2023-03-02 02:48:58 UTC

Category Identification Methodology

In this section, we have defined categories and subcategories based on which we classify the projects.

Crypto Financial Services (CFS)

It includes centralized companies that provide financial services within the digital asset sector. Centralized companies that create mundane traditional fintech applications interwoven with digital assets belong to this category. It also includes companies billed as "CeDeFi" or centralized companies that may utilize decentralized finance on the back end for some of their services.


● Neobank: A tech company that provides banking services via its website. (BlockFi, although it offers other products as well)

● Credit & Lending: A centralized company with a business model focusing on its lending product. It includes the "CeDeFi" companies as well. (Ledn)

● Custody: A centralized company with digital custodianship as the primary proposition. (Hex Trust)

● Payments/Payment services: A centralized company that focuses on payments. Includes payments API providers, fiat-to-crypto on ramps, and centralized stablecoin providers. (Circle, MoonPay)

● Institutional/Asset Mgmt.: A firm that focuses on digital asset management for institutional clients. (NYDIG, Bitwise)

● Security Tokenization: A company that aims to provide security tokenization to various assets of the traditional fintech world, such as precious metals, equity, real estate markets, etc. (tZero, Securitize)

● Ecommerce: A centralized company that provides digital asset rewards for shopping online. (StormX, Lolli)

● Infrastructure: A company that provides the infrastructure to other entities that offer crypto financial services. (Paxos, Prime Trust)
● Fundraising/Incubator: A centralized company that provides access for KYC'ed users to participate in public token sales. Usually, an incubator also acts as a fundraiser for projects under its wing, so they, too, are included in this subcategory, provided they are centralized. (Coinlist)
● Insurance: A centralized firm with a business model focused on its insurance product. (Evertas)


Includes firms and projects that are the digital asset sector's core components and underlying building blocks.


● Mining/Staking Infra: A company that provides mining and/or staking services as its main value proposition. (Everstake, Blockdaemon)

● Dev Tooling: A company that provides developer tooling infrastructure for blockchain protocols. (Alchemy, Infura) 

● R&D: A firm that develops technologies to improve the current state of blockchain infrastructure.This category also entails Scaling solutions. (StarkWare, ConsenSys) 

● Security/Risk Modeling: A company that provides blockchain security audits, white hacker groups, or other risk-mitigating services. (CertiK, Gauntlet Network) 

● Browser/Wallet: A crypto wallet and browser provider. (Metamask, Phantom) 

● Governance: A firm that provides tooling and infrastructure for DAOs and DAO treasury management. (Upstream, Coinshift) 

● Layer 1: A layer 1 blockchain, except for privacy-focused blockchains, since they have their own subcategory. (Bitcoin, Ethereum) 

● Bridge/Interoperability: A protocol that acts as a bridge or communication relayer for different blockchain networks. (LayerZero,Wormhole)

● Smart Contracts: A project that brings smart contracts to protocols that don't natively support them. (Neon Labs bringing EVM functionality to Solana) 

● Privacy – A blockchain application focused on privacy. (Aleo, Secret Network)


Decentralized financial applications built on smart contract platforms like Ethereum, Solana, Avalanche, etc.


● DEX/Liquidity: A decentralized exchange using an AMM model or order book system. It also includes DEX (Decentralized Exchange) aggregators. (1inch, Serum)

● Derivatives/Prediction Market: A decentralized protocol for futures, options, synthetics, and prediction markets. (Polymarket, dYdX)

● Asset Management: A decentralized yield aggregator or a protocol that focuses on optimizing yield opportunities in the DeFi market. (dHEDGE, APY.Finance)

● Risk Mgt./Insurance: A company that offers insurance or risk management for DeFi protocols. It's one of the trickier subcategories that would be up for debate because hedging products such as Opyn are technically derivatives. (Barn Bridge, Nexus Mutual)

● Middleware: A protocol that does not directly provide users value but is a vital system for a DeFi protocol. Oracles are categorized under Middleware. (Chainlink)

● DAO/Governance: A DAO primarily focusing on the DeFi category. (Alliance DAO, BitDAO)

● Decentralized Stablecoins/Indices: A decentralized stablecoin project. (OHM, USDD)

● Payments/Payment Services: A decentralized payment application or protocol. It would be the counterpart of the CFS subcategory but decentralized. (Zebec)

● IDO Platform (Fundraising/Incubator): A decentralized platform for token projects to conduct public token sales. (Impossible Finance)


This category encompasses projects and companies involving non-fungible tokens (NFTs), unique digital items, and blockchain gaming.


● Gaming: A blockchain game or a gaming platform. (Gods Unchained,  Axie Infinity)

● Art: An NFT project that focuses on the art industry. (ArtBlocks)

● Collectibles: An NFT project involving collections or collectible items. (BAYC, CryptoPunks)

● Marketplace/Platform: An NFT marketplace for selling, trading, and buying NFTs. It also includes marketplace aggregators. (Opensea, LooksRare, Gem)

● NFT DeFi/Liquidity: A DeFi protocol that focuses on building financial applications for NFTs such as fractionalization, lending, etc. (TeaDAO,

● Sports/Betting: A betting platform, casino, sports-themed game, sports fantasy leagues, and NFT projects. (BetSwap, Phantasia)

● Gaming Guild: A gaming guild or a community for blockchain gaming. (YGG, Ancient8)

● Creator Economy: An NFT platform or a service connecting creators, brands, artists, and their fans through NFTs. Essentially, any project for monetization with NFTs.
(Calaxy, Live Bash)

● Infrastructure: A project that provides infrastructure or developer tools for the NFTs/Gaming category. (Metaplex, NFTPort)

● Game Studio: A studio that produces multiple blockchain games or metaverse projects. (Sky Mavis, Mythical Games)

● VR/Metaverse: A project involving a decentralized virtual world. (NFT lands, virtual economies). (Decentraland,The Sandbox)


This category includes centralized companies that are part of the trading infrastructure for the crypto economy.


● Pure exchange: A crypto exchange with a primary business model catering to retail traders/investors. (Bitso, PDAX) 

● Trading Service/Platform: A centralized exchange that offers advanced trading features that may include derivatives trading, trading bots, and other trading services. (Binance) 

● Market Maker/Liquidity: A trading shop that provides market-making to tokens and liquidity to their markets. It also includes firms that deliver OTC services. (Wintermute) 

● Brokerage: A crypto financial company that offers full-suite offerings or prime services for institutions such as lending, custody, execution trading, etc. (Coinbase) 

● Settlement/Execution – firms focused on institutional trade infrastructure like digital asset trade lifecycle, whether settlement or execution for a particular transaction. (Zero Hash)


This is our most nuanced category because our definition may not align with mainstream definitions that use it as a buzzword.The Block Research views it as an area where companies  aim to decentralize core internet infrastructure and the web (not financial).


● Data/Storage: A decentralized protocol that focuses on providing decentralized data and storage solutions. It includes streaming and telecommunication services. (Arweave, Helium)
● Social Tokens: A social token protocol that aims to be used by brands, creators, and consumers. Note that if the company uses NFTs as the fan token, we categorize that company under NFTs/Gaming-Creator Economy. (Inflow Music)
● Social Networks: A decentralized protocol that attempts to replace mainstream social media platforms and decentralize them. It also includes a decentralized job market connecting freelancers with projects. (Naetion, Matters Lab)
● DAO/Community: A DAO or community that may not have a financial purpose (UnicornDAO)
● Content Production: A decentralized network that offers tools and services catered to content creation. (Joyn, KurateDAO, Mirror)
● Advertising/Marketing: A firm that utilizes blockchain for better marketing intelligence. (AdNode)
● Rewards/Loyalty Points: A protocol that grants rewards for shopping or rewards loyal users of a particular business. (RabbitHole, Social Good)

Data/Analytics/Information  (DAI)

The category includes on-chain data providers, market data, research firms that provide quantitative and qualitative analysis of the digital assets markets, media organizations, firms involved in informational services, and educational resources.


● Media/News/Publishing: A media company, a centralized content publication firm that covers crypto markets. It potentially is the centralized counterpart of Web3 - Content Production. (Decrypt, Chainfeeds) 

● Chain Analytics/Compliance: A company that provides blockchain monitoring/compliance solutions for governments or other businesses. (Chainalysis)

● Research Companies: A firm that provides research on the digital asset sector. (The Block, Messari) 

● Market Data/Analytics: A company that provides crypto market data/analytics. (Coinmarketcap, Dune Analytics) 

● Education: A firm primarily focuses on education about the blockchain industry as its primary business line. (Encode Club, QuestBook)


This category comprises all private blockchain projects which require consent to join its network, as opposed to public blockchains, which a network administrator manages.


● Supply Chain: A private blockchain project that focuses on provenance, product life cycle, etc. (Diamond Standard) 

● Enterprise Banking Blockchain: An enterprise banking blockchain solution or initiative. (TassatPay) 

● DLT: A distributed ledger technology provider. More often than not, it corresponds to private/permissioned blockchains, especially for the private sector.The most common subcategory in the enterprise category. (Contour, Lightnet) 

● CBDC: A central bank digital currency initiative. 

● Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): A firm that offers B2B blockchain solutions. (Lambda256) 

● Advisory/Consulting: A firm that advises or consults companies on the intricacies of DLT. (IP Assets) 

● Intellectual Property: A firm that deals with protecting IP (InvArch) 

● Documents: A firm that aims to utilize blockchain technology to provide document organization, flow, and verification solutions. (Lygon)