ICObench, trying to become the Forbes of the ICO world.
Only formed in August 2017, already ICObench is cornering the market as the ratings agency for the ICO world. With more than 1500 ICOs listed on their pages, 100 waiting for review per day and 1000 more in the pipeline, the platform is growing faster than it can almost cope.
‘We are looking to automate much of the qualifications of the ICOs,’ says CEO and co-founder Dmitry Machikhin from St Petersburg. ‘We have six editors working full time but we have our hands full.’
It might be argued indeed that the burgeoning ICO industry needed a ratings system or platform to try and manage the difficult task of measuring the numerous offerings. While most companies use uniform website layouts, similar white papers and often share advisers, there was no formal rating system to offer a quick and easy guide for investors and industry watchers.
Machikhin’s background is maths and linguistics. He worked for Cointelegraph and used coinmarketcap.com as a ready reference but felt there was something missing – something that would bridge the gap.
‘We wanted to provide a platform where we could inform interested parties of the quality behind each ICO,’ says Machikhin. ‘We put together algorithms that evaluated the quality of people behind each ICO using past experience as a benchmark. If someone has been involved in a number of ICOs that are trading successfully, then their score goes up.’
In rating the ICOs, ICObench uses the Return on Investment (ROI) on each ICO’s token, comparing sale price with current trading value. ‘This is a simple equation but it is interesting to view ICOs together rather than in isolation – that is where our value comes in.’
‘Power of the team’ is a term that Machikhin uses on a regular basis in our conversation. ‘We judge pre-ICOs on three key components; one factor is the quality of the team, secondly the idea and if it is sufficiently ground-breaking and finally the underlying product itself.’
These attributes are judged by the 200 or so experts attached to the site. These are not paid and work transparently reviewing the ICOs on file. As they review more and more ICOs the weight attached to their ratings rises.
‘Here we are creating a database of the people of blockchain,’ explains Machikhin. ‘These experts register and are approved before they start rating. The platform allows them to grow in influence. Over time, their sphere of influence will rise and they will be invited to speak at events and exhibitions. This is an excellent way for people to create profile for themselves and deliver more work going forward.’
The ICObench people is a very important feature of the community. The Benchy bot collects data on individuals and rates them according to connections with ICOs and the subsequent success of those ICOs.
Machikhin says he cannot influence my rating even if he wanted to – ‘Ít’s all automatic and transparent.’
The editors reviewing and adding the ICOs do more than manually up-post details. They view hundreds of ICOs every day and as such are ideally placed to offer advice and consultancy to new and inexperienced ICOs.
‘This is done free of charge and is all part of the service,’ says Machikhin.
If companies wish to differentiate themselves, there is an option to purchase premium position. ‘It makes sense,’ says Machikhin. ‘Our site is used as the go-to site for researching ICOs and to be at the top of the list is most advantageous.’
Currently the fee for this premium position is one bitcoin per week. Before bitcoin did its surge, interest was strong for this service but despite failing numbers in advertisers, Machikhin believes the price is right. ‘We get quality ICOs who understand the logic of positioning,’ he claims.
Currently ICObench is experiencing large traffic with 33,000 unique visitors per day. Each visitor tends to spent 3 to 4 minutes on the site, and looks at between 3 and 4 pages on each visit. There is a 50% retention rate and this is growing daily.
In time, Machikhin hopes that ICOs will launch from the platform and intends growing the marketplace to add more services and products needed by ICOs.
A developer API has also been launched allowing other media services to pull down their data and increasing their footprint on the online ICO world. Cointelegraph is one of the first users of this free rating stream but according to Machikhin they have not implemented it correctly as yet. ‘There are only 300 ICOs listed out of the possible 1500 ICOs on our site, he says.
There are many other developments in the pipeline including a weekly financial report based on the content on the site. This will be a paid subscription service.
Overall Machikhin is happy with the growth of the platform. ‘We are aiming to automate more aspects, such as the ICO registration,’ he says.
‘We are also looking for more experts to register. We want to promote the people of blockchain.’
And finally he wants ICObench to be the platform that explains ICOs to everyone in the world. ‘To educate the mass market,’ no less he says.