DYOR - How to investigate crypto projects

By leveraging the openness of Web3, you have the power to move past the buzz and confirm certain facts on your own. It's important to acknowledge that not all individuals in the Web3 ecosystem are amiable. However, there's also a bright side to it - you have boundless resources within reach that can aid you in conducting your own investigation. Typically, crypto projects will have a White Paper, a Discord Channel, and, of course, a thorough description of their underlying smart contract, which you can examine using a blockchain explorer such as Etherscan.

Let's delve into the key factors you should investigate while carrying out your own research (DYOR).

Analyse Smart Contracts

All crypto projects, tokens, or platforms have a foundational smart contract. As smart contracts are built on blockchain technology, all the essential data is recorded and accessible for your examination.

You may be wondering how to access this data - this is where blockchain explorers like Etherscan come in. Blockchain explorers are similar to search engines created specifically for blockchain; they can sift through the vast amount of on-chain data for a particular blockchain and display various results for different queries about the project you are researching.

Here are some critical factors to consider while conducting your research (DYOR):

  • Contract creation date: this information enables you to determine when the underlying smart contract for the project was created, providing an idea of how long the project has been operational. This can be beneficial in identifying a rug pull since you'd anticipate such a project to have a short lifespan.
  • Total token supply: observing the total token supply gives you a broad understanding of how much of the project each token will purchase. While buying a thousand tokens may appear to be a lot, if the total supply is 50 million, it will soon give you perspective on your impact within the project.
  • Token distribution: Similarly, examining how tokens are allocated will also provide critical insights. A token supply of 50 million may seem standard, but if you notice that ten million of them are in one wallet, it could suggest a volatile project or even a rug pull, as a single individual has a significant influence.
  • Wallet transaction history: scrutinizing a project's smart contract data will also reveal the history of all transactions ever made on that project and which wallet IDs were interacting with it. If many transactions were merely tokens circulating among the same few wallets, it may indicate wash trading to inflate the project's price and profile, for example. Likewise, if you are considering buying a token from a large collection, and its smart contract transaction history suggests only a few recent contract interactions, it is likely a fake smart contract. In either scenario, Etherscan provides insight into what's happening behind the scenes of the project you're considering.

Discord for Research

Originally a platform for gamers and developers, Discord has now become a prominent communication platform within Web3. Almost every crypto project has its own Discord server, serving as a hub for its community to collaborate, ask questions, and more.

When researching a project, the Discord server can be a useful tool to assess the team's project. If you have questions about the project's technology or outlook, this is a great place to ask. A responsive team that is willing to address your concerns is a positive sign of a genuine project with dedicated founders. Conversely, if questions go unanswered or the central team is unresponsive, it may indicate a project with no clear vision or, even worse, a scam.

You can also gauge the community's sentiment by reviewing their comments on Discord. If the majority of comments seem to be promoting the project or urging quick investment, it may be a red flag. Discord is about building a genuine community, not shilling. Additionally, you can learn about how engaged the community is, if they are disappointed or excited, or if they have any important information to share about upcoming drops. Examining the activity on Discord is an important part of your research when evaluating a potential project.

Project White Paper

When conducting your research on a project, it's crucial to consider its use case and whether it has a practical application in an existing industry. Additionally, you should assess its competitors and determine if a blockchain-based solution is necessary. Failure to do so may result in investing in a project that won't survive beyond the hype.

White Papers often list the names of the founding team, which can be a valuable indicator of their experience and success in DeFi or NFTs. If the team is unnamed or lacks experience in the project's use-case or the crypto industry, further investigation may be necessary before making any investment decisions.

Lastly, it's important to review the project's roadmap to understand its future development plans and evaluate their feasibility. This step is crucial to determining whether the project has a realistic plan for growth and success.

Do Your Own Research - These resources mentioned are only a few important ones that can aid in comprehending and participating in the Web3 ecosystem securely, but there are many others available.

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