Emercoin — Update I
TL;DR. Ecology:2 (3). Technology:5 (6). Decentralization:3 (3). Valuation:6 (3). Rating:4/10 (4/10)
Six months have passed since the first BD Ratings review of Emercoin. When looking at how the price has changed since that time, we see that it decreased drastically relative to BTC, causing the prior rating to be 'in the money'.
2018-11-08: USD 0.950111, Satoshis 14 761.
2019-05-08: USD 0.2375, Satoshis 4 041.
The review period starts with another client update. Emercoin Wallet 0.7.3 included the patching of a non-critical vulnerability, as well as other code optimizations. The end of November saw the introduction of what the Emercoin team called PrivateBlog - an application on top of the Emercoin blockchain that lets users make blogs or post articles with a high level of privacy and censorship resistance. Commits for PrivateBlog stopped in January 2019 however, and as far as BD Ratings knows it never saw any actual releases. Some marketing bounties were distributed in December 2018, in a way to promote the then 5-year old project.
On the 13th of February, 2019, the team introduced Randpay - a micro-transactions concept where not unlike Bitcoin's Lightning Network, transactions settled on-chain only after first being aggregated in a way. Emercoin core 0.7.5 was released in March, featuring improvements for Linux users, general GUI improvements as well as updated applications.
The official bitcointalk.org thread is rather inactive, with just a few scam accusations being thrown around. The Emercoin subreddit is almost completely dead, and so is the network transaction activity. All this increases the risk of the project dying altogether.
Looking at the broader application of Emercoin, it is clear that there have been advancements on some fronts, with multiple apps already developed. The more successful these are, the more on-chain transactions will be processed by the network. BD Ratings will in other words pick up on such activity, should it arrive in the future.
It is worth to go back to the scam accusations against Emercoin, mainly provided by BCT user IconFirm. In the last BD Ratings article, the combined evidence was not enough to warrant a scam stamp on the whole project. In this rating article, however, the Ecology rating will be adjusted accordingly as there are more indications of strange behavior from the Emercoin team. In October 2018 for example, the team refused to answer where any of its many offices were located exactly, even after stating that it indeed has setup offices in multiple countries. Eugene Shumilov, Emercoin founder and CEO, have as mentioned in the first rating article, publicly praised the Polybius project on his blog. The whole Polybius announcement thread on bitcointalk.org was moved to the trashcan by moderators after what BD Ratings can only assume to have been scam accusations. But all this is not enough for the project to be called a scam. There is still a quite strong focus on code, and not on marketing or lofty, future promises.
Reasons: Still low on-chain activity. Useful features on the software client.
Emercoin GitHub activity has decreased during the review period, but the project is still active. Commits come only from two developers. Both metrics can of course be misleading, but they probably are not. Bitcoin Core code is still adopted to keep the code base up to date with the technical security and superiority of Bitcoin.
Emercoin had a Proof of Stake vulnerability according to the authors of this report. It is not clear whether Emercoin developers patched the vulnerability or not. The client releases after the publishing of the report does not explicitly mention it.
Reasons: Stable code base. Seemingly small but competent developer team. Lower commit activity.
No considerable changes have occurred that warrant specific mentions under the Decentralization rating. The initial skewed token distribution might not be the same large issue after 5 long years, but it is better to be conservative with these things.
Reasons: 'Ninja-mining' still the deciding factor.
To the credit of the team, it stated in January 2019 that it never would run an ICO going forward, even if developers ran out of funds completely. Emercoin didn't launch as an ICO either, so there is certainly no culture of doing just that. Inflation at time of writing seems to be between 3-5% per year - it is hard to measure given the volatility of the minting process.
As for the Emercoin price, BD Ratings notes that it has fallen sharply, placing Emercoin outside of the the coinmarketcap.com top 200. Given the not clearly bad fundamentals, Emercoin is starting to look cheap enough to be rid of its low overall rating.
Reasons: Quite low valuation compared to fundamentals.