Evaluating an ICO Project — Case Analysis of THEKEY

3 min readDec 22, 2017


The first Initial Coin Offering (ICO) was launched in 2013. In 2016, ICO started to gain traction. In 2017, investments soared and cumulative funding has surged to 2.8 billion as of November 2017.

Chart: ICO cumulative funding over time

ICO not only offers a convenient venue for entrepreneurs in the blockchain sector to obtain funding, but also allows individuals to invest in early-stage projects, which were previously available only to institutional investors. It is estimated that if a person blindly invests $1,000 in every visible ICO projects, including those failed, he or she will have a positive return of more than 13 times. However, the reality is not always as rosy as it may sound. In fact, as ICO failure rate is relatively high nowadays, investing in ICO can be highly risky. There have been widespread skepticism surrounding ICOs, including unclear legal status, low liquidity, lack of transparency, etc. Investors need to exercise extreme caution on their investments.

What are the golden rules for evaluating ICO projects?

#1. Real Needs for the Product

Piling up buzzwords does not guarantee that the project would become the next hit. A real need does! Identity verification, for example, is a universal need in the digital world. Whether you are opening your home door, claiming your insurance, or entering another country, you will have to first prove that you are indeed yourself. Funny as it may sound — until recently there has been no product that can provide undeniable identity verification. THEKEY can be the first one of its kind to provide such decentralized, undeniable ID verification services. The solution can find broad applications, including government agencies, insurance companies, financial institutions, and many areas in our daily life.

#2. The Team Matters More than the Business Plan

This rule of thumb in VC investment also applies to the ICO world. Early investor of Coinbase, including venture capital Boost VC, Draper Associates and DFJ Growth, indicated that the founders of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong and his team is the biggest factor that affirmed investment decision. THEKEY team possesses solid experience in blockchain and big data applications, as well as industry-specific knowledge such as medical informatics. For a new venture, business plan will invariably change along the way. But a competent, experienced and determined team will always adapt themselves to a new plan and guarantee the success of the project.

#3. A Product that Stands out

How does the product perform comparing with its competitors and alternatives? Is the product using proprietary technology that gives it a unique advantage? Is it a final product or just a prototype?

There are more than twenty blockchain-based projects related to identity verification. THEKEY, with 23 copyrights, 15 patents and being tested in two cities, is a clear winner and stands at the forefront of the line-up. THEKEY is the only product that has been able to tap into existing government data of 210 million people. It saves considerable time and effort on data collection and data processing. Because of the enormous amount of data at hand, THEKEY is able to generate more reliable results compared with the other solutions. In addition, users do not need to install any app or upload any data to use the technology, ensuring a convenient user experience.

#4. Strong Partnership and Pre-sale

Generally, partnership with strong players and robust presale results are good indicators of a successful project. As of 22 December 2017, THEKEY has received total funding of approximately 70% of the hard cap while it is still in the pre-distribution stage. Moreover, THEKEY is developed on the NEO ecosystem. The public chain to be developed later would be on the NeoContract system. THEKEY project contributes to building up the neo ecosystem. At the same time, THEKEY can directly leverage on NEO’s solid infrastructure.

THEKEY project is currently in the pre-distribution stage. To learn more about the project and how to participate in ICO, you may visit the links below and please join the telegram group.

Website: https://www.thekey.vip

Telegram group: https://t.me/THEKEYOFFICIAL

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thekeyvip

Medium: https://medium.com/@thekeyvip

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheKey-1439094662870680




THEKEY is a blockchain based identity verification technology (IDV) being developed to create secure digital identities for the future.