PolySwarm ICO ICO Review – NCT Investment Analysis


ICO Details

Symbol – NCT


When – February 20th, 2018

Hard Cap – 50 Million USD

Fully Diluted Market Cap – ~72 Million USD

Exchange Rate: 1 ETH = 31’337 NCT


PolySwarm is a next generation blockchain enabled antivirus and threat detection system, built on Ethereum and incentivized with their nectar “NCT” tokens. PolySwarm recognizes a few problems in the modern cybersecurity industry, such as edge cases generally not being covered by most antivirus program, as well as interoperability between solutions. PolySwarm seeks to create a more robust threat detection ecosystem, at a cheaper price point, with a more effective and true-to-fact analysis of possible threats.

PolySwarm defines most of the threats that would be reviewed as “Artifacts” – these can be web sites, files, or anything else that can infect a computer or server and wreak havoc. Review of these Artifacts are incentivized by the NCT tokens – security experts will go onto the PolySwarm marketplace and look for Artifacts to review. To begin with, PolySwarm will only have two options for Artifacts – either benign or harmful, and security experts will be rewarded with NCT tokens for being correct. Correctness is defined by a group of well respected authorities, known as Arbiters, who are top level security experts who also receive NCT in addition to reputation and further trust for verifying that Artifacts were truly dangerous or not.

Eventually, PolySwarm will have a more expansive ecosystem, building more than a threat detection service, with possible additions including bug bounties, smart contract auditing, and other forms of security applications. With time, PolySwarm hopes to become the new method of cybersecurity implementation, with several other advantages as part of their arsenal compared to more traditional antivirus programs.

One such advantage is interoperability – most antivirus programs today simply don’t work well with each other, and a choice must be made deciding which antivirus to go with and which applies best to your particular situation. The ability to combine “packages” with the PolySwarm solution means that a user will have far superior antivirus coverage when compared to most traditional programs, as they will be able to leverage the skills and expertise of multiple, geographically diverse teams of experts as compared to one with current antivirus software.


Consider a vendor that chooses to develop expertise outside of this comfort zone. If the comfort zone is defined by the set of threats faced by most enterprises, sales for this specialized vendor will be difficult. How do you convince a potential customer that they will have to deal with malware that you are uniquely qualified to detect / prevent / mitigate?

Team Highlights


Paul Makowski

Paul is an expert on vulnerability research and cryptography with extensive blockchain experience. Paul has worked for the NSA for two years as a vulnerability analyst and will be taking on the role of CTO for PolySwarm.


Ben Schmidt

Ben has uncovered hundreds of vulnerabilities in widely-used products. He will be the director of product security, having worked for the United States Department of Defense.


Adrian Escude

Adrian will serve as the CMO of the PolySwarm team. He is an expert in marketing, digital analytics and product management for Fortune 100 companies, and has experience with Sony, Deloitte, and Dell.



PolySwarm is handing out 70% of their tokens to token sale purchasers – that is a huge amount being given upfront and one of the largest allocations for contributors that we have seen in recent history. Overall, that means that more tokens will be in the hands of investors, experts, and users who will actually want to use these tokens as opposed to sitting in the coffers of the company. Increased distribution allocations also mean that there will be a much more “truthful” valuation on tokens on the open market, as opposed to other projects that release many tokens over time, devaluing the price.


A second positive for PolySwarm is the uniqueness of their offering. The only real competitor that I can think of to this kind of solution is Hacken – that being said, Hacken is targeting a more specific community and vulnerability set, whereas PolySwarm is going to take the results of their given “Artifact” and apply it to the thousands or millions of other duplicates that exist on the network. PolySwarm can be considered more of a standard antivirus than Hacken can, and this is their primary distinction.


One of the things that could trip PolySwarm’s concept up is the speed at which they will deliver judgments of their Artifacts. For example, if a file is on a system that is believed to be malware, (but not entirely sure) an existing antivirus program will simply let the user know right away and they can then take action on the file. In PolySwarm, the file will first have to go to security experts to test and scrutinize the file before returning back an answer to the client. While this will offer a more accurate result of the file’s harmfulness, it also means the process will be much slower. That same file could already corrupt a PC in the same time it would be stopped outright by an antivirus warning the user pre-emptively. PolySwarm is more of a proactive antivirus approach rather than a reactive one then, and could spell problems for mainstream adoption.

A second potential problem with PolySwarm is their rather theoretical approach to their own ecosystem when compared to some other projects. As an example, PolySwarm’s whitepaper has several questions that they pose to themselves that remain unanswered even by the end of the whitepaper. To illustrate, this is similar to investing in a concept rather than a fully fledged solution, with some specifics being glossed over or otherwise unknown until a point in the future. It speaks volumes about PolySwarm’s confidence in their own project, and this kind of experimentation is something you do before you write up the whitepaper, not after, and especially not after you take in 50 Million dollars to build your theoretical product.



PolySwarm was initially a project that interested me quite a lot – I am generally very bullish on anything cybersecurity as this is a sector that is only poised to increase in permanence as more and more of our world becomes digitized. That being said, there were some red flags surrounding this, and one of the things that I didn’t like at all were their presale discounts. PolySwarm was being very secretive about this, keeping most of their presale information private. As of this post, they have yet to make an official statement regarding how much money was taken in during presale – what we do know, however, is that some presale buyers received close to a 100% bonus for purchasing NCT tokens. This kind of secrecy does not inspire confidence in their offering, and for this reason PolySwarm is a pass.

Investment Grade: 65%

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