Those “hard indicators” to identify the real and fake Polkadot projects (part 1)

Many projects are being or planned to be built on Polkadot and Kusama . However, some people just say that they won’t really do this. This may be because he does not have enough resources to achieve it, or they just want to deceive the community by misusing the Polkadot and Kusama brands .

It is not always easy to distinguish the true and false ” Poka Eco Project”. This guide aims to help you how to research a project that looks good. Please note that this is not telling you whether a project is a “legal project” or making a decision for you.

In addition, a legitimate project does not necessarily mean that it will also be a successful project, and this guide should not be regarded as financial or investment advice.

The following is the first part of the guide, which mainly lists some “hard indicators” for identifying true and false items. The second part will also be released in the near future.

Pay attention to the “supported by Polkadot” or “Polka” prefix

The “Powered by Polkadot” statement on many project websites often causes confusion. This usually means that the project is or intends to use Substrate to build on the Polkadot ecosystem. But any such project can claim that there is this statement on the project Web site does not mean that the legitimacy of the project, of course, this is not Web3 Foundation’s “seal of approval.”

The same is true for items with the prefix “Polka” in the name. Many projects use it to connect themselves with the Polkadot ecology, some are legal, and some are just to offset the brand effect of Polkadot.

Some hard indicators that must be met

1. Be associated with or cooperate with an entity you trust

New projects often try to increase their credibility by connecting themselves with well-known entities. The idea is simple: “These reputable entities trust us, so if you trust them, you should also trust us.” In fact, the association with trusted entities can be a powerful indicator of the legitimacy of the project .

For example, if a project is granted a grant from the Web3 Foundation, it means that the project is indeed built on the Polkadot ecosystem. If they have delivered all the milestones, then their code is likely to be of reasonable quality.

The Web3 Foundation is not the only entity in the ecosystem that provides funding. There are other reputable teams in the ecosystem that have developed platforms or parachains and provided funding for their ecological projects to establish or expand their ecosystems. These are also reference indicators that a legitimate project is committed to building on the broader Polkadot ecosystem.

Or get funds from a venture capital company you trust, and are known to participate in other well-known Polkadot projects, which is also a good indicator. Or participate in the Substrate Builders Program project.

However, claiming to have such cooperation and owning them are not always the same. You always need to verify any claims made by the project, which is probably the most important content in this guide .

For example, if a project has the Web3 Foundation Grant badge on its website or claims to have received the grant, please check whether they have received the grant and whether it has been terminated. A complete list of projects that have successfully applied for grant can be found here (, and you can also view each project here What has been delivered, and whether their funding has ended.

The same applies to venture capital funds or other grants. Check the corresponding website to ensure that such declarations are valid.

In addition, you also need to understand the scope of cooperation . Going back to the Web3 grant example, it has a precise range. Funded projects need deliverables, and the review team only checks the code and evaluates the specific deliverables of these projects. Therefore, getting Web3 funding does not mean endorsing the team’s general practice, project lifespan, or other projects the team is building . This is why we have repeatedly pointed out that the Web3 grant badge should not be displayed on the team’s login page.

Similarly, if a project claims to work with a reputable entity, please search for projects with them through their website, press releases, or contact them directly to verify the scope of their cooperation and whether they are indeed a partnership. If you see such a statement from the Web3 Foundation on a project website, you can be sure that this is wrong, because the Web3 Foundation does not cooperate with ecosystem projects or “recognize” a project.

2. Open source

Open source projects can increase transparency, build trust, and ensure that the project team does not do suspicious things behind the scenes. In addition, it can easily track the progress of the project and check how active the team is in the development process.

However, this does not mean that any closed source project is illegal, or that the team behind it has something to hide. Many teams choose to keep their code secret to protect their intellectual property. Some of the teams that do this have also received our General Grant, and members of the grant review team will review their private code.

Another thing open source projects allow you to check is whether they copied code from other open source projects. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because it may avoid duplication of wheels, but the copied code should be attributed to the source code. If there is no attribution source code, this should cause some bad things, because the project team may be copying other people’s code to disguise their technical capabilities.

The forked repo is easy to find because it points to the original repo, but partially copied code may not be so easy to find. This tool ( can help find ways to plagiarize.

Therefore, a closed-source project is not necessarily a red flag, it just limits the ability to verify this aspect of the project. However, an open source project is undoubtedly a good and powerful indicator of its legitimacy , because dark and bad ideas are difficult to hide in the open source code for a long time.

3. Code activity

If a project team keeps updating their products, this is a good sign that they are serious and enthusiastic about development. Regularly releasing new features and upgrades, fixing bugs, updating their website and notifying the community of these changes are a good sign of a legitimate project.

In addition, for closed source projects, active development usually means good development capabilities. Of course, open source projects provide the ability to monitor development activities directly through their GitHub repositories.

4. Solid documentation

For any project that you want to take seriously, the establishment of a solid document should be considered mandatory . A few years ago, this meant a white paper, but now we are seeing its transition to other forms of documentation, such as wiki pages describing various aspects.

Regardless of the form of the document, it needs to exist, and the more detailed the better. This is where the project is explained in detail. Potential investors and users can read how it works, its goals, and how the team achieves these goals.

This document will also give you an understanding of the technical expertise of the team. If they have documentation on the analysis technology, it shows that they know what they are doing. On the other hand, if they only focus on token economics or analyze their projects only from a broad and vague perspective, this may indicate that they have no clear path to achieve their goals.

If you want to refer to examples of excellent documentation, please check our own wiki Of course, you should not expect to find such extensive documentation in a newly launched project. After all, our wiki covers the entire ecosystem and has been maintained and supplemented for many years, and it is still being updated. But this is a good example to illustrate that a good project should emphasize the role and method of establishing documentation.

5. Reputable team

Some teams display their team members very prominently on their website, as well as their social media profiles (usually LinkedIn) and GitHub accounts for use by development team members. This enables potential users and investors to verify the team’s credentials, track record and expertise.

But the key word here is verification! Don’t use face value to judge what you see in the project team. Find them and verify their records. Perform a Google search on the mentioned team members. If it is empty, or the only result is about the project, it indicates that their team members are fake. The photos (if any) on their website may also be fake. These are usually easy to identify, but if you want to find it thoroughly, here is a guide on how to perform a reverse image search.

In other cases, some developers prefer to remain anonymous, use pseudonyms, or not mention team members at all. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe the team is a strong supporter of privacy, or they want their work to represent their speech and attitude. Nevertheless, you should still try to find out who is behind the project and what they are doing. For developers, the amount of their Github activity may be more important. Other team members may participate heavily in their community to provide guidance and answers, which is always a good signal.

However, if the team does not appear anywhere and interacts with the community only through agents, then this may be a red flag and you should remain suspicious.

In addition to their communities, projects that are seriously built on Polkadot usually interact with the wider Polkadot community. They are active in various Polkadot and Kusama channels, and some of them are Polkadot ambassadors or important members of the ecosystem.

6. There is a clear integration relationship with Polkadot

There are many ways to build projects on Polkadot and Kusama. Perhaps the most immediate goal is to become a parachain. Some of the most well-known Polkadot ecological projects are already parachains on Kusama or are ready to become parachains, and when they go online, most of them will also become Polkadot parachains.

Of course, not all ecological projects can guarantee to obtain parachain slots on any network of Kusama and Polkadot, and all projects need to win the parachain slots through auction.

By visiting the parachain page on, you can quickly verify  which projects currently on Kusama are parachains . In the Parallel Threads page, you can see which projects are preparing to apply for Parachain slots, the auction page shows which projects are bidding for the next slot, and the crowdloan page shows which projects are collecting funds from their communities to participate in Auction.

But not all projects that use Substrate to build chains aim to become parachains. Some teams use it only because its infrastructure can be used to build their custom chains, without any plans to connect to the relay chain. Other projects may aim to become parachains on Kusama or Polkadot.

However, building a potential parachain is not the only way to build and expand its ecosystem on Polkadot. The goal of a project may be to build a DeFi platform on the parachain, release stablecoin or other tokens on Statemint, build a decentralized exchange or any other dApp that people might think of, without having to touch the relay chain. This is the beauty of Polkadot!

But in all these cases, the plans they build on Polkadot, no matter what they are, should be clearly stated on their website and documentation. However, most importantly, you should look for explanations about how they plan to achieve this integration. If there is no clear description of the steps to achieve the goal, just putting the integration on the roadmap at some point in the future, it means that this is almost zero. These should be evaluated together with your research on the technical capabilities of the team.

This is especially true for projects that are already running on another network, such as Ethereum or Binance Smart Chain, and have issued tokens there. Many projects do this either to raise funds and test their infrastructure, or because they aim to build “multi-chain” solutions, or both. But because these projects are not currently built on Substrate, so in the process of your research, whether it has a clear plan to integrate with Polkadot is essential, to ensure that they will indeed be built on Polkadot.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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