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4 Steps to Determine If an ICO Startup is Credible or Not


Category: Education

4 Steps to Determine If an ICO Startup is Credible or Not

The recent boom in the blockchain industry has brought about vast amounts of well-deserved attention to cryptocurrencies. Now there’s a lot of hype around BTC as well as other popular altcoins like ETH, XRP, and LTC. They became so popular due to the value brought by businesses behind them to the world. It’s a reason why during 2017, a high number of TGEs (token generation events) have been founded.

But why all of them claim they will change the world and industries in which they operate?


This image was originally published on Cointelegrap by Nick Ayton
in an article called
This image was originally published on Cointelegrap by Nick Ayton
in an article called "Initial Coin Offerings: How To Distinguish Between Good, Bad and Ugly"

The most exciting thing is that the majority of such startups don’t have a product or even any valuable assets. Coin Telegraph reports that today, it’s absolutely reasonable to raise several millions dollars having only an idea and good custom-tailored website. 

Taking into account this tendency, the Hacken team decided to create a simple guide on how common blockchain enthusiasts or crypto-investors should evaluate an ICO startup to determine whether it’s a bubble or not. We believe that by following four simple steps, anyone can evaluate a TGE project and decide whether it’s worth their attention.

We hope that by our effort, we will prevent the loss of money and trust in TGEs.

Step 1: Ensure that a Startup Seeks to Solve a Significant Business Problem

Apparently, to be paid back, money must be invested in a business that makes a difference. Therefore, in the case of TGEs, with their multimillion crowd sales, the executive team must address a prominent problem. As without this foundation, there isn’t any credibility. Is it?

The reason is that to provide investors with “dividends” — returns caused by an increasing price of a token — a company is to be profitable, and only addressing a vexed problem enables the management return millions of dollars. 

Example: Hacken is solving one of the main problems of the digital era — a lack of cybersecurity. We have operating products that have already brough benefit to around 100 companies. So, you should spend enough time on analyzing the documents 

Step 2: Is it clear how a startup’s proposition works and why would customers buy into it?

In general, during the development of their fundamental business strategy, the majority of ICO startups focus on attracting investments. They may not even care about the future elaboration or even operational processes of their products. They simply endeavor to encourage crypto investors to buy their tokens actively within a certain period. Without a doubt, it’s the wrong approach.

The reason being that all of this is extremely important for the future operations of a startup as a mature business unit. These things will determine whether the price of a token issued by a company goes up or down at the crypto-exchanges. Naturally, all ICO supporters are waiting for 10x capital gain, but the majority of us do not care about the deadlines for a project release.

Example: before starting our ICO campaign, we’ve spent a tremendous amount of time on brainstorming how to devise our product and its competitive advantages. The project development team of Hacken created a comprehensible frame depicting how our proposition will work to meet the demand of both customers and employees.We even tested the alpha version of HackenProof during HackIT 2017 bug bounty marathon, which took place at the end of September. As a result, we managed to examine our product in action as well as collected valuable feedback to fix bugs and implement necessary improvements.  

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Step 3: Consider the management team: are they qualified and whether they have experience in starting and running a business?

Consider the management team, are they qualified and what experience have they had starting and running a business?

To build a successful and sustainable business, founders and top executives have to be skilled and highly-qualified. Senior management of a TGE startup must have an expertise in business development and field in which they are going to operate. It will help you ensure that a team will spend the funds raised appropriately to get higher efficiency with minimal spending.

So, for this purpose, you should check the Linkedin profiles of each team member and look at which companies they’ve worked for, as well as the representatives of which industry are in their contact list. 

Example: the executive board of Hacken contains top managers, cybersecurity professionals, and technical specialists with profound experience in the corporate sector (Dmitry Budorin, Yegor Aushev, Nikita Knysh, and Andrii Matiukhin). Having worked for sustainable and prosperous TNCs (transnational corporations) and mid-sized companies, they managed to hone their skills in decision-making, financial planning, and business development. All of them are aware of how to provide the value to both token holders, cybersecurity researchers and customers of the Hacken Ecosystem. 

Step 4: Is there enough information on which to base an investment decision?

It’s obligatory to piece all the facts together to make an informed decision regarding your investments. Thus, you should determine if a company conducted market research to identify a particular problem based on qualitative and quantitative arguments. The white paper must contain facts supporting the arguments that prove a company’s ability to provide a solution to a problem while getting an income.

Example: You should find the following sections in the White Paper of a startup:

  • Profound research identifying a problem and why industry must resolve it.
  • Problem evaluation determining the main aspects of a problem.
  • Providing a Unique Solution (product) based on the first sections.
  • Description of Benefits of the solution for all parties (token holders, employees, and clients).
  • Finally, it’s necessary to explain how funds raised will be spent on building a product from the ground up. 

Nowadays, there are too many ICO projects. It is hazardous for the financial well-being of crypto-investors and blockchain enthusiasts. But we hope that by analyzing a startup based on these 4 points, you will manage to avoid different kinds of scams. So, stay cold-blooded and be more attentive while you make an investing decision.

About Hacken

Hacken is a global cybersecurity consultancy firm. We allow customers to acquire cybersecurity services in a timely and quality manner as no system is perfectly secure. 

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Read also: 

Case study: Smart Contract of Indorse was audited by Hacken

Blockchain for Dummies: A Simple Guide to the Essence of Blockchain Technology

How Blockchain can Help Small and Medium Businesses Challenge Rivals

Hacken Ecosystem

It’s a community-driven business organization, consisting of HackenHub, HackIT cybersecurity conference, HackenProof bug bounty platform, and Crypto Exchange Ranks.

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