• January 17, 2020

As a research organization covering the breadth of the blockchain industry, Smith + Crown maintains a curated list of notable “Signal” projects to focus our understanding and track key trends. Inclusion in the Signal set is dynamic according to new developments in projects and the broader industry. This post introduces changes to the Signal set for Q1 2020, including a variety of additions.

What is Signal?

Signal projects are evaluated across a wide array of characteristics, and have demonstrated significant industry relevance, evidence of product traction and adoption, team capability, and/or notable cryptoeconomic design. These features are evaluated by Smith + Crown’s team of professional blockchain researchers.

Signals are … Signals are not …
• Projects that aim to utilize blockchain technology in any feasible, impactful manner—a potential to innovate in cryptography, cryptoeconomics, industry, or regulations—and that have a viable path to adoption.

• Typically, projects with clearly articulated goals, token models, protocols, evidence of leadership experience, industry knowledge, or developer capability. These factors are always considered in industry and project context—these areas are weighted differently according to circumstances.
• Investment advice: Signals and related project information are general in nature, not taking into account readers’ personal financial positions or objectives. Readers should consult a licensed adviser or tax agent before proceeding.

• Guaranteed permanent. A project’s Signal status is subject to revision based on the best available evidence of the project performance, adoption, and general industry trends.

• The only projects S+C regards as quality—projects without a cryptoasset are not considered for Signals inclusion.

Smith + Crown uses the concept of Signal to orient, curate, and prioritize ongoing developments in the industry; broadly, Signal projects represent the nexus and core of the industry. Beyond orienting the S+C research team’s understanding, Signal is also used to prioritize content for the Smith + Crown Intelligence (SCI) platform. For example, the SCI Newsfeed prioritizes entries related to Signal projects and related themes, and comprehensive profiles are published for every Signal project.

For further detail about the Signal concept, see the SCI Methodology page.

New Signal Projects

The S+C research team periodically evaluates a large group of blockchain projects for inclusion in the Signal set, drawing from a wide variety of industry news, discussion, and project announcements. From this process, the following projects will be added to the Signal set this quarter:

  • bZx is a decentralized margin lending protocol operating on Ethereum, utilizing a network of relayers node to match non-custodial lenders with borrowers. The BZRX token is used for relayer fee payment, governance, and a pro-rata claim on the bZx insurance fund.
  • FTX is a centralized derivatives and futures exchange operated by Alameda Research, a leading proprietary trading firm. The FTX token provides trading fee discounts, can be used as collateral for margin trading, and an open-market buyback with a portion of FTX’s revenue.
  • Nexus Mutual is a mutual insurance fund operating on Ethereum, offering coverage against smart contract failures. The NXM tokens confer ownership in the fund and rights to participate in governance and claims assessment.
  • Santiment is a cryptoasset data analytics platform operating on Ethereum, offering a variety of dashboards and APIs across market and on-chain data. The SAN token can be staked for access to various analytics services.
  • Skale is a framework for on-demand sidechains, aiming to address blockchain scalability issuers through a Layer 2 protocol. SKALE tokens function as a staking mechanism for sidechain nodes.
  • Spacemesh is a cryptocurrency utilizing a Proof of Spacetime consensus mechanism, aiming to distribute consensus participation as widely as possible through nodes that can operate on consumer hardware.
  • Thundercore is a smart contract platform utilizing a novel form of BFT consensus PaLa, with TT tokens functioning as a staking mechanism.
  • Truebit is an off-chain computation layer that incentivizes external nodes to perform work for resource-intensive smart contracts.
  • Vega is a decentralized derivatives trading platform, using a PoS Tendermint network to manage issuance, trading, and settlement of arbitrarily complex derivatives.

Additionally, Smith + Crown examined a number of projects that would have been considered Signal, except that they lacked sufficient detail surrounding a token model and other critical aspects of protocol or cryptoeconomic design. These may be added at a later date when such information is released.

Projects Removed from Signal

Projects can be removed from Signal for a variety of reasons, including lack of updates or demonstrable progress. For this quarter, the following project has been removed:

Sharespost: The Sharespost Global Liquidity and Settlement System (GLASS) is a decentralized network enabling a shared liquidity pool for decentralized exchanges and the compliant settlement of cryptoassets exchanged globally. Sharespost is removed from Signal for now due to a lack of project updates.