Crypto Project Discovery

Digital assets are everywhere. The ease of creating NFTs and altcoins has enabled thousands of new projects to come online. Unfortunately, no single comprehensive list of these assets exists.

In this section, you will learn multiple methods of finding cryptocurrency and NFT projects. In addition, you will learn how to narrow down the project pool to potential investments. 

How to Find Crypto Projects

Picking the right project can turn you into an overnight success story. The more time spent digging, the more likely you are to find a gem. Listed below are common channels utilized to find digital asset projects.
  • GemA lesser-known digital asset with massive upside potential

Social Media

Social media is the easiest way to consume a lot of information about web3 projects quickly. Often sensationalized to grab your attention, much of the information derived from social media can also be false.

Carefully choosing your data sources can improve your chances of finding a valuable project.


Twitter is the closest thing we have to a global town square for public discussion and debate. It’s the platform where many crypto project teams post development updates and news. Checking their Twitter pages is a quick way to get up-to-date information.

If you follow certain accounts, you can also discover helpful crypto advice and people promoting their favorite projects. However, be aware that many scammers roam Twitter.


A more intimate approach web3 project teams use to connect with their communities is the use of Discord. Essentially a platform of private, live chat rooms, you can connect directly with various team members and others following a specific project.

Building connections, starting direct conversations about what may be hot in the market, and gaining earlier access to information are possible here.


YouTube is an excellent resource for learning specific information in video format. You can find web3 project reviews, recommendations, updates, and more. YouTube videos are typically longer, so expect to take more time to absorb content. 

Be mindful that many influencers are paid to review projects and may not always be truthful.


Filled with shillers, Tiktok is a source for microcap tokens and NFT drops. These videos are often advertisements for pump-and-dump schemes, though. In the future, TikTok could host higher-quality crypto content.
  • ShillerA person or organization that advertises a crypto project

Coin Lists

Coin list sites give an aggregate view of thousands of web3 projects. These lists typically include the project’s coin data (total supply, circulating supply, price, etc.). The listing criteria for new projects may vary between websites. 

While these sites may have thousands of listings, thousands of projects aren’t on these platforms. Also, you are unlikely to find projects at their earliest stages this way. Commonly used lists in the crypto space include CoinGecko and CoinMarketcap.

ICO/IEO Platforms

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs) represent early-stage investment rounds for crypto projects. 

Depending on jurisdiction and rules around allow lists, you may be eligible to acquire tokens at floor prices. You also bear the risk that you may be unable to sell those tokens in the future. 

Popular launchpads/incubators include:

  • ICO Drops
  • NFT Calendar
  • Binance Launchpad

Exchange Listings

Centralized cryptocurrency exchanges are constantly vetting and adding new projects to their websites. Even if the platform does not actively allow trading of a listed asset, it is still possible to find the token elsewhere to purchase.

Due to the highly regulated financial sector, US-based exchange listings tend to be heavily scrutinized and less likely to be scam projects. However, these projects also tend to have deep-pocketed investors before they’re listed. Popular crypto exchanges include Binance and Coinbase.

NFT Marketplace Listings

NFT marketplaces enable users to create and list their tokens for sale on the platform. Currently, there are no strict listing guidelines for the largest NFT marketplaces.

While you can find lucrative projects on these platforms, the likelihood of getting scammed is higher. Also, these are third-party marketplaces, meaning the NFTs may have inflated prices.

Online/Local Meetups

Crypto events are a great way to network and learn about new crypto projects and ecosystems. Unfortunately, these events are not a consistent way to discover projects. They may also require a fee to attend.

Personal Network

Your current network may be a valuable source for finding out about crypto projects. Those individuals could be coworkers, family, friends, and even acquaintances. A network also allows you to connect with others you’ve never met. 

It’s essential to be mindful that others will speak on projects shilled to them. There is a good chance they never researched the project they are suggesting.

On-Chain Analysis

The highest risk to reward play is investing in tokens based on on-chain metrics. Watching the wallets of prominent players in the space and investigating tokens as they launch allows you to get into token mints on the ground floor.

Whale Watching

Block explorers like Etherscan for Ethereum allow you to view blockchain transactions live. They also allow you to view activity happening in wallets.

It’s possible to find wallets with significant token holdings, copy their portfolio, and mimic their investing style (when they buy and sell).

Verified Contracts

on chain analysis

Etherscan keeps track of verified Ethereum contracts as they launch. It is possible to read notes within these smart contracts that may identify the associated project website or social media channels.

Going further, you can paste contract addresses into marketplaces to find token listings (if they are available). 

Token Contracts

Etherscan creates a vetted list of ERC-20 tokens based on listing criteria not fully disclosed to the public (similar to coin lists mentioned above). At the time of writing, Etherscan had nearly 700k token contracts, but only around 950 were listed.

Company Portfolios

Companies heavily invest in digital assets, and many funds publicly list their holdings. Similar to whale watching, you can copy their portfolio. Popular company portfolios include:

  • Animoca Brands
  • Coinbase Ventures
  • Digital Currency Group’s

Preliminary Crypto Screening

Instead of performing full due diligence on a project as soon as you find it, a quick screening may be more efficient to see if the project qualifies for deeper investigation. 

The queries we use at Dark Water Research for an initial analysis focus on understanding the projects:

  • Use-Case (what the project intends to do)
  • Marketcap and upside potential (is there apparent room for the token to grow in valuation)
  • Community size and quality (are many people interested in the project, and are those people authentic) 

If a project passes the above checks, it qualifies for further investigation using our Dark Paper framework.

Next Steps

If you feel prepared, take our Introduction to Bitcoin and Blockchain quiz:

  1. Ethereum (ETH) Blockchain Explorer.
  2. Token Tracker | Etherscan.

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