Ever since blockchain technology’s financial applications transcended internet forums, there has been a growing interest in understanding and utilising it. This interest, surprisingly, can be either of an academic (in mathematics, politics, and philosophy) or a financial (for investing, reinvention of Finance, and creating new economies) orientation.
The striking duality of these interests has caused institutions from both worlds to converge around blockchain technology and its applications. Universities like University College London, MIT, and others have joined the likes of the World Bank and JP Morgan in their interest in studying and researching the blockchain space and its applications. We have also witnessed autonomous organisations that look at blockchains and cryptocurrencies arising.
However, there is (still) much to learn.
Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention detonated new uses for existing technologies, the birth of a new asset class, and the re-birth of decentralisation as a philosophy, among many other things. One can easily see a growing number of fields developing thanks to blockchain technology. If anything, there is a lack of hands and a sense of urgency to generate more and better research.
One of the areas where research is more needed is, of course, investment research. With investors and intellectuals alike scrambling to figure out how to find the next blockchain unicorn (whether that’s in a financial or proverbial sense), the demand for cryptocurrency market research is at its highest.
Thankfully, there are institutions and specialists dedicated explicitly to spotting the projects set to make a meaningful impact in the blockchain ecosystem. In the following paragraphs, we’ll cover their workings, how to find them, how to research cryptocurrency, and much, much more!
Who should be interested in blockchain research services?
Since we already covered many of the possible applications and institutions interested in these technologies at a broad scale, we can now examine the types of institutions or individuals that can benefit from this kind of research. Some of them are:
Cryptocurrency and blockchain investors
There is an obvious case to make for the need for reliable, nuanced data in an investment environment. Cryptocurrency market research is vital for institutions like family offices, VC funds, and other capital firms to participate in the volatile, hyperactive crypto market. In an unfamiliar industry, these firms (and High Net-Worth Individuals) can particularly benefit from improved chances to bet on a blockchain disruptor.
This sector can also benefit from the same type of research but from a different approach: The legal landscape of blockchain-based assets and cryptocurrencies is constantly changing. Capital firms need to understand the challenges and opportunities that this presents, both to invest in individual projects or from a ‘bigger picture’ perspective.
Cryptocurrency exchanges and other platforms
Perhaps less obviously, blockchain research services can also be advantageous to companies and firms already successful in the blockchain sphere. For example, exchanges, launchpads, DAOs, among other structures, can benefit from crypto project pre-screening. They can also benefit from market data, in-depth research for particular projects, initiatives, and solutions. A broad legal perspective in blockchain compliance is also what these firms often need and might not be able to produce (or want to do) in-house.
Functioning projects and those about to launch a token sale or go to market in crypto can also benefit from research. In these cases, studies conducted independently are often preferable to immediate market feedback when it might be too late to steer the ship in a new direction.
Market intelligence firms and the general crypto landscape
Thanks to composability in DeFi, you can instantly build things that leverage others’ projects. (comic by xkcd)
In general, transparent, high-quality research (especially when publically available) is often a net positive for the crypto ecosystem. Regardless of the crypto market’s often quirky gimmicks, the (very-much-real and practical) applications of blockchains can benefit from the ripple effects generated by widely available information.
Just like Decentralized Finance aims to create a system of composable ‘money LEGOs’, every piece of research that travels through the blockchain ecosystem’s wires helps advance and improve the space over time.
Why should I hire a blockchain research firm?
While it is true that research is something that generally improves our ecosystem, for some, it might still seem puzzling to think in terms of hiring a research firm.
As we hinted in the previous section, there are many reasons why the many parts of the crypto ecosystem could benefit from research. The biggest obstacle between them and a data-driven operation tailor-made for them to reach their goals, therefore, would be the inability to acquire this data or produce it on their own.
Given the economics of how firms, projects, and individuals can use data, the following use cases could likely benefit from hiring a dedicated firm:
Unicorn hunting: Finding tomorrow’s disruptors
When it comes to investing, the logic is simple: If data can help you locate projects with a good ROI, hiring a research firm is profitable.
Cryptocurrency and the blockchain are, on their own, unicorns. They, along with DeFi and other parallel industries, originated seemingly from nowhere and have grown tremendously in the last years. Many projects open for investment have benefited from this trend, and, therefore, investing in cryptocurrencies can be a very lucrative activity.
As we mentioned in the previous chapter, capital firms and high net worth individuals can benefit from data to make informed decisions on how to direct their investments. There are already many successful unicorns (one of them literally a unicorn) in cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance, Uniswap, and others, with many more, arguably, in the making.
Finding the strengths and weaknesses of crypto projects
Although this use case is tangential to the last one, investing isn’t the only endeavour to benefit from assessing projects. In a changing landscape, those that aim to interact with crypto projects and their tokens in any way (be it by listing them in an exchange, doing business, striking a partnership, using their technology, etc.) can benefit from a fresh, informed opinion.
Research firms can also research any given project to see how the market is likely to react to it, proving invaluable before launching. Since it’s common to see executives and builders develop tunnel vision around their own creations, a third party can inject enough rationality into the system to avoid mistakes that can undermine years of work.
With a fast-paced industry, new technologies arising everywhere, and a decentralised (pun intended) state of affairs, research can prove a worthy investment.
Gain insights on the state of the industry and its markets
When financials are involved, everyone seems to have an angle. At all times, everybody seems to have something to gain. This, along with the quick pace we mentioned in the previous use case, makes it particularly challenging to build a clear understanding of the blockchain panorama.
Whatever your motives are for trying to make informed decisions based on data (which we applaud!), you’re likely to benefit the most if you’re building on a research firm’s framework. Doing so can help you avoid and get to know your biases, discover new exciting possibilities, and rely on an impartial perspective for your decision-making process. If anything, it can help you build trust in your hypothesis and theories.
Get up to speed with blockchain compliance
Are you El Salvador’s President, Nayib Bukele, who’s going against the World Bank in an effort to make Bitcoin a legal tender for the nation’s citizens? If not, you may want to consider adhering to the existing rules and regulations without causing a ruckus.
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects are so new that they sit in a legal grey zone in some nations. In others, like India and China, they sit in a black or white area that can change depending on the phase of the moon. Others are even more obscure. Particularly if you’re thinking about participating in (the sometimes very lucrative) early-stages investing phases of crypto projects, there are two types of legal stances that you should care about: Yours and theirs.
Cryptocurrencies’ regulatory status are all fun and memes until your government changes their stance.
A research firm can help you find the best jurisdiction for you to operate on, narrow down the options to stick to cryptocurrency regulations, assess whether a project you want to invest in is in a problematic jurisdiction, and more.
The many types of firms: What to look for, how to hire, and red flags
You might be wondering how to research cryptocurrencies, or trying to determine whether you should set up shop in a particular nation. You’d be right to assume that, likely, the kind of research firm that you should be looking for is not necessarily the same in both cases. When assessing different firms, you often can take a look at the following factors:
Generalists vs specialists
Firms tend to specialise or have an area of expertise, which works for your benefit. You don’t want a master-of-none generalist if you have a very specific problem that you need to solve. Neither would, for example, a market research firm do the job of a technological research firm.
However, if they understand their limitations, generalists are also often of enormous value and can be considered an area of expertise on their own. A strong generalist can help you, in particular, when assessing investment in the early or medium stages of crypto projects’ development, when many factors have to align to create value.
Modus operandi, modus vivendi, modus Bitcoinendi
In an environment that embraces transparency, openness, and collaboration as much as the blockchain one, obscurity should be a red flag for the most part. If a firm is closed off to showing their results, their past research, and the way they operate, you’d likely benefit from staying away from them.
Now, if a firm is open to showing you all of the above, you’re still being handed the difficult enough task of judging whether it suits your purposes or not. You want, in a nutshell, to see if the methodology is standardised enough to be reliable but flexible enough not to be limited by its own cannons. More information on their past results can be helpful to determine this, and it could also be worthwhile to ask them whether they could outline their solution for you.
FBI-ing them to check for their reputation
Deep down, any company, project, or else, is composed of humans. This means that you can learn a lot about your target firm through a background check of their (or lack thereof) team members and their reputation. You can check:
- What information is available about them, their past or current projects, how long they have been in the industry, how they handle themselves online, etc.
- The firm’s partnerships. Ideally, you’d like them to have enough of a stake and vested financial interest in the ecosystem themselves (aka skin in the game) to consider them legitimate, while keeping connections in the academic and here-for-the-tech world. The former will enforce them to be pragmatic, while the latter showcases their genuine interest in generating deep insights.
- Their (and the firm’s) media appearances. Are they experts? Have they been renowned as experts? Do they put themselves out to receive feedback from the sometimes ruthless hordes of crypto believers out there?
- How they blend with the ecosystem. Do they feel out of line? Are they in touch with the prominent figures, the latest happenings, trends, and memes? A “no” here can be a big red flag and show you that you might not get information suitable for decision-making.
What are the best cryptocurrency and blockchain research companies? Where can I find them?
Well, if you’d ask us… we’d encourage you to take a look at our site 😉
However, we’re here to give you high-quality, actionable information, so before plugging our own services, we can give you some tips to find the best firms that can tick as many of the above boxes as possible.
Look at existing research
If you’re looking for high-quality, in-depth information that suits your every need, we can’t assure you that you’ll find exactly what you want in Google.
However, a start is a start, and often the mere act of moving forwards can set you up to discover something valuable. Go on your favourite search engine, click-clack on your keyboard, and follow the rabbit holes of the best PDFs you can find. We’re specifically mentioning this format since you would often find the highest quality information presented in it.
Go on LinkedIn, Medium, and social media
Crypto information has the perk that, since it is heavily linked with economic gains, rigour and nuance have a way of cutting through the noise. The problem with this, however, is that noise is sometimes deafening in our specialised environment.
We highly encourage you to build a solid, high-quality list of people in crypto that you follow and keep it separate from your usual news feed. We also encourage you to go fishing for this information using the platforms’ integrated engines. These, like Google, will give you a place from which to start researching projects.
Follow the tracks of experts
Consider this an expansion on the point above. Upon finding a person, institution, group, etc. that constantly ships high-quality research, apart from digging into their past work, you can also dig into their connections. Who do they follow? Who do they like, retweet, interact with? Often, the answers to these questions can take you to all the right places.
See who’s making the headlines and conversations
If people you trust are sharing research reports, chances are that those will be a good place to get started in your hunt (picture for illustration only and not an endorsement).
If you’ve ever tried going for a week (or month) without consuming media or news, you would have noticed that relevant information has a way of finding you. This is also true for conversations and news, up to a point. High-quality sources are scarce, but nonetheless, they exist. With your new body of knowledge, no one could be better at identifying them than you.
Often, when we’re presented with facts by sources that we trust, we take them at face value. This helps us save time and direct our efforts to where they’re needed the most. Well, this time around, you’ll have to play detective… see where their information is coming from, and try and get it working for yourself!
Pro-Tip: Follow our podcast! We dedicate this space to having unbiased, unscripted conversations with the industry’s top minds, with a fair share of discussion on relevant news and happenings.
D-CORE: If you’re looking for disruptors, consider us.
We do not claim to be experts in every area, but if you’re looking for a research firm, we might just have what you need. At D-CORE, we pride ourselves on the methodology we’ve developed to combine the knowledge to assess projects’ strengths and weaknesses with meticulous due diligence.
This methodology, developed in alliance with scientists from University College London, allows us to take a team of researchers worldwide and turn it into an unbiased plug-and-play solution to quantify the chances of success of a project. Our researchers are trained and armed with the methodologies to uncover:
- Whether a project’s team is qualified to bring its ideas into completion.
- The social media and virality potential of the organisation to stand out in a market that never sleeps.
- How the technology of the project works and if it is based on solutions that can perform against fierce competition.
- How the project addresses its target market and whether there is a need for the solutions they propose.
- The unique economics and financial inferences behind a project.
- The legal stance of a project, taking into account all the nuances we’ve covered in this article.
Thanks to this process, the D-CORE engine is invaluable for those looking for unbiased, solid research in a number of facets. We believe, however, that we excel in the following two:
Spotting tomorrow’s disruptors
If you’re currently reviewing or aim to work your way towards reviewing a high number of projects on an ongoing basis, D-CORE might be ideal for you. You can either suggest projects for us to analyse, ask us to use our proprietary system to review the ones that are currently flying within our radar, or a combination of both.
If you are an investor or capital institution aiming to increase your chances of success in the blockchain space, D-CORE will show you the strengths and weaknesses standing between you and your capital gains.
Due diligence and compliance
You might be an exchange, launchpad, or a similar platform looking to outsource your vetting process. In this case, D-CORE can save you time and funds by outsourcing the process of figuring out whether the team, ideas, and technology used by a project are up to your standards.
In case you’re thinking about becoming an advisor to projects that do not perform to the highest level (but you believe have potential), our engine will also pinpoint what the keys to improving their score are. Thanks to this, you can work together to turn a weakness into a success story!