Recently, Kevin Ting, founder and CEO of CryptoCanary, sat down with Brent Philbin, host of the CryptoBasic podcast, to discuss the mission behind Ting’s new website.
It was a far-ranging interview, covering an array of topics: from what got Ting interested in crypto-projects in the first place, to how his new rating platform works, to how his team manages “review-bombing”, and many other topics.
It makes for an entertaining conversation and we encourage you to listen to the full interview here. However, below we’ve selected some choice segments to share with you.
Brent: Can you give us the quick version of what CryptoCanary is, who you are, and how you ended up running the site?
Kevin: In terms of CryptoCanary, it’s a community-powered rating and review system. So, anyone can participate and share their wisdom and their experience about various projects in space to help each other out.
I like to explain it as like Yelp, or TripAdvisor per se, for the crypto space. How did I come across this idea… I am actually a content creator. I have an educational media group called Bitcoin for Beginners, and we put out content teaching people about the tech side and the financial side of cryptocurrency.
We have a pretty large beginner group and we found that a lot of them have fallen for shady projects or didn’t know how to do research properly, because all the information is spread out. You have to check Reddit, Twitter, Bitcoin Talk, YouTube, etc. It’s a lot of information spread out everywhere, it’s hard to find and that makes it easy for people to fall for bad actors and scams. And so this was what spawned out of that idea. We trying to solve that problem.
Brent: Is there any contingency for a review attack? If somebody came in and was like, “No, we’re the Substratum community we hate Icon” or whatever?
Kevin: Yes, that is definitely a concern and we’ve seen that a couple of times.
But we don’t want to stop that altogether because, ultimately, we want [CryptoCanary] to be open, along the ethos of crypto, which is [about] decentralization and a democratic approach.
There are some things we can do from the product side to help. For example, we show when reviewers join the site, and how many reviews they’ve posted. So, if you’re visiting this page like Substratum, for example, and you see 10 people in a row – who all just joined the site a week ago and all left only one review saying good things about Substratum – you instantly have a red flag.
The second point is, besides that, we also just want to let people easily see opinions or perspective on both sides.
Like in Amazon, when I take a look at a product, I look at the best reviews and the worst reviews, take both of them into account and ask myself – after weighing them both together – if I want to buy that product or not.
Similarly, we just want everything to be in the open and let people sift through them and make a decision for themselves.
Brent: Have you run into any like any serious roadblocks along the way?
Kevin: We’re just continuing to improve [the site] and listen to the users – what they what to see on our site and then deciding how to improve it from their feedback.
I’m redesigning the website right now, which is a perfect segue to the last thing I want to mention. We are currently working with a blockchain incubator program based in Phoenix called Polyient Labs. They’ve been really helpful. They’re helping us with is with the site redesign, strategy, analytics, and much more.
Right now, when you look at our site, it works, but it looks like it was bootstrapped together. It looks like it’s just more for the functionality rather than optimized for aesthetics, branding, or giving people the right information. Polyient is helping us think UX first.
Brent: What is your monetization method here? Is it going to end up becoming a subscription site?
Kevin: We are thinking about exploring a subscription model – not for users like you and I – but for businesses or projects on the other side that potentially want to interact with users. Or customize their profile page to drive people to the Telegram group.
Another idea is that we can help companies run their rewards/marketing programs. This is not available yet because we’re trying to get to a solid state for our retail users and average crypto investors [first] before we try to explore various business models to monetize.
Brent: How many users do you now have?
Kevin: So far we’ve collected about 400 registered users and I believe we have like 600 or so total reviews. But in terms of visitors, we have roughly 2000 a month.
Brent: Do you have any competitors?
Kevin: There are some, but they are primarily just crypto review sites. Those are the most generic ones, like some ICO-review review sites have expanded to review projects and exchanges and wallets and stuff like that. There are also some sites focused on scammy projects but their focus is a little more niche than ours.
Brent: Have I missed anything about CryptoCanary?
Kevin: Just one more thing I think would be great to mention about the project.
So we have this community-source component, which is what we’ve been talking about so far.
But another cool thing that I think might be useful for people like your listeners, is that we do want to have an automatic or programmatic approach to scrape stuff from websites. Or use APIs and grab information – like how active is [a project’s] GitHub development? Or how active are their social communities?
Info like that can give a really high level [view] or metric that people can go and see the health of a project. So for example, let’s say they go to just some random project and see its GitHub activity. [If] their GitHub hasn’t been active, that could be a big discussion point.
Brent: Awesome. Thanks for coming on Kevin. I’m excited to see where [CryptoCanary] goes.