Digital Asset Research Profile
Founded in September 2017, Digital Asset Research, Inc. (DAR) is a New York-based research firm that publishes timely and in-depth analysis of tokens and blockchain-related assets, initial coin offerings (ICOs), platforms, related market and regulatory developments, and other investment drivers specifically for institutional investors in the cryptocurrency markets.
What does your firm do? Outline the unique research or data sources an asset manager can receive from you?
DAR is an institutional research provider that covers the cryptocurrency markets. DAR’s research process consists of four key elements, including:
- DAR monitors a comprehensive array of information sources, including issuer news, communities (e.g. Reddit, GitHub, and Slack), industry events, and a network of subject matter experts.
- DAR conducts due diligence on each token, including white papers, code, team, use-case, network, community, economic structure, and valuation.
- DAR provides quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the token, network effects, and risk factors.
- DAR regularly updates research reports to ensure they remain relevant based on changing market conditions and token maturity.
DAR produces three primary deliverables for investors, including:
- Token profiles including an overview and quantitative data covering 100+ tokens in the cryptocurrency space.
- In-depth fundamental research on specific cryptocurrencies, ICOs, and relevant technical and regulatory topics to the industry.
- Data services, including DAR’s proprietary market indices.
Describe at least one “case study” of where your firm’s data or research has proven to be predictive.
In 2017, DAR produced research on Tezos. Tezos, a smart contract platform, is a decentralized blockchain that governs itself by establishing a true digital commonwealth where token holders make decisions together to govern the platform and improve it over time.
In July 2017, Tezos’ initial coin offering (ICO) gained extreme popularity among crypto investors excited about the project and the coin’s potential. However, DAR’s research found that Tezo’s corporate governance structure presented a risk for the project and consequently they highlighted that for potential investors.
Following Tezos’ wildly successful $232 mln ICO, one of the largest ICO’s to date, a dispute arose between Arthur and Kathleen Breitman, the creators of the project that own Tezos’ intellectual property rights, and Tezos Foundation President Johann Gevers, who controlled the funds raised by the ICO. This led to an indefinite delay of the platform launch and a series of lawsuits against the company.
Finally, in February 2018, it was announced that the Tezos platform and tokens would be launched in the “next few weeks”. These disputes kept the Tezos project grounded for at least twelve months.
Who is your firm’s target market in the financial services vertical?
DAR serves crypto investors at traditional asset managers and hedge funds, family offices, private equity firms, venture capital funds, and crypto-specific hedge funds.
Who are some of your firm’s chief competitors in the financial services market?
At present, there really are no competitors that provide in-depth fundamental analysis of the cryptocurrency space for institutional investors. Standpoint Research provides technical analysis of the crypto markets primarily for retail investors. Autonomous Next provides thematic research covering the crypto markets for institutional investors.
What makes your firm different from other firms in the same space?
One of the unique aspects of DAR is the diversity of the team that founded it. DAR was established by three professionals with extremely varied backgrounds which have enable the firm to provide a robust analysis of cryptocurrencies from a variety of perspectives – fundamental, legal and technical.
Greg Cipolaro is CEO and Senior Analyst at Digital Asset Research and brings a traditional Wall Street investment background to the company. He was previously at Balyasny Asset Management where he covered Internet, Media, and Telecom companies for a market neutral portfolio. Previously, Cipolaro worked at other buy-side and sell-side firms, including two #1 rated Institutional Investor research teams.
Matthew Gertler is Counsel and Senior Analyst at Digital Asset Research. His legal work focuses on the emerging laws and regulations concerning cryptocurrencies and digital assets such as blockchains and other distributed ledger technologies.
Lucas Nuzzi is Director of Technology Research and Senior Analyst at Digital Asset Research and leads the firm’s technical analysis of cryptocurrencies. He has written extensively about Bitcoin and blockchain protocols, including analyzing the inflationary implications of digital tokens.
What is your firm’s commercial model? What is the price range for your service?
DAR is a subscription service. The price level for their services is based on the specific service or group of services a client chooses – from access to the firm’s Token database, their deep-dive fundamental research, or their proprietary data sets. DAR’s individual services can range in price from $30,000 to $135,000 per annum.
What are a few of your firm’s next major targets/milestones?
As a relatively new research firm, DAR is on a fairly steep curve to build up its business. A few of the “key” next steps for the firm include:
- Expand the production of its research – DAR is in the process of increasing the number of tokens covered in its token database and increase the number of long form in-depth reports it produces.
- Hire talent – In order to do this, the firm is looking to hire new staff.
- Build out new data products
- Make additional product enhancements
Mr. Greg Cipolaro
Digital Asset Research, Inc.