The Rating Sites Dilemma

How do rating sites rate the Jelurida products?

Lior Yaffe
Apr 29 · 5 min read

Let’s admit it, most of us crypto investors have no clue what we are buying. Even myself, after being involved in crypto for more than five years, cannot clearly explain the purpose of 80% or more of the first 100 tokens on CMC let alone the whole 2138 tokens currently listed there and the numerous tokens which are not listed. Let’s face it, it is impossible to follow all these ICOs, Airdrops, Clones and their hybrids and it’s not going to become easier any time soon.

Admittedly, some of these tokens have strong purpose, innovation and a strong development team behind them while others are simple money grabs. How do you tell the difference? Hard to say.

To provide investors some clue, there is a new breed of “token rating services”, these services, that are popping like mushrooms after the rain, are supposed to provide unbiased evaluations of projects to save investors time and use the rating site’s “expertise” as guidance to select the best tokens to invest.

A look at some of the rating sites and how they rate our Ardor token reveals a grim reality: we are usually rated lower than most of the clear pump and dump schemes, a.k.a “shit coins” out there. For a long time now our team has been trying to decipher why we have been getting such low ratings.

Facts at a glance

Ardor is backed by a for profit entity, Jelurida. Jelurida is registered in Switzerland, is well funded, and employs 6+ developers, some of them working on blockchain projects for over 5 years.

Ardor is the first production multi-chain architecture. It was deployed to mainnet in early 2018. It is based on the time tested Nxt technology, the first true PoS chain, which is running in production for over 5 years without a hitch.

Our commit activity is at peak, our releases are on schedule, see changelog of our latest release, our product roadmap is well defined, we have perhaps the best product documentation site from all blockchain projects, we are well respected in the industry as one of the best development teams, and even our aging geeky looking website is about to receive a major overhaul. How is it possible then that we score 0 or mediocre results in development and product scores by most rating sites?

I decided to explore.

Frankly, ranking the development progress of a blockchain project is a difficult task, let alone when you need to track 100’s of projects. To truly rate a blockchain product you need to install the software, download the blockchain, use the wallet, review the latest release notes, evaluate the product roadmap, look at the source code, understand the selling points of the project and estimate whether they are real or imaginary. Rest assured that most rating sites do not do even a fraction of this. Instead, rating sites are looking for easy to compare KPIs. After digging around, I think I found two major bias factors that most rating sites suffer from: the “halo effect” and the “github bias”.

Rating sites halo effect

It seems as if crypto rating sites rate blockchain projects higher based a lot on the specific market cap of the coin at the time of rating without any relation to the substance of the coin. As long as your market cap is $100M+ your exchange trading volume (fake or real) is high, and your product is not a complete scam (or even if it is a scam), you are pretty much guaranteed to get a stellar review even if all you did was clone bitcoin and change some parameters and logos.

Rating sites github bias

One obvious example (out of many) for the github bias of rating sites is Dogecoin, which scores consistently better than Ardor in almost every development and product category by almost every rating site. Guess what, the development of Dogecoin has stalled back in 2015 as you can see in their source code repository and their product roadmap is nowhere to be seen. Dogecoin also scores great when looking at github “watch”, “star”, and “fork” KPIs even though these reflect its glorious past and not its doubtful future.

Why is Ardor scoring so badly?

Guess what, the Ardor source code is not released on github at all. This fact alone is enough for most rating sites to give Ardor a round 0 score in development progress.

I explained this in an email to one of the rating sites recently, here is a slightly modified version of it:

“I can understand why your team is having issues with grasping the magnitude of our development efforts since we do not publish every commit to open source on github like many of our competitors.

We only provide the source code once we release a full version at https://bitbucket.org/Jelurida/ardor/src

The reason we do this is to give us some head start over clones which used to clone our features before we even released them!

We do have 6 full time developers working on Ardor at this time. Some of them including myself are working on this project for more than 4 years so I believe we have one of the strongest development teams in the industry.”

Seriously guys, a blockchain project which publishes every commit on github under MIT license is either naive or does not think that its source code has any value. Rest assured most people won’t use this source code to help you debug the code or enhance it. Instead, they will do one of the following: look for security bugs to exploit to steal tokens or clone your code to create a competitor. A sad fact about blockchain projects is that it is much more profitable to clone a project to create a competitor you control than to contribute to an existing established project.

If rating sites decide to penalize Ardor for not following this naive behavior, so be it. We will still release our source code as open source but only when releasing a GA release and after squashing the commit history to make it more difficult for cloners to follow why things were done in specific ways and to protect the privacy of our developers.

You see, in the software industry, no for-profit company ever announces much in advance what their next product will be, let alone release the source code. Apple and Samsung may “leak” images and rumors about their upcoming products, to keep the fans excited, but the public never gets to know what projects they are really working on internally. Being a for-profit company and offering blockchain as a service, Jelurida won’t release our product commit history to the public. This has nothing to do with the maturity or quality of our product.

Last but not least, brand confusion

While Ardor, its first child chain Ignis, and its sibling project Nxt are being developed by Jelurida, many of the official links to Ardor/Ignis/Nxt end up at community websites and this makes it difficult to evaluate the products from a developer perspective. Going forward, we will strive to concentrate all relevant information on our new website in a structured and easy to find way for reviewers.

Lior Yaffe

Written by

Co-Founder and Managing Director of Jelurida. Ardor and Nxt core-developer