 days
- 0.5 ETH: we will process your sale within 7 days
- 1 ETH: we will process your sale within 72 hours
Paying has no impact on how long you are listed, what we say, whether we research you, or whether we list you at all–only how justified you can feel with impatient follow up emails wondering why your sale hasn’t been listed yet.
If you have your project well planned out, you should be able to get listed for free with no adverse impact to your marketing campaign. You should be contacting us six weeks ahead of your sale anyway, even if you want us to withhold information or if you don’t have all the final details of your sale.
But if you haven’t planned well and want us to be immediately responsive, then it should be important enough that you are willing to pay a fee.
If you’re interested in having your project listed on smithandcrown.com, start at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We will be launching a curated list.
We wanted to remain an independent and comprehensive list for token sales. There are precious few places where one can learn about token sales at all and not be confronted with promotion.
However, we have noticed of late that certain of our listed sales have abused our approach. We have been clear that our list is not curated (“Listing or research is not an endorsement or verification”) and that we don’t endorse any projects. However, we do receive emails and see online discussion from people who seem to be under the impression that listing is some form of endorsement. We have also heard of other projects trying to list on our site because it is free and open, then telling other sites that because they have been listed on S+C, they should be considered legitimate. This is an abuse of our policy and in direct opposition to our goals.
To combat this, we are launching a curated list of token sales that meet higher standards for transparency, innovation, and ethical behavior. Listing on this site is not an endorsement of the product, sale terms, or team–but it is a signal that it’s worth your time to learn more about it. In the future, we will be selecting projects to research exclusively from this list.
It will not be possible to pay your way onto this list.
Below are the primary criteria we will use in this assessment.
- Transparent and verified team identity, including mention of team members’ involvement on a third-party site (LinkedIn, Twitter, Github, etc.). There should be some public reputation at stake and no doubt that the people are who they claim to be. We make some exceptions for entrepreneurs who are worried about losing their day job–but only in certain circumstances.
- Available project code, a working prototype or minimum viable product, OR a detailed whitepaper explaining how the product service actually works paired with modest pre-product raise target (<$500,000). We will make exceptions for ambitious projects led by unique teams.
- Detailed white paper that addresses obvious concerns or challenges, outlines a go-to-market strategy, and doesn’t clumsily toss around jargon about complex features that aren’t explained (“truly anonymous transactions” is one of the biggest culprits).
- Presence of existing blockchain development expertise through team, partners, and active consultants–particularly for non-trivial integration with a public blockchain. Too many projects are promising impressive technical features without the technical know-how to make their claims credible.
There are things we don’t look at when considering place on Smith + Crown’s curated list. We will consider and comment on these factors in our research reports, but we will not place a project on the list for these factors alone.
- Professional background or pedigree. We take the view that disruptive products can come from college dorm rooms or seasoned C-suite boardrooms, from people making a career change or from industry insiders.
- Credible go-to-market strategy, product viability, and market size. Drawing any conclusions about these variables requires comprehensive research which is beyond the scope of our cursory research.
- Advisors and partners. In this industry, being a project advisor can range from actually reviewing project code to simply selling permission to use one’s name and image. One can never put too much stock in a project’s ‘advisors’ without insightful public statements from them–but when qualified advisors are deeply involved, it is a sign of credibility.
- Community traction. Any project looking to launch a crowdsale aimed at both financial backers and early adopters should build an online community. It’s hard work, but it pays off when projects sail through their sale and the initial stages of their roadmap. However, online traction can also be bought at shockingly low prices.
- Clarity and coherence of project explanation. While an entrepreneur should be able to explain a project clearly and convincingly, we place a greater emphasis on substance over presentation. Note that we will not take into account language proficiency. A rudimentary command of English will neither get you a bye for not meeting other standards nor disqualify you. It’s fairly easy to tell the difference between a well thought out whitepaper written by a non-native English speaker and a project with grammatical errors AND no underlying substance.
- Note that we do not conduct audits of technical aspects (code or security) or legal compliance.
If there are any other factors you think we should include when considering a sale for listing (not research), let us know in the comments!
The Smith + Crown Team