The market the project enters (audit of smart contracts and blockchain ecosystems) is highly competitive but remains young. All the competitors are centralized, and generally, they audit only smart contracts manually that appears to be costly. That leads to higher prices.
But decentralized solutions also exist - Quantstamp offer smart contract audit in the Ethereum network, but its token is useless in the system. The most respectable project among centralized solutions is Zeppelin, that also does some steps to turn decentralized. Certik has the most advanced solution is ready for the decentralized smart-contract and protocol audit.
The market is growing - 2018 saw 1 mln smart contract deployed against 0.12 mln in 2017. The same trend in the number of hacks and potential security threats (e.g. TheDAO, Parity). This is one of the most discussed issues in the blockchain sphere.
The team has estimated the market in 1B USD that sounds too overestimated. Also, the team has not demonstrated its strategy on this market and the promotion plan.
But the project is highly supported by the list of distinguished partners - Bitmain, Binance, DHVC, FBG, ICON, NEO, ONTology, Qtum, Arrington and others. That proves the interest from the community, business and the infrastructure projects.
Certik is a platform for the formal smart-contract and protocol audit. Formal audit differs from the manual one - it creates the math proves of the corrected work done automatically not only on the syntaxis level but also on the semantic one.
Layer deep specification technology divides contracts on modules, so tasks are separated into the smaller ones. Then Smart-labeling set labels for modules so that the labelled modules are sent to nodes for audit. That is why it is called Proof-of-Proof, and the successful verification work done is rewarded by tokens. If a smart contract or a protocol are failed in verification, the system describes the problems and show the way to overcome these problems.
The system assumes some roles.
Customers: they request an audit and pay by tokens.
Users: they pay tokens for verified libraries for developing dApps.
Bounty Hunted: they share computation for proves and earn tokens.
Checkers: they check proves right after Hunters. Hunters are rewarded only after being checked by Checkers. Checkers earn tokens.
Sages: they provide computation resources for the networks. Bounty Hunters may use their resources for proves. Sages are also rewarded.
Economics of the system looks valid, but token is likely to be useless. Replacing by Ethereum or other crypto assets technically changes nothing. Users and customers are obliged to purchase tokens on exchanges that appears to be a strong barrier for entering the network. Quantstamp faced the same issue so they had to enable payments in ETH and even fiat.
It would be much better if the project took this responsibility by creating a pool of liquidity or introduced the buy-back and emission policy for such cases.
Financial metrics are not announced. But here are some gossips. The first gossip is the tokensale on the Binance Launchpad (that proved itself as a place for high investment returns with tokensales of BitTorrent, Fetch AI).
The second gossip is metrics.
Seed; 0.06/0.07 USD (with Binance on board) (ETH $1050-1350)
Private Sale Round 1: 0.50/0.666/0.77 USD (ETH $850+)
Private Sale Round 2: 1.0/1.66-89 USD (ETH $550-800)
Round 3: $3.0 expected
So if the gossips are true, investors are granted high discounts so the tokensale on Binance is likely to be beneficial for them.
In the long-term, the poor token value makes investments risky. But the short-term speculation considering the success-stories of Binance Launchpad projects to be repeated sounds more reasonable for investors on the public round.
Only 3 members are introduced on the website. Every member has a strong background, but other developers are not disclosed.
Prof. Ronghui Gu (Co-Founder) - Lead developer, PhD in Computer Science (Yele). Professor at Columbia University (Computer Science). He is an expert in the field of OS audit. See also on https://www.cs.columbia.edu/~rgu/
Prof. Zhong Shao (Co-Founder) - IT Doctor at Princeton University. One of the creators of the SML/NJ and FLINT. Director in the SC faculty in Yele. Author of more than 90 papers. He is specialized in cybersecurity, OS, programming languages, software.
Dr. Vilhelm Sjöberg (Research Scientist) - John C. Reynolds Doctoral Dissertation Awarder. Yele's scientist. PhD in IT. He is specialized in checking software, programming languages, data type systems.