How to analyse a cryptocurrency Github Activity

Github activity

As an investor, finding a promising cryptocurrency can be a tricky task. There are many variables and verticals to investigate to get an overview of the project’s future. Some of them are very popular among crypto investors : technical analysis, social sentiment from various crypto communities & news coming from multiple media sources. However one of these verticals is too often overlooked by crypto investors : the github activity of the coding team.

Github activity is a way to evaluate how much work and time has been put in the project from the developing team. Considering that developer's time is a costly resource, having many of them committed to a project is a reliable indicator of its health and potential global adoption. Analyzing github repositories provides crucial insights to the investors. How many developers are currently active and working on the project ? Are new features being added on a regular basis ? Is the coding team sticking to the roadmap ? Answering these questions can lead to surprising results and refine your investment strategy - some notorious and popular coins having very weak github activity and some small cap altcoins having a very strong & active coding team.

In your quest to find a crypto-gem, the github activity can be your key to success. To guide you in this endeavor, here are some tips on how to analyze a crypto github & some insights that you can extract from it.

Identify authentic repositories

Some basic knowledge is required to avoid bias when analyzing github activity. Repositories containing authentic core code have to be identified as opposed to imported repositories . Github activity can be generated by forking codes from other cryptocurrencies, resulting in the inheritance of all the commits and contributors. You have to pay attention to the tag of a repository as shown in the picture bellow. Repositories containing the tag “forked from” were imported from external communities and most of the code it contains is not original. Other repositories are considered core. You have to investigate each and everyone of the core repositories in order to get an accurate idea of the overall github activity.

Imported & core repositories
Imported & core repositories

Be warned that integrating common libraries to the code can also increase the size of the core repositories without adding core value to the project. Large bit of codes can even be boldly copy-pasted from other open-source projects & introduce bias in your analysis. Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do to detect this practice.

Look-out for specific clues

Inside core repositories, several indicators are to be considered in order to build your analysis - the date of the last commit, the number of commits & contributors, issues and releases.

The date of the last commit is a reliable indicator of the recent activity of the coding team. If the repository has been updated in the last month or more recently, it is usually a good sign that developers are still active and committed to the project. On the contrary, showing no sign of coding for months or years should be a huge red flag for investors.

Date of the last commit
Date of the last commit

The total number of commits is another interesting indicator of the overall activity of a core repository and a cryptocurrency.

A commit, or "revision", is an individual change to a file (or set of files). It's like when you save a file, except with Git, every time you save it creates a unique ID that allows you to keep record of what changes were made when and by who. Commits usually contain a commit message which is a brief description of what changes were made.

However developing teams have different ways of committing codes. Some commits are smaller than others depending on the team’s framework. While one team will settle for relatively short commits, another can decide to have bigger ones. This makes it hard to compare the number of commits across cryptocurrencies.

Total number of commits
Total number of commits

The number of contributors and their previous experiences helps building investors’ trust. For instance, Basic Attention Token managed to raise 35 millions in minutes with their ICO (Initial Coin Offering) since it was co-founded by the creator of JavaScript Brendan Eich and Brian Bondy, senior @Mozilla Firefox. The number of contributors for a given repository can be found with detailed information about their past activities. Having contributors with a dense coding history is usually a sign of seniority. Huge green flag !

Seniority and experience of the contributors
Experience & seniority of the contributors

On a more interactive level, issues are a way to measure how close the developers are to their community.

Issues are suggested improvements, tasks or questions related to the repository. Issues can be created by anyone (for public repositories), and are moderated by repository collaborators. Each issue contains its own discussion forum, can be labeled and assigned to a user.

Anyone who wants to get involved can give feedback or ask questions to the collaborators of the repositories. Having regular feedback by the community and seeing how collaborators react to other people challenging their vision is a strong way to evaluate the maturity of the team.

github issues
Developers interaction with their community

Last but not least, going through the releases is a good way to know if the coding teams are active and sticking to the roadmap. Releases can include new features, various bug fixes and performance improvements. Release notes written by the coding team are often provided to describe the changes.

github releases
Releases - are coding teams sticking to the roadmap ?

Our approach @Cryptonavia

These four indicators are the key elements to analyzing github activity. At Cryptonavia, we provide a versatile library of indicators including the relevant github data of most cryptocurrencies : number of commits, contributors, issues & releases… More generally, our solution enables the user to monitor and analyze the crypto market through a customizable dashboard. Check it out !