Bitcoin Forum
October 15, 2018, 04:23:37 PM *
News: Make sure you are not using versions of Bitcoin Core other than 0.17.0 [Torrent], 0.16.3, 0.15.2, or 0.14.3. More info.
   Home   Help Search Donate Login Register  
Pages: [1]
Author Topic: Guide - Some useful additional tools for SCAM ICO detection  (Read 86 times)
Full Member
Offline Offline

Activity: 252
Merit: 109

View Profile
August 02, 2018, 05:59:49 AM
Merited by morvillz7z (1), ICOEthics (1)

Note: This text is an adapted translation of this post (of which I am OP)

These few informations complete the excellent post of
Coolcryptovator (

- - - -

Time to talk about concrete things!

These few tools should allow you in less than 10 mns,
to determine at 95% if the ICO of which you fell in love really deserves you.

There would be a lot to say about possible audits to determine the credibility of a project.
The whole issue concerns the level of involvement, the time you will agree to put into it and the "depth" to which you plan to descend.
The answer depends on each one, I will propose you only 4 points of check which seem to me relevant.

If something is wrong, on only one of these points, it is annoying, 2 on 4 it is enough for me to pass my way (but to be clear, the scams generally validate all the points, without difficulty).

Let's be clear, 1 or 2 aspects that pose a problem do not DEMONSTRATE a scam.
On the other hand, it implies at least amateurism and incompetence.... it makes you want to give them your money?

1.   Team, meet your new best friends!
2.   White Paper, not all white
3.   Github
4.   Presence on Linkedin

1.  The Team, meet your new best friends

Let us immediately mention an obvious point:  the absence of identifiable members is a VERY HUGE RED FLAG!

On a personal level, however, I do not consider this to be a point that is definitively redhibitory, insofar as anonymity is assumed, explained and firmly justified by the project leaders.
Even if we live in an era of "ultra-transparency", it is sometimes useful to remember that in the genesis of cryptographic money, the search for anonymity (of
transactions and people) has an important place.

More "selfish" reasons can also encourage small teams not to reveal themselves, at least in the early stages of their project, in order to avoid a conflict of
interest (for example with their current employer).

However, anonymous does not mean mute! Through Telegram or any other communication channel, it must remain possible to contact the team and raise this particular point. Members of a solid project who take on this aspect will have no objection to discussing it with you.
On the other hand, silence or evasive answers should alert you.

Only a case-by-case assessment will allow you to determine whether the anonymity of a project team is tolerable, or constitutes a Scam alert.

Except these particular cases, an ICO asks you for money, the minimum is therefore that the team presents itself and adds some line of CV with a pretty - true - smiling photo.
For this reason, the "Team" menu of the website must retain all your attention. Logically, you will find there more or less each time, a brief presentation of the executives part of the start-up.

I refer you to the excellent Cryptovator guide on the subject :,
in the original post, my illustrations came from there.

2.   White Paper, not all white.

Let's break down an open door: the availability of a white paper is essential!

Ideally in your native language, it is both the company's presentation booklet, its business card and a summary of its origin, objectives and ambitions. It is a document that must both reassure - and even seduce - potential investors, without falling into the trap of delirious promises of profitability or improbable partnerships.

Clearly, this is the most complex style exercise for an ICO.

The WP must be technical enough to convince an engineer and/or coder, intellectually accessible to the average  investor, to be "marketable" enough to be credible, without turning into an empty advertising brochure.

Moreover, ideally very few ICO should also be available a "Blue Paper", technical document available to crypto-hardcore and other Blockchain architects.

Unfortunately, at the moment, the vast majority of White Papers only offer us to see the body of the Lamborghini, without showing the scooter engine under the hood...

However, the subject is not here today. How, from the WP (and at the limit without even reading it), is it possible to detect a scam?

- Anti-plagiarism tools

The scammer is very often lazy and, like the student on a Sunday evening before giving a presentation the next day, he wonders why he should waste time writing something that others have probably already done much better before him !

With the thousands of ICOs over the last 3 years, there's probably a way to find something  similar and, with a few small modifications, it'll work!

The parade, you will find it with these few tools: select the url or any passage of the WP and these sites will look for any other document which would present a "troubling" similarity with our suspect document.




Warning: WP that come out day after day have a lot of similarities because of their structure, more and more standardized  ("Abstract", "The Solution", "The problem", "Tokenomic"...) and the use of a very particular terminology with "buzz words" ("blockchain", "tokens", "cryptocurrencies", "disrupt", "nodes", etc...).

So be careful with hasty conclusions, it is not because a project is not very original and only offers a new Exchange or a new Crypto-Fiat credit card  that it is a scam...

Everyone on this subject will establish his own cursor between the need to secure his investment and understanding the  mistakes of youth in the sector.

3. Github

For those who discover, Github is a collaborative site where it is possible to publish code in a public way, allowing its audit and possible criticism by the community.
14 million users in 2016, 35 million project submissions, the reference in social network coders.
This dynamic, which values transparency and community work, is very logically particularly appreciated in the crypto world.

Wrongly, many programming neophytes assume that this information is not very accessible and do not try to come and have a look at it. This is an error: without knowing anything about it it is possible to retrieve valuable information such as the start date of the project, the number of contributors/critics, etc....

For example (extreme, eh), the bitcoin github : - 56 contributors, more than 17 000 commits
The Hydro project: - 1 year of seniority, more than 1400 contributions

Another illustration, the ICO scam had a github account accessible on its site, but this one had....6 days!

I am not a technician but it seemed light for a blockchain project that claimed to have already raised 2 million USD.

Let's summarize:

- Lack of availability of the github: Very worrying, and not at all in accordance with the customs of the sector.
- If the code is available, a recent implementation, lack of update or collaboration/evaluation should make you suspicious.

4. Presence on Linkedin

I have no confidence whatsoever in Telegram, Twitter or Facebook (but also, but less categorically, in Discord or Reddit) to offer a realistic vision of the credibility of a project/team. There are a multitude of tools that allow with bots and scripts, to give an impression of dynamism to official pages behind which nobody is active.

Linkedin, it's different.

Before being a social network, Linkedin is a networking vehicle that NO professional in the FintTech field can do without  today. Even if it is possible, it is much more complicated to have 1000 "friends" on Linkedin than on Zuckerberg's toy.

Above all, start from one principle: the CEO of the project, the CTO, the Marketing Director of our ICO have, in the vast majority of cases, conducted a "pre-sale" with investors or private VP, before calling on public contributions. They love the  community, but some investors at 100 00 USD are welcome too!

To achieve this, the team obviously worked hard to make its project known, activate personal and professional networks, participate in blockchain summits (several per week in 2018, around the world), to show their credibility among prospects  much more suspicious and vigilant than all of us, poor small investors!

In short, regarding ICOs, not to be connected is not to exist.

Consequence: go check 2 Linkedin profiles: the CEO and the Marketing/Com Manager (CMO) and better, ask to join their network!

Who, in this very particular context of an ICO of a few months on which will depend the economic destiny of his future company, would refuse the solicitation of a potential investor (or even a simple crypto-enthusiast)?

The real teams of dynamic projects will discuss with you with pleasure, the others... will be much more "reserved". Grin

The different possibilities:

- no Linkedin profiles available: next project (as for no identifiable team).
- No photo: abnormal compared to the uses on this particular network (even more concerning Marketing/Com/Community Management).
- Very sophisticated photos or worthy of a modeling agency: often comes...... from a modeling agency ! After that, you can be
brilliant AND hot AND have time to go into the studio to make sure you have an attractive profile, but that's still a criterion
that should encourage mistrust.
- Linkedin profiles, but managers do not mention their participation in ICO: VERY suspicious.
- ICO mentioned...but in the middle of several other projects: bad sign, with regard to the energy and the means necessary to
 carry out a single ICO, to claim to have the direction of several is unrealistic (notable exception for the "advisors" who
happily multiply multiple collaborations, it is another problem but it is not the subject here).
- The CEO/CTO/Marketing Director have less than 100 relationships: Not very credible, once again we are talking about a sector
 where lobbying and the use of the alpha and omega business network.

- - - - -

A final resource, which brings together several of the tools mentioned here:

And a special bonus:

Here is a site specialized in the sale...of ICO's logo !

Not useless to go to take a look to note a little more the artificial dimension of the sector currently...

If you add this to the member bitcointalk proposals the writing of a WP for $200, you have all the resources to set up an ICO scam on a Saturday afternoon...

Advertised sites are not endorsed by the Bitcoin Forum. They may be unsafe, untrustworthy, or illegal in your jurisdiction. Advertise here.
Hero Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 1539620617

View Profile Personal Message (Offline)

Reply with quote  #2

Report to moderator
Hero Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 1539620617

View Profile Personal Message (Offline)

Reply with quote  #2

Report to moderator
Full Member
Offline Offline

Activity: 140
Merit: 181

View Profile
August 06, 2018, 04:53:08 PM

Thank you for posting this additional information.
We added the extra plagiarism search engines to our website.

Here is a site specialized in the sale...of ICO's logo !

Most of the scammers dont spend that much money on a logo, they just steal the image.
Usually, scammers logo have a bad resolution. Like the picture of their team members.
Pages: [1]
Jump to:  

Sponsored by , a Bitcoin-accepting VPN.
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!