DigitalNote — Update I
TL;DR. Ecology:2 (2). Technology:2 (2). Decentralization:3 (3). Valuation:4 (3). Rating:3/10 (2/10)
(Update 2019-04-09: Please see the next semi-annual ratings review of DigitalNote here.)
Six months have passed since the BD Ratings review of the CryptoNote-based coin DigitalNote. Let's continue with updated ratings and also in hindsight explore if the initial weak rating so far has been a good call.
2018-04-09: USD 0.007866, Satoshis 110.
2018-10-09: USD 0.003457, Satoshis 52.
Reviewing the old XDN ratings analysis has turned out to be great fun. Readers were advised to stay far away after the weird ICCO scheme pulled off by the DigitalNote team, and as predicted, the whole thing seems to have been a scam. After the old developer(s) disappeared, a new BCT thread was initiated by the new user DigitalNoteXDN. The re-launch was part of a seemingly community driven takeover of an inactive project. Quickly after this re-start, a hardfork was announced that changed, among other things, the PoW algorithm to CryptoNightV1, temporarily making it much more ASIC resistant. A second emergency hardfork occurred directly after the first one. Then, a third mandatory hardfork was introduced, correcting for a serious issuance bug that temporarily resulted in an extremely high XDN issuance rate.
Despite new efforts to re-launch the project, the sub-reddit is very quiet and the new BCT thread is as well. Looking at the new block explorer, it is evident that not much on-chain activity is going on. The recent issuance bug was quickly solved by the DigitalNote developer team, but they were ambiguous in their communication on what happened to the wrongly issued coins. Looking at coinmarketcap.com, it seems they were invalidated, but it is rather tiresome that this fact is not clearly articulated in the official hardfork thread. HitBTC has stopped deposits and withdrawals for XDN at time of writing, and there seems to be problems with Bittrex as well. On top of this, communication from the developer team has died off, and their Medium profile has not written anything since June.
All in all, adding yet another failure (chain abandonment and development re-start) just confirms that this blockchain is too unstable to be a good place to store value on. Old web pages are now taken down, and so is the old Twitter handle. It creates confusion.
Reasons: Still inactive community. More turmoil surrounding the project as a whole scares away users. Delistings from exchanges.
With the new team in place, DigitalNote has a new GitHub repository as well, but the commits stopped a month or so ago. The old one is still inactive, acting as evidence that the old XDN chain is as abandoned as it seemed to be half a year ago. Even when the new GitHub repository was active, it was maximum two developers coding for it and the general activity was rather low. It is also not easy to estimate how good developers these new people are. The total change in Technology factors is not enough to push this rating one way or another.
Reasons: Now semi-functioning developer team, but activity is low and dying off.
The main issue with regards to decentralization is still the very small size of the developer team, which at most seems to amount to two individuals. In the new BCT thread however, they are trying to be very clear that no new ICO's, airdrops or premines will ever occur on new chain. The new team seems genuine enough but it is clear that it still fully controls the direction of the project.
Having decentralization in mind, the team actively pushed for more mining pools (using open source pool code) and achieved it.
Reasons: Not big enough changes in properties to affect decentralization rating.
With a USD ~25M valuation, the project is worth more or less 1% of what Monero is worth today. The comparison is apt due to the shared history, and to some extent code base. Combined with the fact that the blockchain now is sporadically developed and taken from a team of incompetent scammers, it is enough to warrant a slightly higher Valuation rating, pushing the total coin rating up from 2/10 to 3/10, which is still a hard 'sell'.
Reasons: Some fundamentals have improved slightly, while the marketcap has fallen quite dramatically.