The meteoric rise of Bitcoin in 2017-2018 led to a large number of initial coin offerings - which were an easy way to raise money and, in some cases, perpetrate fraud. In early 2018, the crypto market plunged 60% in one month, and investors got stuck with worthless altcoins. Not surprisingly, scammers disappeared soon after taking millions from people who got caught in the hype.

Last year’s crypto mania taught painful lessons, but it arguably led to a more mature market that now has better processes, and much needed sobriety. Well, the bull market seems to be back: Bitcoin’s price is pushing $14,000 -- a price level not seen since January 2018.

So have bad behaviors also returned? Pushing sobriety out the window?

Putting Risks in Check

Crypto Briefing (a publishing firm that covers blockchain and cryptos) and CoinMarketCap (CMC) are partnering to bring transparency and professional analyses of major blockchain ventures. SIMETRI, Crypto Briefing’s research product that’s patterned after sell-side reports by investment banks, will be embedded in CoinMarketCap’s crypto profiles, the companies announced.

“SIMETRI provides fundamental analysis and unbiased, detailed insights into the cryptocurrency projects themselves, bolstering transparency and accountability in the blockchain space,” said Han Kao, founder and CEO of Crypto Briefing, in a company statement. “CoinMarketCap’s rollout of its updated methodology for stricter exchange reporting rules is a major step forward on the exchange side, and SIMETRI will complement that on the project side.”

The embedded reports can level the playing field, as well as mitigate risk for unsophisticated investors looking for some guidance. CoinMarketCap is the most visited website in the industry. It shows daily valuation, trading volume, and other financial information on nearly 2,300 coins and tokens traded on exchanges worldwide.

The SIMETRI-CoinMarketCap integration makes it easier for anyone to conduct due diligence on nearly two dozen major coins such as Bitcoin, Dash, VeChain, and Basic Attention Token, to name a few. Crypto Briefing will publish a dozen new reports a month for paid subscribers.

Objective and Independent Assessments of Top Coins

That brings to light an ugly reality of this new Wild West of finance.

“Shilling” is a common practice, where management teams who are trying to achieve network effects pay influencers and bloggers to promote their stuff. The hidden conflicts of interest can lead to biased coverage, fake reviews, and marketing spin that many argue are pervasive in an industry that lacks oversight.

Crypto Briefing says SIMETRI and its news coverage are objective and independent, which improve the quality and protect the integrity of its research. And that the New York-based publisher, unlike other outlets that strive to sustain or increase revenue, never publishes ads, sponsored stories, or other content that “shill” cryptos.

Crypto Briefing, therefore, doesn’t feel pressured to publish advertisements disguised as news stories, or to sensationalize headlines for Google clicks. It raised $2 million in 2018 and is backed by VCs such as YouBi Capital, DHVC, Fenbushi Capital, and NGC Ventures.

Getting the Inside Scoop on Blockchain Companies

So what quality of content can investors and fans of tokens expect to see on CoinMarketCap? (Which gets more than 75 million monthly visits.)

Crypto Briefing, which has a global team of researchers and journalists, says their evaluations use “information asymmetry” to collect and assess the inside scoop on blockchain ventures.

“Our network of insiders, as well as connections with trading desks give us the real scoop on an organization,” says Han Kao, founder and CEO of Crypto Briefing. “Moreover, we can see what big institutions are buying that can’t be seen from public exchange data. Finally, private code repositories tell us what is really under the hood of a project’s codebase.”

The crypto ecosystem is teeming with startups, which can be risky investments. Moreover, speculative trading are again partly driving price volatility. Better evaluations and KPIs seem to be the answer, and these are most beneficial to mainstream investors.

“We’ve become a default news source in CoinMarketCap, Blockfolio, and Delta apps, with more than 80 million users total,” says Kao. “We began onboarding experts in all aspects of the space to bring transparency and accountability to an often muddled and fragmented ecosystem of information.”

Money has always evolved. But trust is timeless.

Published on: Jul 9, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.