As of February 2022, there were over 10,000 different cryptocurrencies worldwide. This is simply astounding. It’s also more than a little intimidating. What do we do with this information? What happens for all those new users, or those who are interested in crypto but don’t know where to start? Frankly, it is extremely difficult to sort out the scams from the superstars, the vultures from the value-adds. An expert, with this as their full-time job, should be able to sort out the obvious top performers and the obvious non-starters. But what about the rest of us?
It helps to know a few key things before we try to make the distinction. First, we need to know what we as crypto enthusiasts are looking for. We need to know what problem we’d like to solve, and what we can and can’t do in terms of jurisdiction, budget, activities, and skill level. Lastly, we need to know what platforms out there meet our needs, have a strong reputation, and can be entrusted with our businesses. Let’s look at some of those key measures and hopefully find a few winners in each category.
What are you looking to do?
It’s important to realize that people don’t just “do” crypto. Crypto is a means to an end, and crypto can solve many problems. Are you looking to protect and validate key data? Are you looking to create unique digital artwork? Are you looking to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency? All these are problems addressed by crypto platforms. Are you looking for in-depth crypto news and analysis? Crypto platforms can help with this too. Therefore, the first step in this process is to ask yourself what problem you would like solved, and what type of crypto platform might be able to solve it.
Measures of a quality platform
Now that we understand what type of platform we are looking for, what’s next? How do we know where to start? For that, we need metrics. While different platforms will tout any metrics that seem favorable, there are some tried and true metrics that contribute a piece of who that platform is and why we should care (or be concerned). Key metrics include:
- Trading volume (for exchanges): whether centralized or DeFi, the trading volume says a lot about how much money is moving through the veins of the platform. Those accounts with a lot of money are paying attention to their platform, and a weak platform will not attract big spenders (or a lot of little spenders) for long. To maintain a high volume, it means that the exchange is doing something right.
- Positive press (for all): it’s critical, if you see a platform you like, to check with crypto sites, user forums, and key publications to see if these sources of knowledge either highlight your platform as worthwhile, or raise a flag of caution around it. Do your research and see what the crypto community is saying.
- Number of items available, sold, and average prices (for marketplaces). While most are NFT-focused, there are marketplaces of all types. Seeing how big the marketplace is, can be a signal of past growth and key momentum.
- Number of users, active users per month, and growth over time (all platforms). This is a good indicator across all platforms but is especially helpful for hybrid platforms that may not weigh as heavily in the specialized industries of exchanges, banking, marketplaces, and more. Bitcoin.com, for example, offers a wealth of educational material, crypto news, and its own VERSE token for various utilities (bonuses, discounts, and trading options). Its educational and news content is excellent, but measuring the number of readers for their free material is difficult. However, with the exchange they offer and the VERSE token helping to infuse the ecosystem with activity, measuring the number of total wallets (30 million) and the monthly active users (several million) is enough to show significant strength compared to similar platforms. It has solid press, a large fanbase, and seems to be making a value-added difference in educating users. In other words, the combination of metrics for this hybrid platform can say a lot, even if the platform itself can’t easily be measured.
Looking out at the industry
The crypto industry as a whole will continue to be a mystery for many people, and for others, a confusing mess that is still worth diving into. What is critical is knowing how to judge a platform, and to select one of the many different choices this vast ecosystem has to offer. By paying attention to the platforms themselves, deciding what problem you need to solve, and determining what metrics best measure that, you can find your dream platform that marks the beginning of an exciting crypto adventure.