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Author Topic: 3 kinds of ICOs — Protect yourself  (Read 13535 times)
jlp (OP)
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October 26, 2017, 12:39:16 AM
 #261

I agree that nowadays it's much more difficult to find really prospective ICO amoung the ton of low-quality projects and scams. But even if you find such project it doesn't mean that you'll get x2 and higher just after the listing on exchanges. I know that most of investors tries to sell there token asap, and only experienced can distinguish the potential of long term investment. But if you check the most successful ICOs, you'll see that most of them gave huge income for those who HODL.

“If you aren’t thinking about owning a stock for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.”

-- Warren Buffett
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October 26, 2017, 12:49:17 AM
 #262

Nice write up OP, i agree with most points. However, even if there are a few legitimate (and good) ICOs, i think we need to rethink the system as a whole and come up with better solutions to get these worthwhile projects off the ground... The company that solves this will be one of the most important groups in the crypto market.
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October 26, 2017, 01:21:08 AM
 #263

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 that 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?

Thanks for the time, really appreciate your efforts for informing us to be guided by every steps that we make. Really hard to find the real thing in this present time.

🥤🧊🥤🧊        ONLINE SOCIAL COMMUNICATION & DATING APK         🧊🥤🧊🥤
jlp (OP)
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October 26, 2017, 02:30:25 PM
Last edit: October 26, 2017, 02:43:50 PM by jlp
 #264

Nice write up OP, i agree with most points. However, even if there are a few legitimate (and good) ICOs, i think we need to rethink the system as a whole and come up with better solutions to get these worthwhile projects off the ground... The company that solves this will be one of the most important groups in the crypto market.

Agreed.

There are legitimate and good projects. But they're getting drowned out by two factors:

  • There are so many crap ICOs that investors probably give up searching for the good ones because they've lost patience or don't have the time.
  • Investors are being distracted by ICOs with the most marketing. DomRaider comes to mind. This ICO is going after a tiny market. This market is so small that it is questionable that it can even support a small business. Yet DomRaider was running commercials everywhere, including on a Youtube video I was trying to watch. The uninformed viewer will think that DomRaider is onto something big, but the opposite is true.

If this problem isn't solved, then the following might happen in a few years when investors finally realize that they've lost a lot of money on crap ICOs:

  • The crypto space will get a bad reputation as being riddled with scammers and crap.
  • With the bad reputation, legitimate and good projects will have a harder time raising money, which means fewer good products.
  • ICOs will need to do much more work and spend more to prove that they are legitimate and not crap. Think of how much easier and cheaper it would be to build websites if you didn't have to worry about hackers.
  • Governments and regulators are always looking for any excuse to label this space as riddled with money launderers, terrorists and drug dealers. They would love to get more excuses to clamp down on cryptocurrencies and ideally shut them down. Soon they'll have more justification. They can shut down ICOs by saying they're protecting investors. China has done this already. Many other governments will get around to it as well. Yes, investors will be protected, but the good ICOs will be shut down as well.
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October 26, 2017, 02:36:58 PM
 #265

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.
jlp (OP)
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October 26, 2017, 03:13:32 PM
 #266

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.

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. I agree with that.
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October 26, 2017, 03:40:36 PM
 #267

I agree that nowadays it's much more difficult to find really prospective ICO amoung the ton of low-quality projects and scams. But even if you find such project it doesn't mean that you'll get x2 and higher just after the listing on exchanges. I know that most of investors tries to sell there token asap, and only experienced can distinguish the potential of long term investment. But if you check the most successful ICOs, you'll see that most of them gave huge income for those who HODL.

“If you aren’t thinking about owning a stock for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.”

-- Warren Buffett
Yeah, I love these words, invest in ICO is not the best way for speculation.
The ICO is an investment for long term and only who investor can be patient will get profits from this field.
Accept the risk need to hold the token you will buy make you spend few years or even a decade will help you never feel boring.
jlp (OP)
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October 26, 2017, 06:13:05 PM
Last edit: October 26, 2017, 06:24:12 PM by jlp
 #268

Hey jlp, what do you think about Mobius Network? More importantly, what's your take on Mercury Protocol ICO, project in which Mark Cuban has invested as well?

If I have time, I’ll take a look at those. In the meantime, I'll comment on Mark Cuban.

I think he’s completely overrated. He became rich because he sold his company, Broadcast.com, near the peak of the Dot Com bubble in 1999 to Yahoo for $5.7 billion, netting $1 billion for Cuban. But the company was TINY and LOSING MONEY. It was so worthless and burning so much money that Yahoo shut it down 3 years later.

https://www.gurufocus.com/news/138012/mark-cuban-and-broadcastcom-the-multibillion-dollar-coup
“When Broadcast.com was taken public it had fewer than $7 million in revenues, $28 million in equity, and an accumulated deficit of of nearly $10 million dollars in its brief history. In reality, the company had little or no chance of achieving profitability in the foreseeable future.”

Here is a micro cap stock that you’ve probably never heard of:  Castle Brands
https://finance.google.com/finance?q=NYSEAMERICAN%3AROX&fstype=ii&ei=dejwWcmaGcaWjAG2sYiAAw

It does $77 million of revenue and has a market cap of $184 million.

Broadcast had one eleventh the revenue. Essentially, Broadcast was a micro micro micro cap.  But, it sold for 31 times more than Castle Brands. Yahoo overpaid by 341 times. Can you imagine paying $13,630,000 for a car that is worth $40,000?

Fortune Magazine listed Broadcast.com as one of the 5 worst internet acquisitions of all time:
http://fortune.com/2013/05/21/5-worst-internet-acquisitions-of-all-time/

Yahoo executives, who were responsible for buying Broadcast.com, were canned.

Essentially, Cuban owes most of his wealth to winning a lottery.

I’m not saying that Cuban is a lousy businessman. He was a small businessman. You probably know businessmen or entrepreneurs who created bigger companies than Cuban did.

Cuban never created any hugely successful operation like Google, Apple, Qualcomm, Foxconn, Nvidia, Intel, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, Oracle, eBay, PayPal, Facebook, Tesla, etc., etc., etc. Not even close. Yet the media treats him like he has more business acumen than the entrepreneurs or executives from many of those companies I listed.

Cuban, the successful businessman and investor, is completely a creation of the media. It's hugely fake news.

Therefore, ignore anything that Cuban says or does.

In regards to Mercury Protocol, their homepage starts off with:

Quote
Decentralized

Not owned or controlled by any one party

More Secure

All data is tamper resistant and secured by the blockchain

Trustless

Verify messages and transactions without a trusted third party Application

So what? The above are standard in every blockchain. Are they trying to fool newbies into thinking that they are the first to come up with these?

It also says:

Quote
Application Agnostic

Generalized protocol for all communication types

Their first use case includes “messaging” and “large file size”.

Are they going to put this onto the blockchain? If so, then this shows their ignorance. If they’ve run Bitcoin’s full node or Ethereum’s full node, they would know that these are already getting bogged down, and these 2 blockchains store small numbers or snippets of code. If Mercury Protocol puts messaging onto a blockchain, it might work for a year or less, before their blockchain grows to 200 GB. Then they will be more bogged down than Bitcoin.

But it gets worse. I thought they were going to have their own blockchain. No. They’re going to put their stuff on the Ethereum blockchain. This means that their application will be bogged down on day one, and everyone else’s application on Ethereum will get bogged down.

For Ethereum's sake and the dozens of tokens on Ethereum, let's hope Mercury Protocol does not put its messaging on Ethereum. The Ethereum foundation should ban it.

Mark Cuban was on television a couple of days ago, bragging about how he was a “technology guy”. He's definitely not a blockchain guy. He never was much of a technology guy.

Their team has 15 members and 2 advisors. With that many people, they should’ve built 6 prototypes or products by now. This shows that they stacked their team with useless people, in order to impress you. Also, there are no LinkedIn profiles to verify that these people are real, or have any work experience.
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October 26, 2017, 09:28:10 PM
 #269

Hey jlp, what do you think about Mobius Network? More importantly, what's your take on Mercury Protocol ICO, project in which Mark Cuban has invested as well?

In regards to Mobius, I read this part:

Quote
The Mobius universal protocol APIs work across all blockchains and connect the internet world to the blockchain ecosystem so developers only have to learn and support one standard.

I don’t know how they will be able to develop APIs for dozens or hundreds of blockchains. Even if they do, what will the API do? Enable developers to create an universal wallet that can send and receive coins to any blockchain? That would be VERY useful, but I don’t think they mentioned this.

Shortly after reading this, their website was using up a lot of my CPU. My fan was going into overdrive, so I closed the browser tab. Does this happen to you? If they have coding skills, they should not have let this happen.
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October 27, 2017, 06:33:08 AM
 #270

I see, very good points, thanks a lot for your input!  Grin
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October 27, 2017, 07:37:22 AM
 #271

Shortly after reading this, their website was using up a lot of my CPU. My fan was going into overdrive, so I closed the browser tab. Does this happen to you? If they have coding skills, they should not have let this happen.
Could have been a script they added to the site to mine monero or some other crypto with your CPU while you're there like Pirate Bay
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October 27, 2017, 09:17:15 AM
 #272

Very informative thread and useful information for deciding in which ico to invest. I want to know what's OP opinion about PayPal based business model adaptation on blockchain like Monetha or Utrust? At first it looks like a great idea and proper model for a blockchain. What's your opinion?  Roll Eyes

ALQO - A Decentralized, All-in-One Financial And Cloud Services Ecosystem.

https://alqo.app/
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October 27, 2017, 12:28:03 PM
 #273

Thank you for your time in putting this together.
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October 27, 2017, 02:33:06 PM
 #274

Folks, www.balanc3.net a new accounting platform prove value with new accounting Tech, claims this would be good for investors. Would that work?

In regards to balanc3.net, their homepage has a lot of verbose but says very little.

What accounting is needed for the blockchain?

It says that it will provide accounting services for token sales. Is there a need for this? I don’t know. They should explain why this is needed by token sales, but they don’t. Token sales usually involve having a smart contract receive ETH and sending tokens. The team only needs the total ETH received (one number) and then can put this in their Excel spreadsheet or other regular accounting software. What else do they need to do? If they need to do more, then balanc3 should explain why.

It doesn’t look like they are hosting an ICO, are they? Maybe they’re running a business and will sell their accounting services to ICOs. I don’t know as it doesn’t say.

This is one of most nebulous websites I’ve read.
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October 27, 2017, 02:39:25 PM
 #275

Great overview. You've covered the very basic which a lot of new investors have to learn about ICO's. They are seeing these crazy gains and believe every ICO will be profitable, when in fact that won't happen. There are thousands of projects currently launched and many hundred trying to launch soon. How do you think things will look like in a couple of years when the market has matured even more? We'll probably see some heavy regulation, because that's what is takes to keep the markets under control. The investors simply hope to land on a good project, while that project has no obligation to register/disclose or implement any regulation that is usually required by corporations. Maybe that's the solution to the problem, more regulation and not less, but it should be just enough to avoid these problems, too much regulation will suffocate the market and it would be a shame to see the crypto space going into shambles because people keep on making the wrong decisions.
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October 27, 2017, 04:37:43 PM
 #276

Very informative thread and useful information for deciding in which ico to invest. I want to know what's OP opinion about PayPal based business model adaptation on blockchain like Monetha or Utrust? At first it looks like a great idea and proper model for a blockchain. What's your opinion?  Roll Eyes

UTRUST’s business is understandable, which is good. I think they’re in a country where we can extradite them or sue them if they screw us, which is good.

Intuitively, one would think that there is big market need for Utrust. The question is whether they can execute.

Bitpay has been doing Bitcoin payment processing for merchants for 4 or more years. One needs to find out why they haven’t expanded to process addition cryptocurrencies. Why haven’t they? Is it unprofitable to do so? Is there insufficient demand from merchants or shoppers? If they wanted to, would they be able to quickly do so?

Bitpay has not exploded in growth. This means that there aren't enough people using Bitcoin to shop. If this is the case, how do you know it's worthwhile to add more cryptos and that processing more cryptos will grow this space?

I like that they have a comparison chart with their competitors. However, how do we know that UTRUST’s will be able to survive by providing the lowest fees?

If UTRUST supports multiple cryptocurrencies, which they should because this is their main differentiator from Bitpay, then why would shoppers use UTRUST’s token?

The CEO does not have a LinkedIn profile. How do we know that he has a high school diploma or any work experience?

With 16 people on the team (and 13 advisors), they should’ve built 8 prototypes by now. Most of these people are doing nothing. This reduces the confidence that they can out-execute Bitpay.

It would be great if a company like Utrust succeeds. Maybe UTRUST can execute. I don’t know, as there isn’t enough information.
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October 27, 2017, 04:50:27 PM
 #277

Nice writeup...but it is going to be hard for individuals not to be scammed cos of these ico's Airdrops
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October 27, 2017, 05:18:13 PM
 #278

much appreciated you for clearing it up.I truly dont see how individuals pick their speculations once in a while furthermore, its tragic when you see a shitty ico makes millions when genuine coins dont get enough consideration
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October 27, 2017, 05:28:39 PM
 #279

You had made a very nice thread that educate us what kind of ICOs we're into. I hope everyone should have read this.

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October 27, 2017, 05:45:35 PM
 #280

much appreciated you for clearing it up.I truly dont see how individuals pick their speculations once in a while furthermore, its tragic when you see a shitty ico makes millions when genuine coins dont get enough consideration
There were a lot of shit ICO projects, even scam ICO also happened in the ICO market. After all, the investors still keep their faith in this market. Why? Because they can make money easily through this market instead of trading, but they don't know they are becoming the speculators by short term investment through the ICO projects.
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