Messari Classification System

Detailed descriptions of our classification system available in the screener and other parts of the product.


The Messari Classification System is meant to be a common global classification standard similar to GICS in traditional finance. This classification standard is applied to any crypto market participant to group entities into common sectors, industry groups, and industries.

The Messari Classification System is composed of 4 main layers of classifications.

  1. Entity Type

A Messari entity can be of any of the below types. A given project may have multiple entities of different types. Uniswap for example has several protocols, a native asset, and multiple organizations & governing bodies. Note that exchanges can either be Organizations (Coinbase) or Protocols (Uniswap V3)

  • Asset (e.g ETH)
  • Protocol (e.g Uniswap V3)
  • Organization (e.g Messari, INC)
  • Network (e.g Ethereum Network)
  • Governing Body (e.g Uniswap DAO)
  • Product (e.g Coinbase Cloud)

At the moment, our classification is only applied to Assets but will be extended to other types of entities in the near future, providing a single taxonomy for the entire industry.

  1. Categories

Categories are high-level groups used to classify crypto market participants. They are common across all entity types. Each category is composed of multiple sectors. There are 25 categories in total. Each entity can only belong to a single category.

  1. Sectors

Sectors are more granular groups used to classify crypto market participants. They are common across all entity types. Each sector has a unique parent category. There are 91 sectors in total. Each entity can only belong to a single sector. For entities that may fit into multiple sectors, we apply the sector that is best suited based on the primary business model, revenue source or application.

  1. Tags

Tags are free-form ways to classify further different entities. An entity may have multiple tags, although it can only have a single sector and taxonomy.


Categories are high-level groups used to classify crypto market participants. They are common across all entity types. Each category is composed of multiple sectors. There are 25 categories in total. Each entity can only belong to a single category.

CategoriesUnderlying SectorsDefinition
MarketplacesExchange; Lending; Aggregator; Prediction; Launchpad and Crowdfunding; Fixed Income; DerivativesPlatforms that facilitate the coordination between buyers and sellers.
Financial ServicesBanking; Insurance; Yield Services; Custody; Payments; Market MakingAn aggregator of offerings provided to individuals and businesses regarding financial transactions.
Investment ManagementVenture Capital; Private Equity; Hedge Funds; Asset Managers; Asset Owners; CorporatesFirms that deploy and allocate capital in markets to earn a return on their capital invested.
Metaverse and GamingMetaverse; GamingApplications, protocols, and entities that facilitate 2D, 3D, or augmented reality virtual experiences including virtual worlds and gaming.
EntertainmentArt; Collectibles and Digital Goods; Fashion; Sports; MusicServices and items that are considered non-essential and are consumed for pleasure.
News and InformationNews; Education; Information ServicesProtocols and Services which serve to distribute knowledge, information, and fact-based resources.
Consumer InfrastructureSocial Tokens; Identity, Reputation, and Credentialing; Social Media; Communication and MessagingApplications and services that are primarily distributed and sold by retailers to individuals.
CryptocurrencyCurrency; StablecoinsGlobally accessible money that is not necessarily use case specific.
Synthetic AssetsWrapped Asset, Real-world assets; Collateral Assets; Liquid Staking Tokens; Securities; Indexes; ETFsTokens and assets that are developed on top of an underlying asset and represented onchain.
Mining and ValidationMining Operations and Support; Validator Operations and Support; Liquid StakingOnchain and Ocffchain entities that facilitate or support the Mining and Validation of cryptocurrency networks.
Cross-chain InteroperabilityGeneralized BridgeProtocols that facilitate the transfer of messages (data) between independent blockchains and protocols.
Node ToolingHosting; ClientA node is a device that connects to a blockchain network by running the client software. Nodes verify the validity of state transitions and store transaction history.
SecurityAudits; Security MonitoringServices, Protocols, and applications developed to secure assets and protocols.
WalletWalletAn application that controls access to their funds by managing keys and addresses, tracking balances, and creating and signing transactions
DataAnalytics; Indexing; OraclesProtocols, Services, and Companies focused on the extraction, distribution, or curation of information of data from blockchain networks or on top of blockchain networks.
GovernanceGovernance Frameworks; Dispute Resolution; MetagovernanceProtocols, onchain, and offchain, which determine the coordination of changes are made to the rules of a protocol and the decisions of a DAO
NetworksSmart Contract Platforms (Layer-1); Layer-0; Scaling Solutions; OtherProtocols or blockchains that either provide settlement, act as a base layer infrastructure for the creation of networks on top of themselves, or provide security and scaling solutions built on themselves.
Compute NetworksGeneral Compute; Machine Learning; Streaming and RenderingServices, protocols, and applications that provide access to both general-purpose and specific-purpose computing resources.
Physical Infrastructure NetworksEnergy Networks; Wireless and Sensor Networks; File Storage; DatabasePlatforms, protocols, or services that enable communication and interaction between different hardware components and leverage physical infrastructure.
Networking and Web ServicesCloud Platforms; Content Delivery Network (CDN); Virtual Private Networks (VPNs); Domain Name System (DNS)Platforms, protocols, or services that enable communication and interaction between different hardware and software components.
Developer ToolingAutomation; Developer ToolingTooling developed to support the development and implementation of applications, protocols, and networks
HR & Community ToolsOnboarding; Moderation; Access Control; Contribution and CompensationPlatforms and services designed to support the needs of groups working together
Consultancy and AdvisoryDesign Services; Legal Services; Tax Services; Incubators and Accelerators; Marketing Services; Software Development Services; Protocol and Governance ServicesA group or person that can be engaged to provide insight, analysis, or advice on their areas of expertise.


Sectors are more granular groups used to classify crypto market participants. They are common across all entity types. Each sector has a unique parent category. There are 91 sectors in total. Each entity can only belong to a single sector. For entities that may fit into multiple sectors, we apply the sector that is best suited based on the primary business model, revenue source, or application.

SectorParent CategoryDefinition
ExchangeMarketplacesA platform that facilitates the trading of assets, including crypto assets.
LendingMarketplacesA platform that facilitates the lending or borrowing of crypto assets.
AggregatorMarketplacesA platform that routes optimal financial transactions including trades and yields across external platforms including exchanges.
PredictionMarketplacesA platform that allows users to stake an item or monetary value on the outcome of an event.
Launchpad and CrowdfundingMarketplacesA platform that facilitates the collection of capital to fund a business or initiative, which may result in shareholders receiving equity, crypto assets, or some other financial instrument.
BankingFinancial ServicesAn aggregator of financial services offered by a banking institution.
InsuranceFinancial ServicesA service offered by a government, corporation, or protocol that provides a guarantee of compensation in specific scenarios such as theft, hacks, or other exogenous factors.
Yield ServicesFinancial ServicesA service offered by an entity or protocol that focuses on providing or increasing yield on assets through various strategies such as liquidity provision or staking.
CustodyFinancial ServicesA platform or service which holds and secures assets on behalf of users.
PaymentsFinancial ServicesPlatform developed to facilitate payments within a specific usecase or industry.
Market MakingFinancial ServicesAn entity that provides liquidity to financial markets through buying and selling assets.
IndexesSynthetic AssetsAn entity or platform that facilitates the creation of baskets of assets grouped together by a predefined composition and methodology.
ETFsSynthetic AssetsExchange Traded Fund.
Fixed IncomeMarketplacesA financial instrument that is a loan between a lender and borrower and provides fixed income to the creditor.
DerivativesMarketplacesA financial instrument which is created from an underlying asset and derives its value from it.
SecuritiesSynthetic AssetsA financial instrument created to raise capital for an entity.
Venture CapitalInvestment ManagementAn investment firm that invests in early-stage startups and entrepreneurs with high growth potential.
Private EquityInvestment ManagementAn investment management firm that invests in the equity of private companies. In addition to funding, a private equity firm provides operational and industry guidance to improve the performance of the company it invested in.
Hedge FundsInvestment ManagementA private alternative investment vehicle that pools funds from accredited investors to invest in complex trading strategies to generate outsized returns.
Asset ManagersInvestment ManagementFirms that offer investment management services including mutual funds, and wealth management.
Asset OwnersInvestment ManagementFirms tasked with owning the underlying assets they manage including pension funds, insurance funds, family offices, endowments, and sovereign wealth funds.
CorporatesInvestment ManagementRefers to a corporation's treasury management entities and activities.
MetaverseMetaverse and GamingRefers to immersive and virtual 2D or 3D worlds where users can congregate and interact with one other online.
GamingMetaverse and GamingEntities that create games or are games themselves, and can include games that leverage blockchain and cryptoassets to give players unique incentives, ownership, or experiences with games.
ArtEntertainmentPhysical or digital creations that are interpreted as creative or convey a sense of meaning.
Collectibles and Digital GoodsEntertainmentPhysical or non-physical items or tokens that provide the holder unique ownership of digital or real-world items.
FashionEntertainmentPhysical or digital clothing ware designed to have some sort of artistic quality.
SportsEntertainmentIncludes sports games, events, merchandise, and equipment of professional and amateur sports leagues.
MusicEntertainmentEntities or protocols that facilitate the creation, distribution, or sale of music.
NewsNews and InformationThe reporting or announcement of recent information that is deemed relevant or important.
EducationNews and InformationEntities and Services that provide resources and instruction on knowledge-based subjects.
Information ServicesNews and InformationServices that facilitate the distribution of knowledge and knowledge-based resources.
Social TokensConsumer InfrastructureTokens issued by individuals, communities, or platforms that provide the token holder unique benefits or access to holders, including status, potential financial reward, or Governance rights of a DAO.
Identity, Reputation, and CredentialingConsumer InfrastructureProtocols that provide unique digital identities or link immutable records of identification to the digital world.
Social MediaConsumer InfrastructureProtocols and applications that facilitate the exchange of information and creation of and distribution of content between users through the internet or blockchain-based technology.
Communication and MessagingConsumer InfrastructureA platform that allows members to share, discuss, and communicate. It can be a forum, messaging application, or social network focused on discussion.
CurrencyCryptocurrencyGlobally accessible money that is not necessarily use-case-specific
StablecoinsCryptocurrencyA cryptocurrency pegged to another asset or underlying currency such as the US dollar or the Euro. Stablecoins can be fully collateralized, partially collateralized, or algorithmic. Popular stablecoins include USDT, USDC, DAI, and formerly UST.
Wrapped AssetsSynthetic AssetsWrapped tokens are cryptocurrency tokens representing another crypto asset's value that has been locked in storage. The original crypto asset gets locked so that a representative can get created in a wrapped form for its use on a noncompatible blockchain or dApp. For instance, Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) for use on the Ethereum network and Wrapped Ethereum (WETH) across dApps.
Real World AssetsSynthetic AssetsPhysical assets that are tokenized onchain to denote virtual ownership.
Collateral AssetSynthetic AssetsA token in which the underlying asset is deposited into a lending platform or lending contract.
Liquid Staking TokensSynthetic AssetsTokens in which the underlying asset is a locked or illiquid token deposited into a staking contract. A liquid staking asset is a transferable, yield-bearing representation of the deposited assets.
Mining Operations and SupportMining and ValidationOnchain and offchain entities that facilitate or support miners and mining operations of a cryptocurrency network.
Validator Operations and SupportMining and ValidationOnchain and offchain entities that facilitate or support validators and validator operations of cryptocurrency networks
Liquid StakingMining and ValidationLiquid staking is a mechanism designed to give stakers a transferable, yield-bearing representation of their deposited assets. With liquid staking, users can earn a yield on top of their staked tokens or trade their staked position in available markets.
Generalized BridgeCross-chain InteroperabilityA bridge is a series of smart contracts that connect one or more blockchains together to enable the movement of assets across different networks.
HostingNode ToolingA protocol that facilitates and executes remote client requests on networks. Transactions from users on blockchains are routed through RPC nodes, and RPC calls allow for blockchain data to be queried.
ClientNode ToolingA software implementation of a specific blockchain and every node on the network runs client software. Public blockchains can have one or many clients that interface with one another to create a distributed, peer-to-peer network.
AuditsSecurityA service that analyzes smart contracts and related data to identify and remedy potential vulnerabilities or unexpected interactions of a code base.
Security MonitoringSecurityA protocol or service that provides real-time monitoring of protocols and contracts to identify potentially malicious transactions or unexpected code interactions.
WalletWalletA digital tool that securely stores private keys and allows users to manage, send, and receive various cryptocurrencies on a blockchain network.
AnalyticsDataProtocols or services which provide insights and analysis on data from networks and applications.
IndexingDataProtocols and services that extract data from blockchains for generalized or specific use cases.
OraclesDataProtocols that verify claims regarding external, on-chain, or off-chain data and information for smart contracts to obtain the inputs needed to execute their instructions.
Governance FrameworksGovernanceA system used to manage blockchain-based upgrades and changes. These rules include specifying who can update protocol parameters.
Dispute ResolutionGovernanceA platform or service designed to solve conflicts and or claims between two parties.
MetagovernanceGovernanceMetagovernance occurs when a DAO holds voting power in other DAOs through possession of the other DAO’s governance tokens. Some protocols focus on & facilitate metagovernance.
Smart Contract Platforms (Layer-1)NetworksA Layer-1 blockchain refers to generalized smart contract networks that provide security for applications and scaling solutions built on top of the network.
Layer-0NetworksCosmos and Polkadot are the go-to examples of Layer 0 blockchains. Layer 0 blockchains are meant to provide the underlying infrastructure to facilitate the creation of blockchains and also allow cross-chain interoperability.
Scaling SolutionsNetworksProtocols designed to increase the transaction throughput of a blockchain while inheriting security properties of the underlying network.
OtherNetworksProtocols that do not support general-purpose computing, data availability, or consensus services. Modular settlement layers that solely handle the validation of state transitions via fraud or validity proofs would be considered under this classification.
General ComputeCompute NetworksA platform or service that provides an array of computation, networking, file storage, or other services, such as a cloud provider.
Machine LearningCompute NetworksNetworks dedicated to providing computational requirements and/or supporting the secondary infrastructure requirements associated with machine learning.
Streaming and RenderingCompute NetworksServices that offer computational resources for transcoding and streaming video such as Livepeer.
Energy NetworksPhysical Infrastructure NetworksNetworks that aggregate distributed energy resources, including energy generation and storage units, to create a more resilient and efficient energy grid.
Wireless and Sensor NetworksPhysical Infrastructure NetworksNetworks that allow the transmission of data through radio frequencies, including but not limited to IoT, cellular, Bluetooth, and WiFi, or networks of interconnected devices with sensors that collect real-time data from the physical world and transmit it to a gateway for processing.
File StoragePhysical Infrastructure NetworksA platform or protocol designed for long-term, immutable file storage, such as Arweave and Filecoin.
DatabasePhysical Infrastructure NetworksA platform or protocol designed for the temporary storage of data that may need to be updated more frequently than data stored on a permanent storage service.
Cloud PlatformsNetworking and Web ServicesPlatforms that aggregate and provide on-demand access to computing resources.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)Networking and Web ServicesA distributed network of nodes that provide fast and efficient delivery of content and apps.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)Networking and Web ServicesNetworks or services that focus on secure, encrypted data transmission over public networks through privacy-focused obfuscation.
Domain Name SystemNetworking and Web ServicesA naming system that translates domain names into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that are used to communicate over the Internet.
AutomationDeveloper ToolingTooling created to automate workflows or execute code, including artificial intelligence and machine learning
Developer ToolingDeveloper ToolingTooling developed to support and aid developers or the development cycle of applications, protocols, and networks
OnboardingHR & Community ToolsA platform or tool designed to induct new users or employees into groups or communities.
ModerationHR & Community ToolsA tool or service which allows for the enforcement of standards and rules in communication channels.
Access ControlHR & Community ToolsA service or tool developed to facilitate subscription or credential-based participation in a group or community.
Contribution and CompensationHR & Community ToolsA service or tool that allows for the accounting of work or effort done by community members and the facilitation of compensation of community members.
Design ServicesConsultancy and AdvisoryServices focused on design elements of a website or protocol, including but not limited to product design, graphic design, web design, and iconography.
Legal ServicesConsultancy and AdvisoryServices focused on legal or legal advisory.
Tax ServicesConsultancy and AdvisoryServices provided by an external agent to provide analysis and recommendations on activities in regard to their tax implications or mitigations.
Incubators and AcceleratorsConsultancy and AdvisoryService or Entity that provides services to early-stage companies to aid in bootstrapping and launching a project or protocol, in some cases in return for equity or tokens from the project accelerated/incubated.
Marketing ServicesConsultancy and AdvisoryServices provided by an external agent to support the creation of a brand, create marketing collateral, or act on behalf of an entity to promote an application, protocol, or entity.
Software Development ServicesConsultancy and AdvisoryServices provided by an external agent to support the development of software for an application, protocol, or network.
Protocol and Governance ServicesConsultancy and AdvisoryAdvisory or technical services provided to a protocol or DAO including governance recommendations, risk analysis, and monitoring.


Tags are free-form ways to further classify different entities. An entity may have multiple tags, although it can only have a single sector and taxonomy.

A.I.A protocol or application that utilizes Artificial Intelligence technology for a specific use-case.
Application Specific ChainA blockchain built for a specific use case or application. Application-specific chains are not intended for general-purpose use and instead are tailored to a specific application to optimize performance, improve security, and create a better user experience for the intended use case.
Automated Market Maker (AMM)An Automated Market Maker (AMM) is a type of decentralized exchange protocol that pools user funds and utilizes mathematical formulas to price assets without an order book.
CDPA Collateralized Debt Position (CDP) is a system where users deposit an asset as collateral to borrow another asset, which the user must repay along with interest to return their collateral.
Centralized ExchangeA platform operated by a central authority that facilitates the trading of cryptoassets custodied on the platform.
Centralized IssuerA centralized issuer is an entity that has control over the creation and distribution of a particular cryptoasset.
Contentious ForkA blockchain that splits from its original network due to a community disagreeing on the fundamental aspects of the chain's protocols or rules.
Cosmos SDKA blockchain built with the Cosmos SDK that is compatible with the IBC protocol.
Curve Finance EcosystemProtocols or assets that leverage the Curve stableswap protocol.
DAOA Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is a blockchain-based organization governed by smart contracts and token holders, with voting rights typically, but not always, proportional to the number of tokens a member holds.
Decentralized ExchangeA platform for the trading of cryptoassets without a centralized intermediary.
Decentralized Exchange AggregatorA platform that sources liquidity from various decentralized exchanges to provide users with the most optimal trading rates and slippage.
Decentralized IssuerA protocol that autonomously manages the issuance of a cryptocurrency without a centralized entity.
Decentralized LenderA platform or protocol that enables users to lend and borrow cryptocurrencies without centralized intermediaries.
DeFiProtocols that make financial products available to users on decentralized networks.
DePINDecentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePINs) use token rewards to incentivize the deployment of hardware-based networks and the completion of real-world tasks.
DerivativesA platform that facilitates the creation or trading of financial contracts that derive their value from the performance of underlying cryptoassets.
Enterprise ServicesBlockchain-based solutions and services specifically designed to meet the needs of large organizations in areas such as infrastructure, smart contract development, data analytics, compliance, etc.
Ethereum Layer-2A secondary architecture or protocol specifically designed to increase transaction speed and scalability while deriving some or all of its security or decentralization properties of Ethereum. Rollups, validiums, and volitions can all be considered Layer-2 projects.
Ethereum Liquid Staking AssetA token that represents staked Ether in the Ethereum Proof-of-Stake network to provide liquidity for staked ETH.
Euro StablecoinA cryptoasset designed to trade at the same price as the Euro.
EVMA blockchain network that is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
Fan TokenA cryptoasset that provides benefits to fans of a sports team, music artist, or other entity with exclusive content or merchandise.
Governance TokenA cryptoasset that gives holders voting rights for a protocol, application, or DAO to facilitate decentralized governance.
ICO EraTokens launched primarily between 2016 and 2018 when Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) were the primary avenue for teams to raise funding. ICOs were primarily denominated in BTC or ETH terms.
Index TokenA cryptoasset that represents a basket of other tokens to give users exposure to multiple assets.
Indonesian Rupiah StablecoinA cryptoasset designed to trade at the same price as the Indonesian Rupiah.
Japanese Yen StablecoinA cryptoasset designed to trade at the same price as the Japanese Yen.
LST-FiAn application that integrates liquid staking tokens with financial services such as lending, stablecoin protocols, decentralized exchanges, interest rate swaps, and other platforms, to unlock additional value and enhance the utility of liquid staking tokens.
MemeA cryptoasset that does not seek to provide any specific utility other than branding and community for the token.
Move-to EarnA tokenomics model where users can earn cryptoassets by performing physical activities such as walking or exercising.
NFT ExchangeA marketplace where users can buy, sell, or trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
NFTsA cryptoasset that represents ownership or proof of authenticity of a unique piece of content, typically associated with digital art, music, or virtual real estate.
Non-U.S. Dollar StablecoinA cryptoasset that is pegged to the value of an asset other than the US dollar, such as another fiat currency, commodity, or cryptoasset.
Optimistic (Fraud Proofs)A network or protocol that leverages fraud proofs for scaling.
ParachainA blockchain built with the Substrate framework that leases security from the Polkadot or Kusama relay chains.
Play-to-EarnA play-to-earn game refers to a model in blockchain-based gaming in which users can earn real-world value in the form of cryptoassets such as tokens or NTFs by achieving certain in-game milestones or tasks.
PrivacyA protocol that obscures transaction details such as sender, receiver, or amount, to protect user data and ensure anonymity on a blockchain-based network.
Proof-of-StakeA blockchain network that utilizes the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism.
Proof-of-WorkA blockchain network that utilizes the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism.
Revenue TokensTokens that grant holders a claim on protocol-generated revenue.
SEC Alleged SecuritiesA cryptoasset that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States alleges is a security.
Singapore Dollar StablecoinA cryptoasset designed to trade at the same price as the Singapore Dollar.
South Korean Won StablecoinA cryptoasset designed to trade at the same price as the South Korean Won.
StableswapAn exchange designed to efficiently swap between stablecoins with low slippage and minimal price impact.
StakeableA non-native asset that can be staked or locked in a smart contract to earn yield or participate in governance.
Swiss Franc StablecoinA cryptoasset designed to trade at the same price as the Swiss Franc.
Turkish Lira StablecoinA cryptoasset designed to trade at the same price as the Turkish Lira.
U.S. Dollar StablecoinA cryptoasset designed to trade at the same price as the U.S. Dollar.
Wrapped Bitcoin AssetA token deployed on any blockchain other than Bitcoin that is redeemable for native BTC. This can include custodial and non-custodial wrapped BTC.
Yield AggregatorA protocol or service that automatically optimizes funds in DeFi on behalf of users to maximize potential returns.
Zero Knowledge (Validity Proofs)A network or protocol that leverages zero-knowledge cryptography, such as validity proofs, for scaling or privacy.