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Are you prepared to capitalize on the upside risk of digital assets?

Digital assets are a unique asset class that introduce novel risks to an organization that traditional due diligence may not identify.

In brief

  • The blockchain ecosystem is a complex mix of participants, technologies and economic models that create unique risk profiles. 
  • Understanding how all of the layers interact and the risk trade-offs that exist as a result is a nontrivial task, even for the crypto savvy. 
  • This paper arms potential token holders with a framework for where to start and how to think about the unique dimensions of risk that digital assets present.

General token due diligence framework: a primer

A general risk framework to evaluate tokens can be organized in a multitude of ways. Some crypto-native firms have produced publicly available frameworks; some regulatory bodies, such as the New York State Department of Financial Services, are known to require coin-listing policies to meet rigorous standards; and other market participants presumably have privately held approaches for assessing tokens. Each of these players has its own risk tolerance thresholds that are driven by the internal risk management appetite specific to an industry or sector and its business model. As such, we have developed a token risk assessment framework that attempts to remain party agnostic and should be of interest to any entity interested in further assessing token risks.


In this framework, we define the following six risk pillars as a general representation of our methodology: reputational and strategic, technical, financial, legal and compliance, cybersecurity and auditability. 


This framework is not all-encompassing, nor do we touch on all subrisk categories in this paper, but it should provide the reader with a preliminary framework that can be further built upon as the industry continues to evolve.

Reputational and strategic



Legal and compliance



  • People and entity
  • Environmental, social and governance (ESG)
  • Network design
  • Smart contract risk
  • Upgrades and maintenance
  • Tokenomics
  • Financial metrics and ratio analyses
  • Treasury management
  • Securities analysis
  • Compliance
  • Illicit or criminal activity
  • Governance and security
  • Audit and ownership

Click here to download the full white paper


Understanding the risks of blockchains and digital assets can be a daunting task due to the nascence of the technology. The six pillars of risk and their criteria outlined in this paper are meant to arm the reader with a general framework for performing due diligence that aims to be universally applicable in identifying risks associated with many types of blockchain implementations and token designs. It is, therefore, not exhaustive nor was it developed with one particular blockchain or digital asset in mind.

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