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Smith+Crown’s Philosophy for ICOs and Crowdsales

We at Smith+Crown spend significant time researching ICOs and crowdsales. They are a unique way to track and understand blockchain technology, and we have particular objectives in sharing our insights.

We at Smith+Crown aim to provide insight around ICOs and crowdsales. One of our goals is to enable more small-scale investors to participate in these opportunities. The barrier to entry for learning is often high. We want to lower it with thoughtful research and discussion of  ICOs and a third-party perspective on them.

We do not solicit or accept payments for these listings or the content we develop. We are not a marketing platform. We spend time researching different cryptocurrency projects, and we share some of our findings as a service to the community and to encourage discussion, and challenging of our ideas and findings. The more people who explore these projects, invest or rationally decide not to, and start participating in the blockchain community, the better. More people, more thoughts, more capital.

Why are ICOs Important?

ICOs can be very lucrative. NXT’s ICO was one of the most rewarding to early investors. Someone who contributed $1000 would have been a multi-millionaire.



However, this isn’t what makes these projects so important. Instead, they are the fastest way to gauge blockchain-tech innovation and understand how transformative the technology can be.

First, ICOs and crowdsales are one barometer on the broader public blockchain space. They are a primary means by which blockchain-based projects get funding, and as such, indicate that new projects are launching, people are giving them money, and they are showing us all what can be done with blockchain technology. We think they are different from traditional venture capital activity, which generally treats blockchain technology as any other technology and blockchain companies as typical technology companies.

Most cryptocurrency projects holding ICOs are different–people are actively experimenting with how this technology can change finance, business models, and corporate form itself. Project founders must design a product in which tokens get traded, have a functional purpose (even if just as a payment vehicle), and can survive on an open market. This involves many more moving pieces than a company share. In the past twenty years, entrepreneurs remade many industries by representing their operations as data and turning them into software. Companies launching ICOs are trying to remake industries by representing operations as mini global economies of tradeable tokens.


Centralized Decentralized Distributed


Paul Baran, one of the founders of the Internet, envisioned a shift from centralized to distributed communications infrastructure. A similar shift in business models is taking place. Most social media platforms are ‘decentralized’ in that the companies are the nodes on which system depends. Blockchain companies, in contrast, are launching entirely new systems.

Our Objectives in Covering ICOs and Crowdsales

We have several objectives in listing opportunities on our site.

  • Consolidate: Information about ICOs is currently spread across a number of different sites and forums. Keeping track of ICOs, crawling through forums, responding to threads–the mental cost of doing so filters out many investors. In addition, the format of announcements varies. We try to provide one place where people can read about ongoing ICOs and get just the relevant information.
  • Standardize : Information for ICOs today generally follows a formula for the right information, but the order, format, and level of information varies. In addition, pictures and other promotional material can get in the way of identifying relevant information.
  • Provide Insight: Not all postings contain enough information or explanation to understand how the sale or the coin works. If we didn’t have an ‘a-ha’ moment on first read, we spend time reading until we do and try to summarize the thinking process that got us there. In addition, most explanation is full of optimistic marketing language, because the project team is promoting their product. We aren’t throwing cold water on their enthusiasm – we are trying to explain from the standpoint of someone not involved in the project.

We (Lightly) Curate

We don’t list every cryptocurrency opportunity. Many projects come and go. We have several levels of content on the site: listing, summary, and interviews.

    1. Listing: to get listed on our ICOs homepage, a project needs to meet a basic ‘sniff test’ of legitimacy. We look for a combination of the following: coherent explanation of their project (technical and/or strategic), responsiveness on forums and email, transparency of the team. In other words, is this a real team of people who have thought through the details of their project.
    2. Summary: to have a third-party written summary of their project, teams are asked to fill out a basic form. If they do so, we publish their responses and fill in perceived blanks with our own research.
    3. Interview: for certain projects, we will reach out to interview the founding team. We will ask about their background, details relevant to their project, and what they hope to accomplish with it. Sometimes they are too busy for an interview, and readers can interpret that as they will.

As stated above, none are a function of payment. We reserve the right to list ICOs and write about them.

We inform, we do not judge, advise or endorse

We summarize information that we find, not issue a final assessment of the project itself. We won’t write whether we think a project will succeed or not, whether the coin being sold will increase in value or not, or whether the team will the take the money and run.

We might comment on the challenges we think the project will face or try to relay feedback we have encountered in our research.  The listing of an ICO or project on our platform does not constitute in any way an endorsement of that project, but simply selected portion of research and findings from our own internal investigations that we feel would provide value to the discussion around the project.

We are not providing investment advice. Potential investors should do their due diligence and conduct their own research and investigation.

Have questions or suggestions? Let us know at hello@smithandcrown.com