Oxford Physics graduate and software industry veteran with a diverse background in many fields from IoT, comms, DevOps, FinTech, consumer apps, AdTech, and data engineering.
I've programmed at the CPU level doing bit-flipping with assembly code. I helped bring the Java VM to embedded real-time systems. I helped create one of the earliest platforms for delivering application data to mobile devices of all types: from voice interfaces, browser markup, to sync protocols with smart devices. I have pioneered in bringing real-time binary options market data to trading UIs using the first implementations of server push over HTTP. I worked on analyzing large data sets producing billions of data points for consumer product ratings. I helped design, create and maintain a telephony routing and workflow platform. Now I'm a data engineer in the ad-tech and marketing world. I'm also an advisor and chief architect for an application performance analytics product, and advisor to a couple of ICO projects (not yet listed on ICObench).
Since 2013 I have been investing in and studying blockchain related tech although in 2006 I purchased my first cryptocurrency - Ripple - before it was bought and reinvented by the current Ripple Inc. I am active in the San Francisco Bay Area blockchain and cryptocurrency Meetup community and started the first EOS meetup group in the area.
I am convinced that the blossoming of the blockchain, distributed ledger, and other decentralized trustless applications is the beginning of a new "Internet era" type of revolution that will dramatically impact the way the world works in the future. If the 2013 Bitcoin "bubble" was the Angel Round for blockchain then the current activity around new ICOs and blockchains is the Series A. Series B will be in a year or so when many of the ICOs launched in the last year start going live and gaining traction. At that time many will fail, and some will succeed. We may be a little way from "IPO" but it is coming and it will be huge!
I decided to join ICO Bench as an expert because I was shocked how often others were dishing out high ratings to bland and undifferentiated ICOs with questionable teams and no evidence of actual product. Folks - do you really expect ICOs to succeed with any greater frequency than regular venture-funded startups? You realize that even those companies that make it to funding stage in the VC world crash and burn about 9 out of 10 times? So far there is no evidence to suggest that all the ICO backed apps and platforms will fare any better so it is unrealistic to think there are so many 4 and 5 point ICOs out there. There must be many mediocre and downright poor ICOs that will fail or crash and burn for any number of reasons.
That said I recognize that we are in a situation where a rising tide floats all boats and virtually any ICO, even the complete duds, could make you 10x or more by investing early. But unless you are going to spray money everywhere and get out quick I suggest that you look for the long term and invest in apps and platforms that actually have a team that can build it, market it and run it, have an idea that fills a real need well, has a market commensurable with the valuation, and at the time of investment shows evidence of what is claimed and isn't just vaporware. That's exactly the kind of criteria I base my ratings on.
My rating system is:
I rate you based on where you are at the current time compared to other ICOs at the same stage - which is usually pre-ICO or about to ICO. I use publicly available information for team and product. If you have stuff you haven't shown, or know stuff about your developers I don't know (I hope so) I can't rate that. For vision that's more personal and based a lot on my knowledge of the space and what I think the future holds for tech and blockchain/decentralized technology specifically. However, I don't mark down projects just because they are not personally interesting to me.
3 stars: is what a lot of ICOs I rate get (even if it irritates their founders, advisors, and marketing people). It means you have an average vision, team, or product execution. You're performing about as well as any of the dozens of other ICOs I've evaluated at the current stage you're at. Don't feel bad about that - sure you could do better you're in good company and well about the 2-star and 1-star teams!
4 stars: mean I've found some significant evidence of above average team, vision, or product delivery for your stage.
5 stars: mean I think you are hitting out of the park on vision, team, or product delivery - or maybe even all three.
2 stars: isn't necessarily awful especially for just one category, just below average, room for improvement in that area
1 star: means I think you're falling a long way behind the pack
I think successful ICOs will probably score at least 4-stars in all categories, and probably one or more 5-star ratings. But you never know - sometimes developers are too busy to write compelling whitepapers or product demos, and sometimes relative unknowns deliver amazing stuff. I mean just who was that Vitalik kid who thought he could build a Bitcoin rival and change the face of crypto and blockchains forever? I remember hearing him speak in SF well before the launch and people were very skeptical.
If you are part of an ICO I have reviewed and have additional information that could help me improve my review I'm always open to hearing it. I will treat any feedback transparently and reserve the right to publish it so our conversation is above board and available for all to see.
If you value my opinion and think I can help you shape your blockchain app or platform I'm open to playing an advisory role in ICOs but would have to declare my interests and retract any existing review here as per the ICObench rules.