Do Your Own Research: How to Analyze a Token – Part 1

Before making a crypto investment, a token should be carefully considered. Issues such as token distribution, technology or regulation play an important role here. You can orientate yourself well on the various guidelines for your own due diligence.

DYOR – Do Your Own Research: The ability to do your own research is one of the basic skills that successful investors – whether traditional or crypto-savvy – must bring with them. In the case of ICO investments, the analysis of the token structure plays a major role. In this way, the token of a project can be evaluated more precisely with regard to the technology, the regulatory classification and the intended use case.

As far as classification is concerned, there are different systems, each with different priorities and with different levels of complexity. This series of articles introduces some systems that can help potential crypto investors with their research.

Token Distribution

When starting the analysis of an ICO, a hard fork or the start of a new cryptocurrency, it is worth taking a look at token distribution. Has there been extreme centralization there from the start? If a large part of the tokens will still be with the project after an ICO, the project has the price in hand and can initiate pump-and-dump maneuvers if necessary. The same can be said about pre-mining in the case of hard forks and new cryptocurrencies.

Technical consideration

Technology-savvy people make a distinction according to whether the tokens belong natively to a blockchain or were issued on an already running blockchain. Crypto Engine is the native asset of the Ethereum blockchain, while the Basic Attention Token (BAT), for example, is just one of numerous ERC-20 tokens that do not have their own blockchain, but rather use Ethereum.

So with regard to issues such as scalability or transaction speed, in the case of BAT and other ERC-20 tokens, it should be borne in mind that many different use cases run on the Ethereum blockchain and bottlenecks may arise. On the other hand, the technical analysis of an ERC20 token is easier than in the case of Bitcoin, for example, since the underlying smart contract is often written in Solidity and is therefore easier to check.

External factors: regulation

However, there are also approaches that are based less on the underlying technology than on regulation. The Federal Association of Blockchain makes this distinction:

Cryptocurrencies are primarily used as a means of payment. Bitcoin is a good example of this.

Utility tokens have a specific function beyond their use as a means of payment. A good example of this is Ethereum, a cryptocurrency that, thanks to smart contracts, can be used for significantly more things than for payment purposes.

Security tokens are similar in shape to securities. In other words, they correspond to shares, so that rights of participation and / or dividend payments are possible. Examples of this are tokens, the mere possession of which leads to a further distribution, such as NEO.

This distinction is important for investors, as regulatory bodies view the three token forms differently. The consideration as a security, which occurs with security tokens, is relevant under tax law. In addition, this classification entails special regulatory requirements for organizers of an ICO.