How To Create An ICO Scam

How To Create An ICO Scam

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How To Create An ICO Scam .

First step pick a name that sounds ethereal .

A generic symbol to accompany the logo, will do, just don’t get too fancy and keep it simple .

Then: You need to show the faces of the people behind this world changing project. So get some good looking pictures, come up with some common names (so they are very hard to google) and add the most professional information, you can think of. Open Facebook and LinkedIn profiles for them .

Fake Resumes are okay , but make some online research before

When The team is complete, just add one marketing girl who will bring in the herd home.

Now to the next step :

Buy Several Bitcointalk Accounts 

Bitcointalk is the most active Bitcoin forum on the internet, they basically grew together. Any developer, investor or enthusiast is familiar with it , and almost all cryptocurrency projects , are first announced there. The thing is, you can actually buy accounts there, they have value because they can participate in Signature Campaigns. and earn Bitcoins based on their ranks. An old and active member is usually respected by the community.

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Now about “The Pitch ” :

Make it as complicated as possible, throwing so much mumbo-jumbo as you possible can. Keywords are: Tokens, Assets, Blockchain, Ledger, Disruptive, Decentralized, Shares, Platform, Intermediary, Publishing, Trustless, Fixed, Digital.

It’s time to complete this malevolent puzzle, my horns sure are ready!

Compile all graphics and create images you can embed in the project thread. Getting a domain is a great idea too, you don’t need to build an actual site, just add a countdown clock widget, a subscribe button and an Ether and BTC address and you are good to go!

Remember to pump up the raised funds figure daily, so users get reassured that a lot of money is getting invested.

Use paid services to write about you on blogs, forums , discussion boards , Facebook , Linked , Twitter , Telegram , etc…. create a BUZZ !  Pay for professional Press Releases ! It’s all going to be paid back to you by the first idiot that will buy your tokens .  

ICOs MARKETING :  it is indeed a huge PR scam , what Donald Trump call ” Fake News” .  How to create Fake News about your ICO ?  Consult with us at : [email protected] 

You have to create the illusion that people are so interested to buy your cryptocurrency ! 

The entire project have a transparent system which will easily be accessible to all users. This is a big assurance for many investors.

Buy Positive reviews on all Bitcoin News Websites and Forums .

Be carefull not to offer , really high returns with little-to-no risk. It will look like a scam .

Invest in the legal side of the ICO , it gives peace of mind to potential investors .

Be available by email and telephone : never give evasive or unclear answers.

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Speaking about the theme, or concept, check if there’s a market for that kind of product and who are its rivals .

Pay attention to the tinyest detail — even the domain registration date can be important.

There are many other issues such as : token presence and description in the White Paper, RoadMap etc; token economy and emission, required turnover to support the value .

Contact us for more details . You can find our contact details in the description .

Please use buzzwords , as a means to turn a boring text or announcement into something exciting . However, these will need to have a certain amount of information on it .

Whitepapers usually explain how the platform works both on the high-level and specifically. This often includes charts, calculations, simulations, specifications and so forth.

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  • ICO FRAUD

    Cryptocurrency has revolutionized currency transactions, and now people are finding even more uses for the digital currency technology. When startups need to raise money to get their businesses off the ground many are turning to ICOs, or Initial Coin Offerings, to fund their projects in an unregulated way. This method is similar to IPOs and even crowdfunding in that investors own something related to the company when they make an investment. Just like IPOs and Crowdfunding there is no guarantee you will ever get your money back. The risk in investing in ICOs comes from the fact that there is a small percentage of people taking advantage of the fact there are no regulations by scamming unsuspecting investors.

    Jordan Belfort, better known as the Wolf of Wall Street, has warned against ICOs, calling them the biggest scam going as well as way worse than anything he ever did. A common scheme to be on the lookout for among ICO investors is the “pump and dump” scheme, wherein initial investors pump up the price of the ICO, recruit new investors, and then dump their shares and crash the price.

    ICOs are risky, sure, but many people are still interested in using them just to say they got in on the ground floor. Risk is attractive to many investors, after all.

  • COMPOSITE HACKS

    ★Whenever I’m been hired as a Hacker i typically only take jobs that I find somehow original, challenging, or especially helpful to the community. I’ve never wanted to sit around defending some video game company’s source code from network intruders – I prefer to help nonprofits, private investigators, Private Individuals, government contractors, and other traditionally underserved populations. 

    And I’d rather match skills against the best in the field of state-sponsored hackers engaged in economic espionage than put some kid in prison for pranking the phone company. When a company tries to hire me, the first question I ask is: “Who is this going to help?”

    I know I’m well-known but i always try to avoid people thinking I’m proud or making Many individual think its only the big companies that can hire me, fine, here is my mail: “”””[email protected]”””” You Can Reach Out To Me for Your Desired HACKING Services Ranging From:
    ★Penetration Testing
    ★ Phishing
    ★ Phone Hack: Giving you access to the Target’s Call Log, messages, chats and all social media Apps .
    ★Retrieval Of Lost Files
    ★ Location Tracking.
    ★ Clearing Of Criminal Records.
    ★ Hacking Of Server, Database And website e.g Facebook, twitter, Instagram Snapchat etc
    ★ Hacking and sales Of Programmed credit cards , amazon , Walmart , PayPal , bank logs .
    ★ And Other Cyber Attacks And Hijacking.

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  • ICO FRAUD

    Avoid at all costs: @BitSyncio ICO is a scam
    grantferowich (28) in scam • 19 hours ago
    BitSync has 6,000 plus participants in their token generation event. Twitter user @ICOkiller has revealed that the “team members” leading BitSync are anything but. BitSync has a sophisticated website and apparently has approval to trade on several exchanges following the ICO. These scams are a clear cancer to the crypto community that must be eviscerated. Check it out yourself–http://www.bitsync.io/ourteam.html

    the actual people on the team, or at least where their headshots were stolen from: https://www.mckinsey.com/korea/overview
    http://www.unionvilletimes.com/?p=15510
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/achim-lenders-25104826/
    http://gcff-cn.chineseworldnet.com/?q=show_conference&conference_id=23113&program_id=23665&type=speakers_list&day=2&speaker_id=24923

    HUGE props to @ICOkiller for identifying this-all credit goes to him, definitely give killer a follow on Twitter. Please help spread the message to prevent more people getting ripped off–the ICO is still running until Dec. 21.

  • ICO Scam Signs

    ICOs have opened to the general public investments in blockchain ventures. In the third quarter of 2017 alone, ICOs raised more than $1.3 billion for crypto ventures — approximately five times more than funding raised through venture capital in the blockchain space.

    There were more than 200 ICOs in 2017, and conducting due diligence on all of them would be extremely time-consuming, even for a knowledgeable analyst, let alone an amateur investor. This is compounded by the fact that blockchain is still considered to be an early-stage technology, with new consensus mechanisms and use cases being developed every day.

    With exponential growth in public interest, esoteric terminology and a lax regulatory framework, it is no surprise that some ICOs have been used to fund scams and cheat investors of their money.

    While nothing can compete with quality due diligence, knowing which red flags to look for in order to steer clear of scams or bad ICOs can be helpful.

    Use case does not require blockchain

    Not every venture needs a blockchain, and not everything needs to be decentralized. This might seem obvious, but with all the hype around blockchain technology and its disruptive potential, it can be easy to latch on to an idea the moment its whitepaper mentions a large industry the project is purportedly tackling.

    Even projects that require cryptocurrencies as payment (e.g. Steemit, which rewards writers on its platforms with a native “digital points system,” Steem) could very well survive with existing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether.

    When evaluating an ICO, a good first question to ask is: “Do we need a blockchain or a native token for this project?” If the answer is no to both, chances are the ICO project is an example of solutionism — crypto for crypto’s sake — or a scam.

    Empty repositories for open-source projects

    If an ICO project is proposing open-source code, an empty or nonexistent GitHub is often a red flag.

    One of the key traits of many public blockchain projects is the fact that they are open-sourced. This means the code base is often uploaded to repositories like GitHub for all to examine. For those who have blockchain programming experience, looking through the published code can allow them to gauge a project’s validity.

    If something seems like a scam, it probably is.

    One of the most obvious red flags for a scam project is the lack of detail on how the technology works. For nontechnical investors, it can be helpful to simply check if a project has any existing files uploaded to public repositories or if a project has a functioning product.

    While Reddit is generally not an advisable source for investment advice, sub-threads dedicated to discussions of specific ICOs or crypto assets often offer a good entry point for the more technical evaluations.

    Mining structure disproportionately favors development team

    While not always an accurate litmus test for scams on their own, the supply schedule and mining structure of an ICO can be used to cross-reference other data points and validate the intention of the founders.

    In simple terms, a premine refers to when a portion of the tokens for a crypto project is made available to a small group prior to being made publicly available. At times, this can be a necessary vehicle to reward developers and early investors. However, if the percentage of total tokens supplied throughout the lifetime of the project reserved for a premine is high, there is reason for concern.

    For instance, Paycoin, whose founder was found guilty of operating a $9 million fraud scheme, had the majority of their tokens reserved for developers on the project. Favoring the development team could be an indication that the team’s intent is to maximize their personal financial gain from the appreciation of the token, rather than maintain the viability of the blockchain network over time.

    Anonymous team or team with weak experience

    Understanding who is on the team behind a blockchain project is perhaps the most important step in your due diligence. Even if the premise of the venture and the addressable market seem attractive, one of the biggest determinants of a venture’s success is the makeup of the team behind it.

    It is often a red flag if the team behind an ICO does not have any named full-time developers. Additional caution should be taken if none of the leadership team has any domain knowledge in the specific vertical.

    When looking at a team and verifying their experience, platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are useful. However, it’s important to note that they are not infallible, as profiles can be faked. If members of the team claim prior association with universities or companies, double-checking with reputable third-party sources (e.g. a university newspaper or the company website) can provide the facts.

    ICOs often list their advisors on their websites. You should also verify whether the advisors are legitimate.

    Insufficient information on website/whitepaper

    If something seems like a scam, it probably is. When you are unsure whether a project is a scam, it is better to err on the side of caution. While it is possible that the lack of well-designed websites and detailed information for a crypto project is because the project is still in its infancy, it can be hard to determine whether a project is underdeveloped or a scam.

    In many cases, they can be both. In those cases, interested investors can either wait for more information (such as in the case of Asia-based ICOs, where information is only translated into English later on in the project), or simply avoid ICOs they do not fully understand.

    Nothing can compete with quality due diligence.

    Another crucial source of information for all ICOs is the whitepaper — the document that outlines the mission, technical details, team and other crucial details behind the venture. While the amateur investor may not have the technical background to fully understand every aspect of a whitepaper, general understanding of blockchain concepts is a must when evaluating whitepapers.

    Some more legitimate projects (e.g. Ethereum) offer a high-level whitepaper outlining the key points of the venture, alongside a detailed technical document that explains the technology behind the project.

    No clear roadmap

    Typically, ICO projects list their funding and development goals on a clear timeline for investors to see. The lack of a clear roadmap could indicate that the developing team has no long-term plan for the project, and as such is likely to be motivated solely by short-term financial gain. Paired with a large premine reserved for the developing team, this could be a strong indicator that an ICO project is not to be trusted with your money.

    Often, ICO projects will have dedicated Slack or Telegram channels that the public can join. Through periodic updates distributed on these channels, potential investors can get a sense of how the project is developing.

    However, malicious scammers can easily create a timeline out of thin air or provide fake updates on chat apps. While the lack of a timeline is certainly a red flag, the existence of one is not a wholly sufficient condition to indicate the legitimacy of an ICO project.

  • Bitcoin Scam Report

    As Bitcoin hits the headlines for breaking through the $17,000 mark, scammers are getting in on the boom with new cons. Here’s how to stay safe.
    Scams involving Bitcoin are rising almost as fast as the value of the cryptocurrency itself. The value of a single unit of Bitcoin was just under £12,400 at time of writing and its stratospheric rise is creating headlines around the world.

    Following the news earlier today that Bitcoin has begun trading on a major exchange, it’s clear the controversial cryptocurrency isn’t about to disappear from the news anytime soon.

    Sadly, this publicity means it has also caught the eye of criminals and a growing number of scams are springing up around the cryptocurrency.

    The Australian police have issued an alert about the soaring number of scam reports they are receiving – 245 reports in October alone, with collective losses totalling A$92,000 – and it is believed there are increasing numbers of British victims too.

    Here are the most common scams to watch out for, especially if you’re interested in Bitcoin yourself.

    Phishing
    A phishing email is one that purports to be from an organisation or person you know and trust, and they can be very convincing.

    Often they will contain a link with a lot of encouragement to click on it – perhaps asking you to confirm some details, claim some Bitcoin, or buy some at a great price. However, that link may take you to an unsafe website in order to steal your data.

    16 common email scams and how to spot them

    The simple rule here is don’t click on the links in an email you aren’t sure about. If it is pretending to be from an organisation you deal with, your Bitcoin trading account perhaps, then contact the firm yourself, using details you already have rather than the ones included in the email.

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    Cold calls
    Earlier this year police shut down a fraudulent cryptocurrency business that was operating from the City of London. Employees of the firm were cold calling people and attempting to get them to invest in fake online money.

    Nine victims reported the firm to Action Fraud, losing an estimated £160,000 in total.

    “Victims were cold called by salespeople who allegedly persuaded them to invest in a cryptocurrency that does not exist and is therefore worthless,” said a police spokesperson at the time.

    There are numerous new cryptocurrencies springing up, hoping to replicate the success of Bitcoin. But be very cautious about cold calls. Key signs it’s a scam include pressure to act immediately and a deal that sounds too good to be true.

    “I urge anyone who is cold called and offered investment opportunities to simply put the phone down,” says Mark Forster, detective inspector at the City of London Police.

    “A legitimate company will never cold call you and put you in a position where you need to make an investment on the spot.” Fake sites
    If you are planning to trade a cryptocurrency, whether it is for the first time or you are logging into your trading account for the 400th time, make sure it is the real site.

    Criminals spend a lot of time building fake websites that look very like the real thing in the hope you’ll be fooled and will enter your account details into their site so they can then use your details to empty your real account.

    One victim lost over £1,000 when he tapped the name of his Bitcoin trading site into a search engine, clicked on the top result and made a trade. It turned out to be a fake site and within minutes his real account had been hacked and emptied.

    Before you enter any sensitive account details into a website make sure it is genuine and secure. The website address should start with “https://” the s indicates that it is secure. Also look for a padlock symbol either in the address bar or the bottom frame of your screen.Brilliant deals
    When there’s a lot of hype around an opportunity, as there is with Bitcoin just now, scammers can really capitalise on that enthusiasm. Beware calls where you’re offered an amazing deal, such as the promise of huge returns on a new cryptocurrency or an amazing price for Bitcoin.

    The chances are that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

    If you want to invest then take your time and do your research, don’t buy on the spur of the moment because you’re being pressured to accept a suspiciously good deal.

    Think twice and do your own research before you invest in anything.

  • ICO Scam Report

    SEC Order
    http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/2017/33-10445.pdf

    Washington D.C., Dec. 11, 2017 —

    A California-based company selling digital tokens to investors to raise capital for its blockchain-based food review service halted its initial coin offering (ICO) after being contacted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and agreed to an order in which the Commission found that its conduct constituted unregistered securities offers and sales.

    According to the SEC’s order, before any tokens were delivered to investors, Munchee Inc. refunded investor proceeds after the SEC intervened. Munchee was seeking $15 million in capital to improve an existing iPhone app centered on restaurant meal reviews and create an “ecosystem” in which Munchee and others would buy and sell goods and services using the tokens. The company communicated through its website, a white paper, and other means that it would use the proceeds to create the ecosystem, including eventually paying users in tokens for writing food reviews and selling both advertising to restaurants and “in-app” purchases to app users in exchange for tokens.

    According to the order, in the course of the offering, the company and other promoters emphasized that investors could expect that efforts by the company and others would lead to an increase in value of the tokens. The company also emphasized it would take steps to create and support a secondary market for the tokens. Because of these and other company activities, investors would have had a reasonable belief that their investment in tokens could generate a return on their investment. As the SEC has said in the DAO Report of Investigation, a token can be a security based on the long-standing facts and circumstances test that includes assessing whether investors’ profits are to be derived from the managerial and entrepreneurial efforts of others.

    “We will continue to scrutinize the market vigilantly for improper offerings that seek to sell securities to the general public without the required registration or exemption,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “In deciding not to impose a penalty, the Commission recognized that the company stopped the ICO quickly, immediately returned the proceeds before issuing tokens, and cooperated with the investigation.”

    “Our primary focus remains investor protection and making sure that investors are being offered investment opportunities with all the information and disclosures required under the federal securities laws,” said Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division.

    Munchee consented to the SEC’s cease-and-desist order without admitting or denying the findings.

    The SEC’s new Cyber Unit is focused on misconduct involving distributed ledger technology and initial coin offerings, the spread of false information through electronic and social media, brokerage account takeovers, hacking to obtain nonpublic information, and threats to trading platforms. The SEC also has a Distributed Ledger Technology Working Group that focuses on various emerging applications of distributed ledger technology in the financial industry.

    The SEC’s investigation was conducted by the Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit and Complex Financial Instruments Unit, including Jeff Leasure, Brent Mitchell and James Murtha. The case was supervised by Robert Cohen, Reid Muoio, and Valerie Szczepanik.

    The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issued an Investor Bulletin in July 2017 to make investors aware of the potential risks of participating in initial coin offerings.

    ###

    https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2017-227

  • ICO Report

    One of the economy growth indicators is a healthy investment environment, where the idea becomes the product and the investor is certain of safety. The infrastructure solution implemented by Descrow keeps pace with blockchain evolution and forestalls the result”, said Vladislav Martynov, an entrepreneur, investor and “Ethereum Foundation” supervisory board member.

    In times when hype around initial coin offering crowdfunding escalates, the consensual concern rockets. The ICO market is at its early stage of development and is, indeed, a high risk investment. But despite the big scandals with huge losses of investor funds, initial coin offerings continue to raise substantial funds. A growing number of funds and private investors come to conclusion that the return on ICO investments is incredible in comparison with traditional tools of investments, and the game is definitely worth a candle. Needless to say, scammers didn’t wait too long to join the market.

    In our “hit list” we are bringing light to five most recent and vibrant ICO fraud cases, presenting the stories in the сhronological order. As you will notice, not every project was intended to be a scam, but in all cases investors funds, and consequently, nerves suffered quite a loss.

  • How to avoid an ICO Scam?

    Well, every time I see somebody start to pitch ICO I feel strange. From the one hand it’s a good idea to raise money and find something new, interesting and powerful. As an adviser I know hundreds of worthy projects to invest. But at the same time there are a lot of ways to fool investors and crypto enthusiasts. You know these guys. For ICO market it is very important to increase trust that’s why the main problem is to know which scam projects to avoid. These are the main criteria:

    First of all is project’s team. Is not a secret that success depends on people. I mean not the advisers and even not the founders, namely it is about executive management team. CEO, CTO, CMO and others – these are the people that the strategic course of the project and tactic would depend on. They must be deeply experienced in their field. Note they should have an active profile on facebook and linkedin. At the same time it is not about previous projects that were successful: in my opinion American venture funds are more likely to invest in projects whose leaders have failed than those that were successful.
    A team of developers, marketing and PR managers, analysts etc. It is important for every person to be real. Check if there are videos or photos from the office or a photo of the team.
    Advisors are an important element as well. They should not be exposed in the scam-ICO, must have a good reputation, fame and be ready to defend the interests of the project. If the advisers are on the site for show, this is definitely a scam.
    A business-conception. Launching a drone on Mars, where the tokens are equated with the Martian sand, will be mined there, is a scam. The idea must be realizable and understandable. It is desirable that the project works, at least as MVP. Projects at the idea stage are more risky to be a scam, as the risk that a product will not be created is very high.
    Code. It is the development of value, or has nothing to do with the blockchain. Projects launching ICO with a product or ideas that are not related to IT and the distributed ledger cause an ambiguous attitude towards themselves. Nevertheless, this does not deprive them of the right to raise funds in this way. However, it is desirable that the project really was tied structurally on the detachment and carried value to the community. Typically, the story is a development, or a part is laid out on github.
    And what about token. What does it really give to the investors? Were legal aspects settled? Will this token be listed on crypto-exchange? How to buy it? Is fiat accepted for tokens? One of scam signals can be a large discount on tokens at an early stage. Such an economic model of ICO will resemble a pyramid.
    Legal. Pay attention to the documents. The Terms & Conditions of the Seal are obligatory and the privacy policy of the users. It is necessary to determine the jurisdiction which will be used for the tokens issue, if any, is made, and to ask an experienced lawyer whether such a scheme violates the laws of this country. If there is no legal information on the website, there is a risk of a scam.
    An escrow is also important. The escrow as a way to ensure the execution of obligations before the tokenholders can have a good reason why this project is not a scam. An escrow can be a technical solution, but it’s better that real people would perform this function, enjoying the trust in the community.
    Then verify the smart contract and check if it is the way it was announced. You can see this information in the blockchain. If the result is artificially understated, the project is likely to be a scam.
    I would be happy if you share your ideas how to identify scam.

  • How to create a credible ICO Scam?

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    Go to the profile of Andy Chan
    Andy Chan
    I write about cryptocurrency and the best ways to improve yourself. Also an avid metalhead.
    Dec 13
    How to scam people with your ICO
    A guide to spotting scam ICOs

    Long live the doge. (source)
    Over three and a half billion dollars.

    That’s the total amount of money raised this year from all the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)— a stark 38x increase just from last year’s $98m. In fact, the number of ICOs also increased too: a whopping 5x increase from 46 ICOs in 2016 to 234 ICOs this year.

    The staggering increase in both statistics indicate that the market for ICO is hot. With so many choices of ICOs, parting with your hard-earned BTC/ETH (or earning more of those) has never been easier — in fact, investors actually parted with their money in Nov 2017 after an ICO exited with their investments.a useless ICO that will only serve to bolster your own wallet?(I have applaud the ingenuity on the latter).

    Now that we’re done conceptualising, let’s get down to the technicalities.

    Create your useless whitepaper
    A whitepaper serves to hook the investor in; you explain your token and why you exist and let the investors draw their own conclusions.

    However, you have no product and the reason you exist is pretty much just to scam them — with these in mind, your whitepaper can very much be just an auto-generated one. l, decentralised, blockchain, alternative and applications are all cool-sounding words when strung together in one paragraph of nonsense. How do you that?

    Griden is an innovative, decentralised proof-of-grid system utilising blockchain technology to implement peerless, uninterrupted transaction protocols.
    See how that didn’t explain anything? So what is Griden? What is this Proof-of-Grid system?

    You want your investors to not understand your whitepaper at all. They feel like they get it, but they don’t . Keep it as vague as possible but yet make it look complicated too!

    Don’t put out a Roadmap
    A roadmap is essential for any ICO. It tells the investor the stage of development you’re in and what is going to happen in the future. Hitting milestones on the roadmap helps ensure trust in progression.

    tience is the key. You’re going to be rewarding that mindset with a great life lesson: do your own research.

    Claim that you can rule the world
    As part of your whitepaper, you’ll be listing down your goals and objectives — not yours, but the ICO’s. In this case, we want to make sure that your investors are duped into believing the impossible.

    Manipulate time and space! You’re the creator of your scam, so do whatever you want. Go wild. If something can only be developed in 6 months, claim that you can do it in 2 . If something requires a five-man team to develop, claim that you and your “expert” are practically a five-man team together.

    At this point, you must ensure that your investors will be pacified when it comes to questioning these goals. If they do not believe in your abilities, exaggerate your credentials and skills! Or better yet, blatantly state that it will happen but provide no explanation for it.

    Talk about non-existent partnerships
    Investors love big-name partners. Usually, the value of a cryptocurrency can fluctuate before big events and expos. A partnership with a huge brand can cause a large spike in value as well — in this case, we’re talking about present partnerships.

    Instead of talking about future partnerships, why not claim that you’re partnered with them to get your investors to chip their money first?

    In May 2017, Monaco claimed that they’re going to release VISA® Inc.-branded cards. Unfortunately, in Trump’s words: that’s fake news. Later that month, Monaco put out a press release on an instant cashback scheme for card holders —VISA still didn’t agree to anything (in fact, Monaco was working with another company on the cards).

    Yet, the press released garnered a whopping $3m in 3 days. The value of the MCO increased by approximately 11x within two months.

    Want to be a millionaire? Do the same!

    Claim that you existed for years
    “We’ve been developing on the blockchain for three years by a team that’s full of experience in blockchain technology.”

    That sounds neat: you’re experienced and you’ve been around long enough to know your shit. That’ll definitely attract your investors…unless they use a wayback machine to verify if your experience is true — thought I’m confident that won’t happen!

    Keep your code repositories empty
    So, you told everyone that you’re an open-source project: the thing is, you’re a hack and your code is most likely another ICO’s source code with a few lines changed in less sexy parts of the code. How can you upload your code when tech-savvy investors can assess the viability of your project through your code?

    Don’t worry! Tell everyone that your source code is going to be kept secret because it’s still in development, requires more work, is being worked upon, yada yada… That’ll definitely not give your investors a red flag.

    I feel that this deserves a section by itself for a deeper dissection. I’ll dive into two main important components of an ICO team.

    Falsify — I mean, create your team information
    It’s very important that your ICO is backed up by a team of experts and experienced members ; you can’t expect a sushi chef to give you world-class steak, even though ‘culinary’ is the umbrella concept here.You want to ensure that your investors feel that they can trust you because of the who. The thing is, no matter how good the intention and objective is, without a great team to execute it, the ICO will be for naught — unless you’re a scammer of course, which you are!

    Essentially, scam ICOs have teams that are usually:

    Inexperienced — or the converse; and/or
    Non-existent
    Having an inexperienced team
    No one is perfect at what they do. Even they greatest inventors of all time had some flaws in their works—but from the investor’s perspectives, we want to make sure we’re getting the damn best team there is.

    Is your team looking like a dilapidated shack? No worries! Tell everyone in your communication channels (which I presume you already have by now) that you’re “hiring” someone better in the near future. You can also mention that “the hiring process is ongoing” or you’re “reinforcing the team with more developers and core members”.

    Oh, they’re asking for the details on your potential hire? Tell them that it’s anonymous or it’s part of your backend team that’s not going to be published on your website. That will rile them up for sure.

    The Team that never Existed
    Got a developer on your team that only has a Bachelor’s degree? Take it up a notch, claim that he graduated with a PhD in Computer Science!

    Oh, so you don’t actually have a developer? Become God for a moment and start creating new people! Find a generic photo, slap on a few accolades and credentials, create entirely new LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and you’re good to go — don’t worry, your investors won’t verify their identities with the institutions and companies they were in before…right?

    If you’re not that creative, you can “borrow” other people’s profile and use their existence as leverage. The possibilities are endless: if you need a team, go create one — just make sure no one finds out.

    I’m dedicating a whole section on escrows as well. I’ll dive into two topics: compromising and disproportion.

    Compromise the Escrow
    Imagine you’re going to buy an apple from Adam. Adam’s apple costs 1 BTC. When you escrow the 1 BTC, Adam cannot get the 1 BTC unless you receive the Adam’s apple. If there is no apple, then there is no payment. That is the escrow.

    Ideally, your escrow is going be multi-sig wallet. You and two other trusted community members hold the keys; only when at least two key-holders agree to using their keys will the funds be tapped on — and in this case, you’re going to be two key-holders at once.

    Imagine 500 ETH held by a third-party, untouchable but yet visible. Imagine you told everyone that you and two other non-team members hold the key. Also, imagine that one of the non-team member is you. Now that you hold two keys, you can David Copperfield their investments away!

    Disproportionate payouts of the escrow
    Let’s imagine that the escrow is more detailed. To get the 1 BTC, Adam has to give you a red apple and a green apple. When only one apple is given, half of the BTC will be released. Adam has to release both apples before receiving the 1 BTC — in your case, you’ll have to meet your ‘milestones’ to receive the funds from the escrow.

    What if the escrow released a huge amount of investments at the early stage?

    So, your ICO is over. You got a total of 1000 ETH, but you can’t access them immediately. What your investors don’t know is that one of the conditions of the escrow is to release 50% of the funds the moment the ICO is over.

    You just got 500 ETH by doing nothing! Congratulations. You are on your way to being a crypto-millionaire.

    Your investors love money. You love money. Let’s use that desire for money to attract your investors in a few different ways!

    Guaranteed returns actually exist!
    Free money exists. Tell your investors that if they give you their money, you can give them daily payouts of 1%! Oh wait, does that mean they’re going to see a 365% return by the end of the year? And you’re saying it’s not realistic? y 350 tokens.”

    That’s a great deal for the early adopter, but not so much for the late adopter. The pioneer investors can dump their bonus tokens for a quick return — along with you if you’re feeling like it too.

    If you’re afraid that the bonus percentage is too big, don’t worry! Anything over 20% is definitely not a red flag. Trust my word for it! If anything you want to tell your investors that they’re missing out on a great deal before you dump your tokens on them!

    Get more investors and you get more tokens!
    “Look, if you bring in one more investor, you can get 2% of his purchase as commission. If he brings in one more investor, you can get 1% of that guy’s purchase as commission. This can go on forever.”

    The Pyramids of Giza are part of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The pyramid in real life is an illustration describing an investor’s crazy returns. Tell your investor that there’s this referral programme which allow him to earn more tokens just by telling people to sign up and buy tokens — oh wait, this system is not sustainable? Well who cares! You’re going abscond their funds in a bit anyways.

    By now, I hope you realise that this isn’t actually telling you how to scam other people; as investors, this serves as a guide to help you identify good coins and shit coins — some of them being outright scams.

    In a nutshell, you should:

    Analyse their whitepaper for excessive fluff/insufficient explanations on technicalities;
    Check if they have regular updates and goals — and if they do, verify if they do meet their milestones;
    Reality check their goals to see if it’s feasible/realistic in the current market — not just the cryptocurrency’s, but the world at large;
    Verify if they actually partners with the people they claim to be partners with;
    Verify their “age” — that is, if their ICO really did exist as long as they have claimed they did;
    Check if their project is viable through source code or if you’re nontechnical, check if they have anything at all in their code repositories;
    Verify if their team actually exist — and if they do, whether their credentials are legitimate and/or their experience in the market is relevant and sufficient;
    Check if their escrow is fair;
    Be realistic about returns: recognise a Ponzi scheme when you see one
    ICOs are generally less regulated than other securities. However, this has been changing over the past few months, with countries such as Singapore, Canada and Japan considering regulating them if they can be categorised as securities. Furthermore, China and South Korea have already banned ICOs altogether.

    Regulation is a contentious issue for another day, but ICOs will remain as calculated gambles. Whatever that is you do, remember this quote and live by it:

    If it feels like a scam, it probably is.
    The cryptocurrency market isn’t as scary it seems to be: do your own research, ask around and only invest what you can lose.

    Disclaimer: I’m not providing investment advice nor am I providing criticism for any of the examples I have stated in the post above.

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