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NuCypher ICO Review And NKMS Token Analysis

NuCypher ICO Review And NKMS Token Analysis

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NuCypher ICO Overview

The NuCypher ICO and NKMS Token offer a decentralized key management system (KMS), encryption, and access control service to address the inadequacies of current data encryption mechanisms. The service enables private data sharing between any number of participants via public consensus networks, using proxy re-encryption (PRE) to delegate decryption rights in a way that cannot be achieved by traditional public-key encryption techniques.

NuCypher leverages a network of nodes that provide re-encryption services. NKMS tokens are used to incentivize network participants as they manage keys and delegation/revocation operations.

NuCypher ICO Value Proposition

A key management system (KMS) is an integrated approach for generating, distributing, and managing cryptographic keys for devices and applications. Current KMS services are centralized and therefore require placing trust in the service provider.

The NuCypher KMS uses a decentralized network, proxy re-encryption for cryptographic access control, and an incentivized token mechanism to eliminate the need for reliance on centralized KMS providers.

NuCypher have set sights on both dApp developers and enterprises for adoption of their product. For developers, NuCypher KMS helps dApp developers secure data on the blockchain via decentralized proxy re-encryption. For enterprises, NuCypher offers additional products to target ERP-specific needs.

The NuCypher ICO team are developing integrations with Hadoop-based databases to store and query encrypted data and Kafka to help enterprise clients shield their data from unauthorized access, share data between organizations, and securely store and process data in the cloud.

NuCypher KMS provides a multitude of use applications for blockchain, IoT and big data applications. Several potential use cases described in the NuCypher white paper are outlined below:

“Decentralized DropBox”: Files can be encrypted client-side and stored with decentralized systems like Swarm and IPFS or centralized systems like S3. The files can be shared with approved third-parties by providing a re-encryption token based on the third-party’s public key. The third-party’s access permission can be easily revoked by removing the re-encryption token from the network.

“Encrypted Slack”: Proxy re-encryption allows for end-to-end encrypted group messaging in cases where multiple participants require read and write access to a channel. Members can be added or removed by issuing or revoking a re-encryption token.

Electronic health records (EHR): A patient-controlled EHR system can be created in which the patient holds their own data and encryption keys. The data can be stored on a centralized server or in a decentralized fashion. Patients who wish to share encrypted data with a hospital or insurance company issue a re-encryption token, which grants temporary access to the third-party.

Encrypted Data Exchange - NuCypher ICO from whitepaper

Example of Encrypted Data Exchange on NuCypher (from whitepaper)

NKMS is the utility token of NuCypher. The NuCypher network is composed of nodes that provide re-encryption services for users of the service. Nodes are compensated for the services they provide with NKMS, which is paid by the requester of the data encryption service. Nodes are required to stake a certain amount of NKMS to perform re-encryption and are punished for any activity that disrupts the service.

NuCypher ICO Team

MacLane Wilkison (Co-Founder and CEO ): MacLane has experience in both tech and finance. He previously worked at Morgan Stanley as an Investment Banking Analyst in their Media and Communications Group. After his time at Morgan Stanley, he founded NuCypher.

Dr. Michael Egorov (Co-Founder and CTO ): Dr. Egorov holds a Phd in Physics from Swinburne University of Technology. He has spent time working as an engineer in Russia, Australia and the US. He also has 5 years of experience as a Software Engineer. Prior to founding NuCypher, Michael spent nearly 2 years at LinkedIn as a Senior Software Engineer.  

Dr. David Núñez (Cryptograpther): Dr. Núñez is an expert in proxy re-encryption. Prior to joining NuCypher full-time, he was a post-doctoral researcher with NICS Labs, an accomplished 20 person security research group at the University of Malaga.

Advisors to the NuCypher ICO include:

Prof. Giuseppe Ateniese: Cloud Security, Cybersecurity, and Applied Cryptography expert

Prof. David Evans: University of Virginia Faculty Director of Secure Computation Research Group

John Bantleman: 3 decades of entrepreneurial experience in tech world

Tony Bishop: Former Global Head of Data Centers at Morgan Stanley

Morel details on the team and advisors can be found here.

NuCypher ICO Strengths and Opportunities

NuCypher has made their GitHub publicly available. At this stage in their product development, they completed a pre-release alpha MVP. The team consistently update records of their progress and have demonstrated a commitment to making the product development process as transparent as possible.

Nucypher have established a number of partnerships with other blockchain based projects, including Origin Protocol, Mediblock, Wolk and Datum.

On Origin Protocol, NuCypher will act as a privacy layer for the exchange of data such as personal information that users wish remain secure.

In the case of decentralized database provider Wolk and global data marketplace Datum, Nucypher KMS will be leveraged to secure data transfers.

As highly-valuable infrastructure layer for decentralized applications, it’s promising to see a number of partnerships have already been established. In addition, NuCypher have achieved first-mover status as the only visible player in the cryptospace at the moment providing KMS services.

NuCypher ICO Weaknesses and Threats

As for enterprise integration, there is more question in the way of competition for NuCypher. While it makes sense for dApps to leverage a decentralized KMS service for encrypting data, enterprise use remains more of a challenge. A number of enterprise-oriented KMS services exist and are already heavily utilized at the moment, including Amazon CloudHSM, Google Cloud KMS and Azure Key Vault.

While the benefits of adopting a decentralized KMS system may seem obvious because of the risks posed by centralized servers, onboarding a product built on nascent technology by a new player also represents a potential risk. NuCypher’s strategy for convincing their target market otherwise remains unclear at this stage.

While NuCypher have provided a list of product development milestones, they have not released an explicit roadmap outlining their plans for scaling. Further, their list of milestones does not include any dates.

When it comes to business development and marketing of the project, having no metric by which to measure progress could be a detriment.

The Verdict on NuCypher

NuCypher bring to the table an indispensible component of the decentralized economy. The value added to projects by streamlining the use of encryption services is evident from the number of partners already onboard at this early stage.

While the team has yet to provide the community a roadmap or outline of scaling strategies, the level of transparency and progress to date certainly plays to their favor.

In addition to this NuCypher ICO review, we have published Andre Cronje’s code review of the project, and you can read it here.

As a Top 10% rated ICO, we will look to make a small bet on the NuCypher ICO (NKMS Token).

We have rated hundreds of projects to unearth ICOs in which members of our team intend to invest.

We won’t often go into further depth on projects that we don’t consider as candidates for our investments after the initial rating process, which is why you will usually see our stamp on our detailed ICO reviews – they are the best we have found. However, on occasion, we might also rate a well-hyped project that does not meet our personal investing criteria. Please see our detailed disclaimer to the right (on desktops) or below (on other devices).

The Crypto Briefing Top 10 stamp is awarded to ICO projects that we rate in the top 10% of all projects.



The NuCypher ICO (NKMS Token) is adding to blockchain technology part of the foundation on which the whole concept of decentralization must rest. Key management systems within the discipline of cryptography are de rigeur and it’s almost shocking that they haven’t found their way into the cryptocurrency mainstream as a third-party add-on. With the advent of decentralization and the continuing threat elevation against systems and architectures, NuCypher should be well-positioned to exploit first-mover advantage – although its lack of a roadmap for adoption is a major concern.

Founding Team……………………….8.6


Token Utility…………………………..9.2




Progress To Date……………………6.7

Community Support & Hype…..8.4

Price & Token Distribution……..5.8


FINAL SCORE……………………….7.7


  • Infrastructure project with high use utility
  • First-mover advantage
  • Significant community support


  • Founders don’t have track record of entrepreneurial success
  • Partnerships limited to blockchain projects

Today’s Date: 4/27/18

Project Name: NuCypher

Token Symbol: NKMS


White Paper:

Crowdsale Hard Cap: TBA

Total Supply: TBA

Token Distribution: TBA

Price per Token: TBA

Fully-diluted Market Cap (at crowdsale price): TBA

Accepted Payments: TBA

Countries Excluded: TBA

Bonus Structure: N/A

Presale Terms: N/A


Important Dates: TBA

Expected Token Release: TBA

Additional Information:

ICO Review Disclaimer

The team at Crypto Briefing analyzes an initial coin offering (ICO) against ten criteria, as shown above. These criteria are not, however, weighted evenly – our proprietary rating system attributes different degrees of importance to each of the criteria, based on our experience of how directly they can lead to the success of the ICO in question, and its investors.

Crypto Briefing provides general information about cryptocurrency news, ICOs, and blockchain technology. The information on this website (including any websites or files that may be linked or otherwise accessed through this website) is provided solely as general information to the public. We do not give personalized investment advice or other financial advice.

Decentral Media LLC, the publisher of Crypto Briefing, is not an investment advisor and does not offer or provide investment advice or other financial advice.  Accordingly, nothing on this website constitutes, or should be relied on as, investment advice or financial advice of any kind. Specifically, none of the information on this website constitutes, or should be relied on as, a suggestion, offer, or other solicitation to engage in, or refrain from engaging in, any purchase, sale, or any other any investment-related activity with respect to any ICO or other transaction.

The information on or accessed through this website is obtained from independent sources we believe to be accurate and reliable, but Decentral Media LLC makes no representation or warranty as to the timeliness, completeness, or accuracy of any information on or accessed through this website. Decentral Media LLC expressly disclaims any and all responsibility from any loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from reliance on any information on or accessed through this website, any error, omission, or inaccuracy in any such information, or any action or inaction resulting therefrom.

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are emerging technologies that carry inherent risks of high volatility, and ICOs can be highly speculative and offer few – if any – guarantees. You should never make an investment decision on an ICO or other investment based solely on the information on this website, and you should never interpret or otherwise rely on any of the information on this website as investment advice. We strongly recommend that you consult a licensed investment advisor or other qualified financial professional of your choosing if you are seeking investment advice on an ICO or other investment.

See full terms and conditions for more.

Founding Team

This category accounts for the leaders, developers, and advisors.

Poor quality, weak, or inexperienced leadership can doom a project from the outset. Advisors who serve only to pad their own resumes and who have ill-defined roles can be concerning. But great leadership, with relevant industry experience and contacts, can make the difference between a successful and profitable ICO, and a flub.

If you don’t have a team willing and able to build the thing, it won’t matter who is at the helm. Good talent is hard to find. Developer profiles should be scrutinized to ensure that they have a proven history of working in a field where they should be able to succeed.


What is the technology behind this ICO, what product are they creating, and is it new, innovative, different – and needed?

The IOTA project is a spectacular example of engineers run amok. The technology described or in use must be maintainable, achievable, and realistic, otherwise the risk of it never coming into existence is incredibly high.

Token Utility

Tokens which have no actual use case are probably the worst off, although speculation can still make them have some form of value.

The best tokens we review are the ones that have a forced use case – you must have this token to play in some game that you will probably desire to play in. The very best utility tokens are the ones which put the token holder in the position of supplying tokens to businesses who would be able to effectively make use of the platforms in question.


There doesn’t have to be a market in order for an ICO to score well in this category – but if it intends to create one, the argument has to be extremely compelling.

If there is an existing market, questions here involve whether it is ripe for disruption, whether the technology enables something better, cheaper, or faster (for example) than existing solutions, and whether the market is historically amenable to new ideas.


Most ideas have several implementations. If there are others in the same field, the analyst needs to ensure that the others don’t have obvious advantages over the company in question.

Moreover, this is the place where the analyst should identify any potential weaknesses in the company’s position moving forward. For instance, a fundamental weakness in the STORJ system is that the token is not required for purchasing storage.


With many ICO ideas, the timing may be too late or too early. It’s important for the analyst to consider how much demand there is for the product in question. While the IPO boom funded a lot of great ideas that eventually did come to fruition, a good analyst would recognize when an idea is too early, too late, or just right.

Progress To Date

Some of the least compelling ICO propositions are those that claim their founders will achieve some far-off goal, sometime in the future, just so long as they have your cash with which to do it.

More interesting (usually) is the ICO that seeks to further some progress along the path to success, and which has a clearly-identified roadmap with achievable and reasonable milestones along the way. Founders who are already partially-invested in their products are generally more invested in their futures.

Community Support & Hype

Having a strong community is one of the fundamental building blocks of any strong blockchain project. It is important that the project demonstrates early on that it is able to generate and build a strong and empowered support base.

The ICO marketplace is becoming more crowded and more competitive. While in the past it was enough to merely announce an offering, today’s successful ICO’s work hard to build awareness and excitement around their offering.

Price & Token Distribution

One of the biggest factors weighing any analysis is price. The lower the price the more there is to gain. But too low of a price may result in an under capitalized project. It is therefore important to evaluate price relative to the individual project, its maturity and the market it is going after.

The total supply of tokens should also be justified by the needs of the project. Issuing a billion tokens for no reason will do nobody any good.


Communication is key. The success of a project is strongly tied to the project leaders’ ability to communicate their goals and achievements.

Things don’t always go as planned but addressing issues and keeping the community and investors in the loop can make or break a project.

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