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Author Topic: How to spot an ICO SCAM  (Read 8869 times)
-Greed-
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November 12, 2016, 08:24:27 AM
Last edit: November 12, 2016, 08:34:53 AM by -Greed-
 #1

Hi guys, I want to share with you my simple methodology (beta) of spotting ICO scams.

The methodology

There are criteria with various risk points. Summarize all the points of the criteria that the ICO meets to get total score. Total score represents a risk grade on which you can lean to take a risk or not.

Scam points and criteria:
1 point: minor suspicions (for each)
3 points: anon devs; no code snippets, videos, or beta; rushing
5 points: unrealistic goals; fuzzy whitepaper; self-mod topic
10 points: bought account; no escrow

Risk and total score:
low (0-5)
medium (6-10)
high (11-15)
very high (16-20)
extremely high (21 and more)

Example

Let's imagine there's an ongoing ICO of Supercoinxxx in which you want to invest some money.

The topic is self-mod (5 points) with devs that have unrealistic goals (5 points) like creating a decentralized stock market in 2-3 month and a fuzzy whitepaper (5 points) with no technical details. Also you found two minor suspicions (2 points) based on your experience. Which gives 17 points in total. Based on that score you conclude that risk is very high and skipping this ICO.



Updated: added "no escrow" criteria.

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November 12, 2016, 09:35:55 AM
 #2

There are several issues with this way of assessing an ICO.

Firstly, the idea of 'self-mod topic' scoring on your list 5 points doesn't make any sense. As you are all aware, this forum is full of idiots, trolls and otherwise people with nothing sensible to say just clogging up the threads looking to increase their post count. So, some level of editorial control should not be a measure of anything. You should rather look at the nature of the posts getting deleted. If the mod deletes proper questions and critical posts that have some substance then you might draw your own conclusions. If the posts being deleted are just mindless drivel, then all the better for the thread.

Have a look at the GitHub and the code and see if it's just a basic clone or something a bit more planned and thought out.

Also, there are clear issues with posting your true identity online. It could be for tax reasons and for privacy so this is not a measure of an dodgy ICO. Do you research in what is being offered, it makes no difference if the dev is called Yolobeast of John Smith.
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November 12, 2016, 12:17:24 PM
 #3

There are several issues with this way of assessing an ICO.

Firstly, the idea of 'self-mod topic' scoring on your list 5 points doesn't make any sense. As you are all aware, this forum is full of idiots, trolls and otherwise people with nothing sensible to say just clogging up the threads looking to increase their post count. So, some level of editorial control should not be a measure of anything. You should rather look at the nature of the posts getting deleted. If the mod deletes proper questions and critical posts that have some substance then you might draw your own conclusions. If the posts being deleted are just mindless drivel, then all the better for the thread.

Have a look at the GitHub and the code and see if it's just a basic clone or something a bit more planned and thought out.
Firstly, it absolutely does for ICO topics but ann topics. According to my experience most of scams were self-mod. Secondly, it is supposed to be used for the first glance when you either want to get a quick review or have no time for a deep research (like finding nature of removed posts).

Also, there are clear issues with posting your true identity online. It could be for tax reasons and for privacy so this is not a measure of an dodgy ICO. Do you research in what is being offered, it makes no difference if the dev is called Yolobeast of John Smith.
Well, this is disputed I guess. Legit projects tend to have a team with real members that also had experience in other start-ups. Unlike them scams can't have a team which members have linkedin, github, and other profiles.

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November 12, 2016, 12:27:36 PM
 #4

Hi guys, I want to share with you my simple methodology (beta) of spotting ICO scams.

The methodology

There are criteria with various risk points. Summarize all the points of the criteria that the ICO meets to get total score. Total score represents a risk grade on which you can lean to take a risk or not.

Scam points and criteria:
1 point: minor suspicions (for each)
3 points: anon devs; no code snippets, videos, or beta; rushing
5 points: unrealistic goals; fuzzy whitepaper; self-mod topic
10 points: bought account; no escrow

Risk and total score:
low (0-5)
medium (6-10)
high (11-15)
very high (16-20)
extremely high (21 and more)

Example

Let's imagine there's an ongoing ICO of Supercoinxxx in which you want to invest some money.

The topic is self-mod (5 points) with devs that have unrealistic goals (5 points) like creating a decentralized stock market in 2-3 month and a fuzzy whitepaper (5 points) with no technical details. Also you found two minor suspicions (2 points) based on your experience. Which gives 17 points in total. Based on that score you conclude that risk is very high and skipping this ICO.



Updated: added "no escrow" criteria.


Even then if a coin goes for escrow they can scam and you can see latest in ICONOMI ICO it went highest and after that now the Developers are enjoying the ICO money giving all shit ideas and peoples are still believing them.
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November 12, 2016, 01:17:59 PM
 #5

Even then if a coin goes for escrow they can scam and you can see latest in ICONOMI ICO it went highest and after that now the Developers are enjoying the ICO money giving all shit ideas and peoples are still believing them.
Of course it's more complicated. Like escrow releasing 100% funds towards devs on token distribution is bad escrow. Good release conditions is when parts of funds get released on development progress: 20% on tokens distribution, 50% on beta release, etc.

Iconomi is not a scam in anyway. You will see that soon.

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November 12, 2016, 05:06:33 PM
 #6

This threads is very useful for the people who want to invest and don't know which ICO to choose. for the guy who said ICONOMI is a scam, ICONOMI is a great project and will never be a scam, you can't say that just because the price is low, and the investment fund still in the wallets, you can check that.



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November 12, 2016, 05:36:02 PM
 #7

Self moderating threads is a double edged sword indeed. You may think it's a good idea to keep trolls away, but other people might thing what you are doing is shutting down the opposition which may be calling you out on your ICO bullshit. It is very difficult to maintain a balance... how do you control the trolls without a self moderated thread, and how do you keep people happy if the thread is self moderated? (because they may think it's on purpose to shut down legitimate critics)


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November 12, 2016, 08:53:36 PM
 #8

One distribution method repeated often in ICO scams is for the dev to do a signature campaign with scam ICO coins as promised payment. That gets him free publicity and the rest of the ICO coins are sold in two batches, one with escrow, and the other without escrow. What the dev wants is bitcoins from those who buy without escrow. At the end of the ICO he disappears with those bitcoins, the signature campaigners don't get paid, and the buyers who used escrow get their bitcoins back but lose the escrow fee they had to pay.

I rate the half with escrow, half without escrow model as equally likely to be as scam as the no escrow model.


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November 13, 2016, 01:09:08 AM
 #9

There are several issues with this way of assessing an ICO.

Firstly, the idea of 'self-mod topic' scoring on your list 5 points doesn't make any sense. As you are all aware, this forum is full of idiots, trolls and otherwise people with nothing sensible to say just clogging up the threads looking to increase their post count. So, some level of editorial control should not be a measure of anything. You should rather look at the nature of the posts getting deleted. If the mod deletes proper questions and critical posts that have some substance then you might draw your own conclusions. If the posts being deleted are just mindless drivel, then all the better for the thread.

Have a look at the GitHub and the code and see if it's just a basic clone or something a bit more planned and thought out.
Firstly, it absolutely does for ICO topics but ann topics. According to my experience most of scams were self-mod. Secondly, it is supposed to be used for the first glance when you either want to get a quick review or have no time for a deep research (like finding nature of removed posts).

Also, there are clear issues with posting your true identity online. It could be for tax reasons and for privacy so this is not a measure of an dodgy ICO. Do you research in what is being offered, it makes no difference if the dev is called Yolobeast of John Smith.
Well, this is disputed I guess. Legit projects tend to have a team with real members that also had experience in other start-ups. Unlike them scams can't have a team which members have linkedin, github, and other profiles.

I think you got it more accurately on the last point. Real people, they have a recognized network eg people or relationships, visibility in forums/social networks where you can see thier worldview/thought process, and it can be peer reviewed. This essentially falls under "team" in the sense that although we all love anonymity/pseudonymity, when it comes down to investing money. it human to know who you're dealing with and who is leading the ship and if you find them credible. some things will never change.
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November 13, 2016, 01:36:53 AM
 #10

I think escrow would do the trick don't you think? after all what good is escrow for if can't prevent scam or money loss?
Also the seriousness of dev team, yes team and not just one person.

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November 13, 2016, 02:09:25 AM
 #11

These are good guide,people are now learning,they want roadmap,projects and return of their investment ,you can easily spot a pump and dump coin because it's obvious by the way they hurry setting up their ico with nothing to show.



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November 13, 2016, 03:04:07 AM
 #12

Hi guys, I want to share with you my simple methodology (beta) of spotting ICO scams.

The methodology

There are criteria with various risk points. Summarize all the points of the criteria that the ICO meets to get total score. Total score represents a risk grade on which you can lean to take a risk or not.

Scam points and criteria:
1 point: minor suspicions (for each)
3 points: anon devs; no code snippets, videos, or beta; rushing
5 points: unrealistic goals; fuzzy whitepaper; self-mod topic
10 points: bought account; no escrow

Risk and total score:
low (0-5)
medium (6-10)
high (11-15)
very high (16-20)
extremely high (21 and more)

Example

Let's imagine there's an ongoing ICO of Supercoinxxx in which you want to invest some money.

The topic is self-mod (5 points) with devs that have unrealistic goals (5 points) like creating a decentralized stock market in 2-3 month and a fuzzy whitepaper (5 points) with no technical details. Also you found two minor suspicions (2 points) based on your experience. Which gives 17 points in total. Based on that score you conclude that risk is very high and skipping this ICO.



Updated: added "no escrow" criteria.

Greed i have the two example for you and hoping if you can reviewing those ico project because in my mind it's familiar with bought account or farmed account in some threads on meta sections.

I guess there are two are running by bought account in my mind.

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coin-investor
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November 13, 2016, 03:45:04 AM
 #13

One of the reson is some traders love pump and dump,because there's money to be made here,they work like an hyip,the earlier you get in the more profit,you're going to make,so some traders hop from one ICO to another.

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RoommateAgreement
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November 13, 2016, 03:52:25 AM
 #14

it is simple don't be greedy and stop investing in ICO because they are all scams. and the fact that one or two of them goes higher than it is supposed to go and makes you profit doesn't make that one or two coins not-scam but it was a lucky break.

Buying the dip...
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November 13, 2016, 05:35:28 AM
 #15

Hi guys, I want to share with you my simple methodology (beta) of spotting ICO scams.

The methodology

There are criteria with various risk points. Summarize all the points of the criteria that the ICO meets to get total score. Total score represents a risk grade on which you can lean to take a risk or not.

Scam points and criteria:
1 point: minor suspicions (for each)
3 points: anon devs; no code snippets, videos, or beta; rushing
5 points: unrealistic goals; fuzzy whitepaper; self-mod topic
10 points: bought account; no escrow

Risk and total score:
low (0-5)
medium (6-10)
high (11-15)
very high (16-20)
extremely high (21 and more)

Example

Let's imagine there's an ongoing ICO of Supercoinxxx in which you want to invest some money.

The topic is self-mod (5 points) with devs that have unrealistic goals (5 points) like creating a decentralized stock market in 2-3 month and a fuzzy whitepaper (5 points) with no technical details. Also you found two minor suspicions (2 points) based on your experience. Which gives 17 points in total. Based on that score you conclude that risk is very high and skipping this ICO.



Updated: added "no escrow" criteria.



Good methodology, at least it's a good trial dealing with ICO scam issues and it encourages people thinking carefully before investing in any ICO.
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November 13, 2016, 05:37:59 AM
 #16

One of the reson is some traders love pump and dump,because there's money to be made here,they work like an hyip,the earlier you get in the more profit,you're going to make,so some traders hop from one ICO to another.


Its true some traders love the pump and dump scheme. When ICO has
been released some traders does the pump dump scheme because
thats the way they earn huge profit. And, thanks for the information
Ive read here on how to spot an ICO Scam. Because when I see an
ICO project I always loves to invest always but since Ive know how
to spot an Ico here gives me to rethink before investing.


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Spoetnik
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November 13, 2016, 10:06:08 AM
 #17

Simple.. it's an ICO.

They are by design scammy.. nuff said.

All your doing here OP is trying to make *some* seem better than others.
I wonder why ?  Roll Eyes

FUD first & ask questions later™
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November 13, 2016, 11:54:06 AM
 #18

I think 2 broad types of ICO scams

1. the deliberate stealth ICO - usually the best to be in on. There is some tech behind them and can be made to look interesting and could have some actual value to the crypto community. The ICO will be under the radar to a degree and the devs and pals will hoard most of the coins. The promoting phase comes later whilst they suffocate supply whilst pumping/driving demand. You will see for some reason these coins sell for X sats value at ICO and then are suddenly being sold off for X x 10, 20, 100 sats even before reaching an exchange. Whether this is actually a scam is a matter of definition they are not promising anything they will not provide but they are not ensuring a fair balance level of entry to all persons.

2. the blatant scam ICO - low or no new/useful tech - promote lots and  raise as much as possible. Then dump the BTC and provide nothing of note.


All ICO's on here are open to huge manipulation since you can not see who is buying what.


POW with a fair release protocol will always be a fairer way of initially distributing the coins. With anti instamine measures in place it will always be fairer than an ICO conducted on this board as they are conducted right now.

If they need to raise funds for development upfront and widely advertised ICO . Then a POW phase of at the minimum of 50-75% for the rest of the coin distribution. The ICO funds should be held in multi sig wallets and only released to them as milestones are hit.

I understand the argument that POW will centralise eventually to those with the cheapest electricity. That to me is nothing compared to the manipulation that can happen behind the scenes with ICO's conducted here.


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November 14, 2016, 12:06:14 PM
 #19

Greed i have the two example for you and hoping if you can reviewing those ico project because in my mind it's familiar with bought account or farmed account in some threads on meta sections.

I guess there are two are running by bought account in my mind.
PM me or post here I will review them.

Simple.. it's an ICO.

They are by design scammy.. nuff said.

All your doing here OP is trying to make *some* seem better than others.
I wonder why ?  Roll Eyes
What do you mean? I had some experience with scams... I know how it works and I know scammers well. I don't want people to get burned because it hurts the scene so I learn how to prevent/avoid investing in scams.

I think 2 broad types of ICO scams

1. the deliberate stealth ICO - usually the best to be in on. There is some tech behind them and can be made to look interesting and could have some actual value to the crypto community. The ICO will be under the radar to a degree and the devs and pals will hoard most of the coins. The promoting phase comes later whilst they suffocate supply whilst pumping/driving demand. You will see for some reason these coins sell for X sats value at ICO and then are suddenly being sold off for X x 10, 20, 100 sats even before reaching an exchange. Whether this is actually a scam is a matter of definition they are not promising anything they will not provide but they are not ensuring a fair balance level of entry to all persons.

2. the blatant scam ICO - low or no new/useful tech - promote lots and  raise as much as possible. Then dump the BTC and provide nothing of note.


All ICO's on here are open to huge manipulation since you can not see who is buying what.


POW with a fair release protocol will always be a fairer way of initially distributing the coins. With anti instamine measures in place it will always be fairer than an ICO conducted on this board as they are conducted right now.

If they need to raise funds for development upfront and widely advertised ICO . Then a POW phase of at the minimum of 50-75% for the rest of the coin distribution. The ICO funds should be held in multi sig wallets and only released to them as milestones are hit.

I understand the argument that POW will centralise eventually to those with the cheapest electricity. That to me is nothing compared to the manipulation that can happen behind the scenes with ICO's conducted here.


Agreed on most points. Especially about manipulations in ICOs (self-buying) and releasing funds by reaching milestones.

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November 14, 2016, 12:15:11 PM
 #20

Nice set of points there and everyone can take that as a reference before dealing in an ICO.

Anonymous developers, self moderated threads and no escrow are enough for me as a reference not to give a shot for the upcoming ICO's. I don't get easily at the future projects and developments without any further strong foundation of it.

Simple.. it's an ICO.

They are by design scammy.. nuff said.

All your doing here OP is trying to make *some* seem better than others.
I wonder why ?  Roll Eyes

I get the picture but still it's better if we have some pre insights about the upcoming ICO. Smiley
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