Join The Buzz: The PolySwarm ICO

Name: PolySwarm
ICO Date: February 22nd – March 22nd
Vertical: Computing
STL Rating: 71.89%
Description:  A decentralized cyber threat intelligence market where a community of anti-malware experts compete to best detect today’s cybersecurity threats.


How Does PolySwarm Work?

Before diving into the PolySwarm technicals it’s important to first understand the current state of the cybersecurity solution market.  According to PolySwarm,

“Today’s enterprises rely on an ad-hoc mixture of anti-virus subscriptions, threat intelligence feeds, and assorted dynamic analysis engines to defend against evolving adversarial cyber activity. Users must weigh the benefits and drawbacks presented by each solution and decide on the least-worst fit for their environment.” 

Think about it from the cybersecurity firm perspective.  There’s no way you can keep up with every single developing cyber threat, so why would you bring up to your customers a threat you have no solution for?  You wouldn’t, and they don’t. Most cyber security solutions only advertise the solutions they know will work.   Also, many coverages aren’t cross compatible so it’s difficult for a customer to create broad spectrum protection.

That’s where PolySwarm comes into the mix.  Customers are able to utilize PolySwarm’s decentralized ecosystem of cyber security experts to produce best-in-class threat intelligence solutions.  The company refers to their aggregate of network traffic, files, and urls as Artifacts.  The focus will be on timely determination of maliciousness by balancing incentives for the security experts and cost from the initiators.   To encourage participation in the ecosystem, PolySwarm rewards their experts with Fees for voting on the ground truth of artifacts.  Ground truth for this application will be maliciousness of the submitted Artifact.   These rewards are called Bounties.  Experts can build their reputation by completing these bounties.  Here’s a snippet from the whitepaper on the entire process:




1. An Ambassador places a Bounty on an Artifact, submitting a Fee to do so.

2. Various Experts render Assertions on this Artifact prior to the Bounty’s Assertion deadline. Each Assertion is accompanied by an Expert-chosen NCT amount (a “Bid”) that reflects the Expert’s confidence in their Assertion. A Fee is assessed as a percentage of this “Bid”. These Assertions are confidential up until the Assertion deadline.

3. The Ambassador produces a Verdict, taking Experts’ Assertions into account however they see fit and delivers this Verdict to their client. The Ambassador is incentivized to make this Verdict public in order to build their reputation and take advantage of a Fee discount (detailed later).

4. At a later time (e.g., 7 days after the Artifact was placed on Bounty), Arbiters are offered the opportunity to vote on whether the Artifact is in fact malicious or benign. This later-determined ground truth IS NOT A BLOCKER FOR RAPIDLY RETURNING ARTIFACT VERDICTS. In other words, Ambassadors need not (and should not) wait for ground truth determination before returning a result to their customer. 

5. A quorum of Arbiters determines the ground truth status of the Artifact. The details of this vote to ground truth conversion process are yet to be determined. Possible arangements are simple majority vote or proportional majority vote (e.g., based on amount of market participation). These specifics will be determined during prototype development.

6. With ground truth established, the Bounty smart contract awards NCT to Experts who rendered accurate Assertions. The amount of NCT awarded is proportional to the Expert’s Bid amount relative to the total pool of accurate Bids.


Polyswarm is developing something truly innovative in the crypto-sector and we’re excited to see how they deliver on this Scan-As-A-Service blockchain vision!   Now to our breakdown of the full project.


STL Rating Breakdown

STL Overall Score

Transparency Score

 Leadership Score

 Marketing Score

 Development Score







What do these scores mean and how are they relevant to PolySwarm?  Well this is the first formal run of our SolveTheLedger (STL) Rating Algorithm on an ICO. The algorithm takes into account four main categories to produce an overall score for the project: Transparency, Leadership, Development, and Marketing.  Each one of these categories is built from the ground up, meshing up to 50 dynamic data points to produce the final rating.   It is through this extensive due diligence we are ability to level load the ICO field, successfully producing a score on which to make future investment decisions.   Let’s dive into the individual ratings.

The transparency score is a hybrid rating score that looks at how well a company can disperse information and critical updates regarding their product.  PolySwarm scored a 68/100 in this category, falling short in some areas of their open source descriptions on the popular hosting site, Github.  As most cryptocurrency projects, especially ICO’s, are expecting investors to invest in them without a working product, it is good form to the post the open source code to a site like Github where the public can view, edit, and contribute to upcoming milestones.  The code is open source and linked on the homepage but we would like to see more activity here; including milestones, commits, and in-depth descriptions of the product phases.


The leadership score is self explanatory as it relates to the experience of the team leading the project.  A common check many investors look to in a new project is the development team and advisory board history.  PolySwarm rocked this score with a perfect 100/100.  The company presented the team member profiles and listed well respected advisors on the front page of their website.  CEO of PolySwarm is Steve Bassi, Founder of Narf Industries, a startup with big time government connections in the cyber sector.  Also listed is Mark Tonesen, Former CIO of McAfee, the wildly succesful antivirus software company.  Having the CIO of McAfee endorse a cybersecurity cryptocurrency project goes a long way for investor confidence!


The marketing score is another hybrid rating score that looks at how well a company is developing the brand.  PolySwarm scored a 100/100 in this category!  We won’t spend a lot of time here other than to point out that visually the site looks smooth and they’ve been cultivating a rapidly growing base.  The Token Sale was even pushed back from it’s original date because there was a late rush of 12,000 registrations!



The development score is the most heavily weighted category in our algorithm.  In the development category we investigate aspects of the company’s whitepaper, roadmap, investment vertical, token sale specifics and price potential.  PolySwarm scored a 53/100 in this category.  To be fair, this is one of our most stringently rated categories.  One of the heaviest weighted areas where PolySwarm lacked in points was “working/released product” section. This is to be expected at the ICO stage and we firmly believe that the team will deliver on the outlined milestones for the Alpha and Beta releases this year. Areas where PolySwarm excelled in the development score were it’s whitepaper/roadmap strength and token sale specifics.  We’ve include the whitepaper at the bottom of this article and we encourage everyone interested in investing to read through it.  Their vision is clearly demonstrated in this 33 page document.  Roadmap specifics are outlined for every quarter through Q2 2019, even detailing future features beyond that.  As mentioned above we can see that the team has committed to having an Alpha product released by the end of April 2018 and the Beta release in May.


Also included are the token sale specifics, the PolySwarm team has stated they will offer 70% of total tokens to the public and be withholding 30% for business needs.  Of the 30% withheld, 15% will be distributed to enterprises, vendors and security experts to bootstrap the PolySwarm ecosystem.  The remaining 15% is detailed in the diagram below, with the majority going towards protocol and software development as expected.


That brings us to the end of our first detailed ICO review using our new STL Rating Algorithm.  We appreciate all input and criticism and expect this algorithm to grow in breadth this year.  If you’re looking to participate in the PolySwarm ICO head over to their website, and select “Token Sale” from the menu.  Feel free to let us know what are some of the key factors you look for in a potential crypto-investment!  Happy Trading!



PolySwarm Whitepaper


Jeff Wiand

Avid Blockchain and cryptocurrency investor. Co-Founder of SolveTheLedger, a blockchain/cryptocurrency market research site. Certified Patent Agent before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Passion for software development, web development, social media, technical analysis, and building teams. Currently pursuing a Master's of Science Degree in Computer Science with concentrations in Artificial Intelligence and Distributed Systems from DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Earned a Bachelor's Degree focused in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University.

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