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Author Topic: 3 kinds of ICOs — Protect yourself  (Read 13566 times)
hundi.online
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April 26, 2018, 04:36:01 PM
 #421

Nice thread, good knowledge shared. If you are looking to invest in ICOs then must watch the YouTube video shared in thread.
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April 29, 2018, 09:36:13 AM
 #422

The main thing is not to hurry to invest in ICO, if they have a beautiful site and many promises. Think about whether they can really realize all their promises.
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May 01, 2018, 02:51:58 AM
 #423

From Russian ICO I look closely at SONM and WAVES. Sonm is already in my portfolio. Sonm released an updated roadmap yesterday, good project.
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May 01, 2018, 02:58:37 AM
 #424

This is a very good job! Keep it up! This post should not only end up here in bitcointalk. It would help a lot more people if this will also be posted outside this forum. I know this forum houses the biggest cryptocurrency community in the world but it is not enough that only the members of this forum will read about this. Please post the same in social media sites, blogging sites, and others. Crypto fans need to educate themselves with the reality.

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May 01, 2018, 03:01:43 AM
 #425

Some of the points raised in Op's article are very true and useful.  I will personally make this article my guidance on ICO investment.  The country where ICO is originating from is very important as well.

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May 01, 2018, 03:08:57 AM
 #426

We clearly see what a small number of really worthy and promising projects.  And these projects do not even always advertise.  Since they already have a database of clients and investors who are ready to invest in such projects large amounts on closed sales.

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May 02, 2018, 10:43:51 AM
 #427

This is a very important thread, I got to learn new things I was not aware of before hand. It good of the op for bring this to the awareness of others. This is a real ico101, that need to being taken by investors
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May 02, 2018, 10:58:19 AM
 #428

There are 3 kinds of ICOs:

1)  SCAMS

There have always been a lot of scammers, hackers and thieves in the crypto space since day one. Think of Mount Gox. According to Business Insider:

Quote
“…one out of every 16-17 Bitcoins belongs to someone who stole it”

If you don’t think that these thieves are trying to steal money through ICOs or from ICOs, you are kidding yourself. You just need to see the Bitcointalk forum dedicated to scams, or to participate in a Slack channel and you will see the never-ending phishing e-mails trying to lure you to their sites, in order to empty your wallet.

In addition to thieves and scammers, there are those who lie or exaggerate. Many users on Bitcointalk are pump and dumpers.

2)  CRAP

Everyone is desperate to host an ICO to make money. Therefore, they are throwing anything and everything onto the blockchain, including the kitchen sink. They may not be intentionally trying to scam, but they think that they have a good enough idea for an ICO. But these will fail because the blockchain will not solve anything for them. Examples include ICOs that want to put 3D data (which would equate to hundreds of Terabytes of data) or 153 exabytes of medical data on a blockchain. This shows that they are clueless about the blockchain and have never run Bitcoin’s full node. Bitcoin’s blockchain is 120 GB and Ethereum’s blockhain is 200 GB and they are both having scaling problems.

Even though crypto veterans and fans would like it to be, the blockchain is NOT the panacea to every problem in the world.

ICOs are also throwing any kind of business problem that they can make up, into the ICO. If they cannot make up the business problem, they will exaggerate about it. They will fail because the business problem doesn’t really exist, isn’t significant enough, cannot be solved by a blockchain or they do not really have the solution, though they try to make it sound like they do with lots of technical jargon.

Swarm Fund cites this business problem:

Quote
“You need large amounts of money to buy real estate and your money is tied down for an indefinite amount of time.”

This is a lie and not a business problem. You can buy one share of a REIT, and there are thousands of REITs to choose from, and you can sell it one minute later. If they start off their pitch with a lie, what else are they lying about?

Energi cites this business problem:

Quote
“A small number of large energy companies supply millions of customers who are price takers.”

Therefore, the solution is to create more energy suppliers, especially nuclear power plants, which is the cheapest source of electricity. But the project does not propose this. They propose to enable consumers to sell their solar self-generated electricity directly to other consumers.

To do this, consumers should have BOTH solar panels and batteries. This is a TINY market. Though solar panels are growing, it is still a tiny percent of the market and solar generated electricity is still much more expensive than nuclear generated.

Consumers with solar panels do not have that much surplus electricity to sell anyways. They use most of what they generate. Tesla and Enphase hyped up their batteries for solar panel owners to store their surplus electricity. These batteries are NOT selling. Enphase spent over $100 million to develop their battery and partly because of the lack of battery sales, their stock has plummeted approximately 85%.

Of course, the project’s pitch looks impressive at first glance.

3)  LEGITIMATE

There are only a few applications that make a lot of sense for the blockchain: transfer of value (currency), store of value, remittances (disrupt Western Union and bank wire transfers), smart contracts, gaming and gambling. These applications will disrupt their respective industries, because the blockchain will provide a lot of cost-savings or time-savings to the users. There might be other applications that make sense that I missed, but applications proposed by many ICOs do not make sense. Jesus Coin is an extreme example, but there are applications that fall across the spectrum from Jesus Coin to Bitcoin.



YOU CAN REDUCE THE RISK AND THE NUMBER OF ICOS TO REVIEW, BY USING 3 FILTERS

1)  The project’s idea should make sense, but do not base your investment decision purely on the idea. Watch:

“Ideas are like assholes - everyone has one, no one cares”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhJgrEackis

Entrepreneurs typically try to hide their ideas because they think they are the only ones that came up with the ideas. Venture Capitalists tell them to scream their ideas to the public and they’ll see that nobody will steal them. Ideas are a dime a dozen. There are probably 10 other people with the same idea that you have or that the ICO has. The most important factor to success is the ability to execute. This is why Venture Capitalists refuse to sign non-disclosure agreements and rarely invest in startups which haven’t built a prototype or product.

HAS THE ICO TEAM BUILT ANYTHING THAT WE CAN USE TODAY?

If not, take a pass. This is the best evidence that the team can execute. It takes way more skill, time, work and money to build an app than to create a one-page website and video. It shows:

  • The team has proven that they can develop.
  • It is less likely that the team will invest so much and not follow through.

Everything else is useless. Don’t be fooled by big teams, fancy pretentious titles, references, roadmap, video, fancy animations, escrow, blogs, Slack, Telegram, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and white paper.

One project stacked their team with a dozen people and then lied about them. One member had the title of “Blockchain Expert”, but he worked in Inside Sales until 1.5 months prior. One member had the title “Blockchain Developer”, but he never developed a blockchain before.

Here is an example of a project team using fake photos and fake names: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1949528.msg19485217#msg19485217

Don't rely on Github unless you can verify that they didn't copy the code from someone else and you can run it.

Several high profile projects, with big teams, nice videos, lots of social media activity and hype, raised millions of dollars and still have not produced an app. This number will grow and become more evident in the coming years.

Gnosis raised $12.5 million and their website says:

Quote
“The Hunch Game is nearly ready and can be launched in the first half of 2017 as an example Gnosis app.”

No app yet.

Qtum raised $15.6 million. I don't see anything produced on Qtum's website.

After raising $50 million, Cosmos's website is still pitching its white paper. Come on. What have they produced with that $50 million?

Augur had Vitalik Buterin on their team. After Satoshi Nakamoto, Vitalik is the most desirable person in the universe to have on an ICO team. After raising multiple millions and after two and a half years, all they’ve released is a simple beta that is barely usable.

Don’t be suckered by animations and videos. Satoshi didn’t have any of this and his coin was the most successful. Besides, the animations aren’t that impressive anymore, as I’m beginning to see the same animation on multiple websites. Some of these teams must be using the same graphic designer.

There is no guarantee that any business will not fail. But, when the ICO team has a prototype/product, they have proven that they can develop. That significantly reduces your risk. With many ICOs, you have no idea if they can build anything. You cannot trust the information on the profile of many ICOs. Just because they can hire somebody to make a video, it does not mean they can write thousands of lines of complicated code. It's like you giving money to someone to fix your car, simply because his video says he can fix cars, but he has never fixed one before.

Y Combinator is one of the biggest startup incubators in the world. They provide a small amount of funding (approx. $25k to 50k) to startups, which usually consists of 2 founders each. Then they build prototypes or products. Then the startups give pitches to angel investors or Venture Capitalists. If prototypes or products are unnecessary, then why do they waste so much time and money before pitching to angels and VCs?

Almost all incubators have startups that consist of usually only 2 founders, that are building prototypes and products. ICOs are stacking their team with a dozen people and they still cannot build anything. With 12 people, they should've built 6 prototypes/products by now. This shows that they are simply stacking their teams with useless people, in order to impress you or sucker you in.

2)  IS THE TEAM FROM A CORRUPT COUNTRY?

Check Transparency International's ranking.

If so, take a pass.

The number of ICOs from corrupt countries, especially those that were famous for sending out phishing scams for years, have exploded.

Yes, there are scams from countries that are not corrupt and successful projects from corrupt countries. What is important is the probability and if you are willing to take the extra risk.

In non-corrupt countries, people grow up with lots of regulations and enforcement. Though there are exceptions, the people feel that the way to get ahead is based largely on merit. In corrupt countries, there is less regulation, less enforcement and more people trying to find ways to get ahead by working around the system. In fact, they see that the most successful people in their country, usually in their government, are those who get ahead by lying, cheating or working around the system, instead of based on merit. If you do not think this is a risk, then we will agree to disagree.

Law enforcement is a big deterrent. Hurricanes prove this. After hurricanes Katrina and Irma, there were widespread lootings. Why? Because police are not on the streets and criminals feel immune from punishment.

Law enforcement through extradition is a deterrent. If an Australian defrauds investors in Germany, Germany can extradite the Australian and punish him. This makes the Australian think twice before he defrauds Germans. However, there are many countries without extradition agreements. This provides immunity to ICO teams. Therefore, they can lie, defraud and cheat investors from other countries, and there will be little to no recourse from the other countries. This can bring out the looting mentality.

There are many ICOs enticing investors, by claiming that their token or coin will go up in value or that token holders will get dividends, profits or ownership in other assets. Some tell buyers that they are “investing”. This means that they are selling securities and are breaking security laws.

I watched a video of a conference. ConsenSys was warning about the repercussions of selling securities. Waves’ CEO, who is from a country without extradition agreements with Europe or U.S., debated this, downplayed the concern and shrugged it off. Why should he care? No European or American government is going to be able to punish him if he broke security laws. Even if Europe cannot punish him, if Europe bans his coin, will you suffer?

Without law enforcement, ICOs can lie and get away with it. One project claimed that they will make 400+% return per year for the investor. In countries that enforce securities laws, if you make this claim and do not deliver, investors can sue you. In countries with advertising laws, the police can punish you for false advertising. In countries that are immune from these laws, ICOs can make any claim they want. One of the most egregious claims is when an ICO tells you that you will be a part owner of a physical company. Good luck in getting a judge in their country to force the company to give you equity because you own some ERC-20 tokens. Good luck to you and your multiple flights to that country.

Few corrupt countries have extradition agreements. For those that do, can you rely on their corrupt governments to fulfill their obligations?

3)  “NEVER INVEST IN A BUSINESS THAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND”

This is a quote from Warren Buffett. It is very applicable because many ICO teams try to impress the audience with technical jargon. Many investors are not tech savvy and are baffled or confused, but they invest because they think that the project team must have come up with a technological break-through.

Last word:

You need to be able to verify that the business problem exists, that the market size is truly as big as the ICO claims and that the solution is possible. Quite often, they exaggerate on most of these. You need to verify that a blockchain or a cryptocurrency actually is needed for the solution. Quite often, they’re not.

Do not rely solely on ICO listing or rating sites. They likely do not know about all of the ICOs. Not all ICOs are willing to pay to be listed. They have methodologies that you may not agree with. Some claim to be experts, but you are likely more of an expert in your own field, whether that is medical, law, engineering or finance, than they are. They will likely have biases, especially for ICOs originating from their country or region. Putin wants to increase the crypto industry in Russia. Is this why there has been an explosion of ICOs from Russia? Even Putin’s Advisor ran an ICO. If Russia took out Facebook ads to disrupt U.S. and European politics, who is to say that they will not pay off ICO listing and ratings sites to favor Russian ICOs?

I must say that this is one of the most informative articles that I’ve ever read. You know how helpful this is for me and the rest when it comes to participating in initial coin offerings. I was scammed twice in ICOs when I was a newbie back then. I still have a lot to learn about playing the game of ICOs, especially that you mentioned that we cannot rely on ICO rating sites to determine if its good or not. There are no guarantees.

A big thank you for this man. I am going to share this to my crypto friends. Cheers!

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May 03, 2018, 05:00:32 AM
 #429

Corupt countries?Huh?

Then avoid the USA and Europe. Thats were all the high tech people live. You will find the higherest number of hackers per capita there.
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May 03, 2018, 06:19:20 PM
 #430

An excellent and useful topic, useful and tested tips for determining the legality and prospects of the ICO. But it is necessary, first of all, to investigate the purpose of the ICO, the team of developers and technology.
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May 03, 2018, 06:19:58 PM
 #431

From Russian ICO I look closely at SONM and WAVES. Sonm is already in my portfolio. Sonm released an updated roadmap yesterday, good project
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May 03, 2018, 06:28:36 PM
 #432

I totally agree,the current ICO white papers are full of technical terms, and I can't even understand what they are doing. They may think that this shows their professional standards, but for ordinary investors, not all of them are computer experts. Most ordinary investors simply do not understand their white papers. Such a white paper is same as a blank paper and it is meaningless.

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May 03, 2018, 09:04:52 PM
 #433

I totally agree,the current ICO white papers are full of technical terms, and I can't even understand what they are doing. They may think that this shows their professional standards, but for ordinary investors, not all of them are computer experts. Most ordinary investors simply do not understand their white papers. Such a white paper is same as a blank paper and it is meaningless.
If you cannot understand what saying in white papers, you do not need to invest in that ICO. Because the most important thing is to explain to help the investor know exact about the project cannot solve. How to make that ICO project grow more and provide the profit? Finally, as long as you do not understand about the ICO, you should not invest in anything, even the profit can up to huge amount of money.
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May 04, 2018, 06:30:22 AM
 #434

Actually a very good and useful article. I plan to periodically re-read it, share it with other people. Indeed, indeed, real and useful ICO projects should be supported.
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May 05, 2018, 05:45:59 PM
 #435

Really useful topic. I will periodically review it. I found the basic criteria for choosing reliable ICOs to support really real and promising projects.
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May 08, 2018, 06:50:13 AM
 #436

There are lots of ICOs from non USA and non European countries. If all the high tech people live in the USA and Europe, then what you're implying is that many ICOs are started by people who do not understand technology.
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May 08, 2018, 07:24:16 AM
 #437

i think 70% of most ico was scam sir, and few of them was real and legit, so we must choose wisely and carefully enough before decide which ico will be joined.

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May 08, 2018, 07:27:57 AM
 #438

Thanks for the tips bro it seems i have knowledge now to invest or to choose the best ICO with a bounty program. Most i joined ICO are all scam and not legitimate there all wasting the money of all investor.
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May 09, 2018, 04:01:48 PM
 #439

Better to think of ICOs as gambling than to put your life savings in it. People can be smart about gambling, eg counting cards at Blackjack, studying form guides for horse racing, cheating at poker or rigging boxing matches...
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May 10, 2018, 06:28:30 PM
 #440

the solution is to create more energy suppliers, especially nuclear power plants, which is the cheapest source of electricity. But the project does not propose this. They propose to enable consumers to sell their solar self-generated electricity directly to other consumers.
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