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Author Topic: To Bounty Managers - How I do my due diligence for ICOs  (Read 453 times)
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September 13, 2018, 03:23:25 AM
Merited by Jannn (10), suchmoon (4), hilariousandco (2), o_e_l_e_o (2), marlboroza (1), bitmover (1), Coolcryptovator (1)
 #1

Hello everyone! I had some free time and after seeing the number of scam accusations and scam ICO's nowadays, I wanted to make a post describing how I do due diligence for every ICO that I work with, and how I would recommend you guys to as well.

Step 1 - Website/Design Options
For this step, I would recommend every manager to this as least, since it's quite effortless, and can go a long way. When I hunt for clients, I first look at their logos and how everything is designed. I've seen some truly horrendous websites, that have still parts of the template and filler text in it, so hunt for obvious signs that the website is a template, and they haven't done a lot of work for it. I've even seen an ICO website made from a weebly template once!

The website should always have an SSL certificate, otherwise, they may be tracking you and stealing personal information from you. This is definitely needed! A website that has an SSL certificate should have this in the URL space.



Step 2 - ICO function/ideas
One of the most important things you have to do, before accepting an offer from an ICO, is making sure their idea is actually feasible and the project will be able to succeed. This depends a lot on your personal opinions and some people will believe in something, while others will, so attempt to look at the project from all aspects. I like to look at a project from 3 perspectives and think about it, then make an answer. The perspective of an investor, a team member, and a consumer (someone who would use the project).

A lot of projects are promising investors the moon, and I usually like to avoid projects like that. This step will help with this.

Step 3 - Team/Experience
Crypto has become a lot more mainstream nowadays, and consumers have also raised their expectations with people who are involved in it. Nowadays, any ICO that doesn't have a seasoned and experienced team will most likely fair. Nowadays, the industry requires people to have past experience to succeed, otherwise, the project will most likely be a scam. This is definitely the most important step.

For example, let's pretend there is a project called "99p". 99p wants to make a DAPP that connects employers to employee's, all over the world. For this sort of project, I'd look for a team that has experience working with big scale apps, marketers with years of experience, a CEO that has experience in the same industry, industry connections, and more. In short, look for team members that have experience in the industry that they are creating their project in. Look for team members with degrees in business, marketing, online marketing.

Also, be sure to google their faces, to make sure they are who they say they are. There are a lot of teams with fake people, so I will always snipe 3 or 4 faces from the top board, and do a google image search. Check their linkedin profiles, and they should have hundreds of connections. An obvious scam, wouldn't have reputable linkedin profiles, a real team, and most likely an inexperienced team. Make sure to check all their social media accounts! Use this website to check for fake photos - https://www.prepostseo.com/reverse-image-search.

Step 4 - Real Life Events
Nowadays, there are a lot of interesting crypto events, and a lot of reputable and big name people will attend these. There was a blockchain cruise, just this week, with founders of huge companies. This isn't a requirement, but I will always look for future events where you can meet the team there, to fully keep myself at peace.

Thanks for reading, leave a comment, I'd love to know everyone's thoughts. Sorry for any grammar/punctuation errors beforehand!

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September 13, 2018, 10:11:54 AM
 #2

Moved from service discussion to here, hope this is the right section.

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September 13, 2018, 10:49:49 AM
 #3

All good advice. I'll add a couple of tips that I use personally when investigating for scams.

I use https://www.prepostseo.com/reverse-image-search to search for their pictures. You only have to enter the link or upload once, and then it will search on Google, Bing and Yandex for you. If you think the picture is a stock photo, rather than stolen from someone else's social media/online accounts, then also do a reverse image search here: https://www.everypixel.com/.

Also, check for plagiarism. On their announcement thread, on their website, in their whitepaper, in their Linkedin profiles, etc. Just copy some of the text in to Google with quotation marks around it. Takes 5 seconds and an easy way to catch them out.

There's also a great post here with some more info: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5004397.0


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September 13, 2018, 11:00:59 AM
Merited by Avirunes (1), Coolcryptovator (1)
 #4

Step 2 is nonsense. A BM is not qualified in any way to judge the idea, nor are 99.99% of the bounty participants and users of this forum. Anecdotal evidence proving said statement: Market cap of 99% of the altcoins based on coinmarketcap data.

One of things that can be done is *verify* that the claimed 'pictures' are actually individuals that are behind the project. This can be done via a video. You, however, can't verify their identities.

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September 13, 2018, 11:08:44 AM
 #5

All good advice. I'll add a couple of tips that I use personally when investigating for scams.

I use to search for their pictures. You only have to enter the link or upload once, and then it will search on Google, Bing and Yandex for you. If you think the picture is a stock photo, rather than stolen from someone else's social media/online accounts, then also do a reverse image search here: https://www.everypixel.com/.

Also, check for plagiarism. On their announcement thread, on their website, in their whitepaper, in their Linkedin profiles, etc. Just copy some of the text in to Google with quotation marks around it. Takes 5 seconds and an easy way to catch them out.

There's also a great post here with some more info: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5004397.0
Well said o_e_l_e_o!

I haven't thought of that website, I'll add it into OP. Plagiarism is also a great point, and I'll try to add it in when I have more time.

Great ANN post!

Step 2 is nonsense. A BM is not qualified in any way to judge the idea, nor are 99.99% of the bounty participants and users of this forum. Anecdotal evidence proving said statement: Market cap of 99% of the altcoins based on coinmarketcap data.

One of things that can be done is *verify* that the claimed 'pictures' are actually individuals that are behind the project. This can be done via a video. You, however, can't verify their identities.
A BM should look out for the investor's and hunter's best interest when taking upon a project, although I do half agree with you.

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September 13, 2018, 11:12:16 AM
 #6

Step 2 is nonsense. A BM is not qualified in any way to judge the idea, nor are 99.99% of the bounty participants and users of this forum. Anecdotal evidence proving said statement: Market cap of 99% of the altcoins based on coinmarketcap data.

One of things that can be done is *verify* that the claimed 'pictures' are actually individuals that are behind the project. This can be done via a video. You, however, can't verify their identities.
A BM should look out for the investor's and hunter's best interest when taking upon a project, although I do half agree with you.
A BM has nothing to do with investors, nor is he/she required to do their due diligence. Accepting a project =/= endorsement =/= guaranteed/expected high returns. We aren't going to censor projects based on potential returns now, are we?

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September 14, 2018, 10:42:21 AM
 #7

It's look good to me at least you accept that there is few responsibility of managers. Whatever you describe here it will not take more than hour to check. But by spending hour can safe hunters and investors. As I always say that we can't do anything if they exit with fund. But we can check before start any campaign that there is something wrong or not. If there is something wrong or any suspicious activity it will be better to leave.

One of things that can be done is *verify* that the claimed 'pictures' are actually individuals that are behind the project. This can be done via a video. You, however, can't verify their identities.
Strongly agree. You described what is on my mind. This is most important to check there are real team or not. Fake team is on of strong indicate of scam.

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September 14, 2018, 01:17:10 PM
Merited by suchmoon (4)
 #8


A BM has nothing to do with investors, nor is he/she required to do their due diligence. Accepting a project =/= endorsement =/= guaranteed/expected high returns. We aren't going to censor projects based on potential returns now, are we?
A BM that wants to hold his head high up has every right to carry out every necessary due diligence.
In fact, I want to add that a serious BM should DEMAND escrow (BTC or ETH), before going ahead with managing the project. All of those steps are no longer enough to determine which project is good. The BM has his name to protect, and also protect the team of hunters and staff of his business. Note that reputation is involved.

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September 14, 2018, 02:43:41 PM
Merited by pey (1)
 #9

I would like to add a crucial step to avoid exit scams which are out of context for the bounty managers -
Escrow : Bounty managers can either escrow a particular ETH amount in the worst case scenario such as they ICO never reaches the hard/soft cap or decides to ditch the project completely that if they're planning to pay in tokens. If x amount is escrowed with a reputed member, doesn't matter if the company ditches the project for whatever reasons, the bounty participants will get paid something for their efforts. Note that I'm talking about bounties with really good managers and not the bounty whoring army. Amount escrowed can always be used in case of unforeseen circumstances.


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September 14, 2018, 03:13:20 PM
 #10

LinkedIn and ICOratings are not a good DD platform. I've known quite a few scams that had verified linkedin profiles; so it's better to have a vid call and also real-life events.

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September 14, 2018, 03:18:23 PM
 #11

LinkedIn and ICOratings are not a good DD platform. I've known quite a few scams that had verified linkedin profiles; so it's better to have a vid call and also real-life events.
You know, bitcointalk is a place where people will be ready to take a shit on a live video call if paid a few satoshi's. I have experienced fake audio calls on telegram by people claiming to be the team members. Certainly wouldn't work out. Escrow, as I mentioned above will be a big saviour in disguise.


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September 15, 2018, 08:39:57 AM
 #12

LinkedIn and ICOratings are not a good DD platform. I've known quite a few scams that had verified linkedin profiles; so it's better to have a vid call and also real-life events.

There is also another problem. What should I do if I have years of experience yet I'm not a biggest fan of social network profiles (also linkedin is banned in my country). I mean I can give you my id and you will have a hard time finding anything about me except fake looking facebook profile I never attend to.

If I use my mugshot in team section, my face won't produce any convincing evidence of my experience unless you go as far as to call actual companies I will refer to in my CV.

Also, if I was involved in certain type of project (even if it is perfectly honest project) I wouldn't want my face to be on the front page. Let's assume I'm senior c++ dev in an exchange and happen to have access to most intimate parts of the service. Telling the world my name would be same as putting a big red target sign on my face. Evaluating teams is most complicated part of research.
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September 15, 2018, 12:42:19 PM
 #13

Most ICOs can pass these steps, team members can be even very experienced and trustworthy but the actual problem starts after they can't raise enough money, firstly and usually they stop posting in social media accounts twitter, telegram etc.  Bounty participants are paid but with useless and worthless tokens, and in such cases what can ico or bounty participants do or demand? nothing.

Bounty managers can either escrow a particular ETH amount in the worst case scenario such as they ICO never reaches the hard/soft cap or decides to ditch the project completely that if they're planning to pay in tokens.

definetely agree, I even think they must be paid with eth, that must be the risk of ico participants not bounty participants, this is actual problem bounty managers should solve, but they most don't care as they are not paid with tokens.
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September 15, 2018, 01:57:00 PM
 #14

LinkedIn and ICOratings are not a good DD platform. I've known quite a few scams that had verified linkedin profiles; so it's better to have a vid call and also real-life events.

There is also another problem. What should I do if I have years of experience yet I'm not a biggest fan of social network profiles (also linkedin is banned in my country). I mean I can give you my id and you will have a hard time finding anything about me except fake looking facebook profile I never attend to.

If I use my mugshot in team section, my face won't produce any convincing evidence of my experience unless you go as far as to call actual companies I will refer to in my CV.

Also, if I was involved in certain type of project (even if it is perfectly honest project) I wouldn't want my face to be on the front page. Let's assume I'm senior c++ dev in an exchange and happen to have access to most intimate parts of the service. Telling the world my name would be same as putting a big red target sign on my face. Evaluating teams is most complicated part of research.

You should heavily consider bringing someone onto your team who has relevant experience AND a large social imprint. If they are an influencer or even micro-influencer then they will have no issue with putting their faces on the project.

For instance, KindAds (blockchain advertisements) brought Neil Patel, an online marketer, onboard. He has no experience in blockchain but he has decades of exposure as digital marketing guru. He also has an existing reputation which can be put at stake.

If you aren't willing to stake your public identity on the ICO, you will need someone who is.
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September 15, 2018, 02:49:23 PM
 #15

Step 1 - Website/Design Options

Most multi-scam projects have gorgeous websites, and making a beautifully-looking website is not difficult for scamer, so I think it is very difficult to judge the authenticity of the project based on a web page.

Quote
Step 2 - ICO function/ideas

I think this step is actually necessary. When some investors/bounty participants question this project, but dev can't answer or the answer is full of loopholes, this project must not be trusted.

Quote
Step 3 - Team/Experience

Totally agree with what you said, verify that the team has fake members is the most effective way to conclude that a project is scam.
But there is a problem, even if the team members are real, but their resume can also be faked.so I think this step is a must, but not enough.

Quote
Step 4 - Real Life Events
This step is also very important, but the scam project will also carry out Real Life Events to cheat us.

I have some additional suggestions,
1.BM can verify their claimed partners to check the authenticity of a project. Suppose a project claims to cooperation with IBM and Samsung,just ask IBM and Samsung to be clear.
2.whether the national government regulatory department where their team is located has relevant online filings. In most countries, the establishment of a company needs to be filed in the government department.These are all available online.
3.Check the Ethereum contract address, whether the token is generated .Check whether there is ETH, BTC deposit fund account, whether the coins on these accounts have abnormal transfer (such as into the exchange account)

I just made my suggestion from the perspective of a novice. If I said something wrong, please forgive me.

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September 15, 2018, 02:56:48 PM
 #16

A BM that wants to hold his head high up has every right to carry out every necessary due diligence.
A right to do it, definitely.  The question that's being hotly debated is whether the manager has a duty to verify whether the project is a scam.  I don't think the manager does have that duty, only a duty to stop the bounty if and when that project is discovered to be a scam.  

It's kind of the same situation with the bounty participants who are advertising the project.  They're basically just TV stations renting out advertising spots, not personally endorsing the product.  They also have a duty to stop advertising if and when the project turns out to be a scam, but I don't think it's necessary for them to try to vet the project beforehand.

Seems like the trend lately is for projects to use photos of fake developers, and if I'm not mistaken this gets caught pretty quickly.  Doing due diligence past this won't help catch projects that scam in the end or who don't pay their bounty participants, and you never know how one of these things is going to turn out.  It's really not the bounty manager's problem IMO.


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September 29, 2018, 06:26:02 AM
 #17

I would like to add a crucial step to avoid exit scams which are out of context for the bounty managers -
Escrow : Bounty managers can either escrow a particular ETH amount in the worst case scenario such as they ICO never reaches the hard/soft cap or decides to ditch the project completely that if they're planning to pay in tokens. If x amount is escrowed with a reputed member, doesn't matter if the company ditches the project for whatever reasons, the bounty participants will get paid something for their efforts. Note that I'm talking about bounties with really good managers and not the bounty whoring army. Amount escrowed can always be used in case of unforeseen circumstances.


Great idea! Will this work out? Are there any projects like this? I know they escrow tokens but I have never seen any project which escrows ETH. This will be very helpful for the bounty hunters who work very hard and not get paid for the work they have done if the ICO is a scam or if it does not reach softcap or hardcap.

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September 29, 2018, 12:27:20 PM
 #18

I would like to add a crucial step to avoid exit scams which are out of context for the bounty managers -
Escrow : Bounty managers can either escrow a particular ETH amount in the worst case scenario such as they ICO never reaches the hard/soft cap or decides to ditch the project completely that if they're planning to pay in tokens. If x amount is escrowed with a reputed member, doesn't matter if the company ditches the project for whatever reasons, the bounty participants will get paid something for their efforts. Note that I'm talking about bounties with really good managers and not the bounty whoring army. Amount escrowed can always be used in case of unforeseen circumstances.


Great idea! Will this work out? Are there any projects like this? I know they escrow tokens but I have never seen any project which escrows ETH. This will be very helpful for the bounty hunters who work very hard and not get paid for the work they have done if the ICO is a scam or if it does not reach softcap or hardcap.
They should be escrowing ETH. They have enough money to put into marketing and other stuff. Escrowing 5-10 ETH depending on the bounty pool wouldn't look bad. Moreover, that money will be returned once the ICO is over and the bounty participants are paid.


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September 30, 2018, 07:45:07 PM
 #19

I would like to add a crucial step to avoid exit scams which are out of context for the bounty managers -
Escrow : Bounty managers can either escrow a particular ETH amount in the worst case scenario such as they ICO never reaches the hard/soft cap or decides to ditch the project completely that if they're planning to pay in tokens. If x amount is escrowed with a reputed member, doesn't matter if the company ditches the project for whatever reasons, the bounty participants will get paid something for their efforts. Note that I'm talking about bounties with really good managers and not the bounty whoring army. Amount escrowed can always be used in case of unforeseen circumstances.


Great idea! Will this work out? Are there any projects like this? I know they escrow tokens but I have never seen any project which escrows ETH. This will be very helpful for the bounty hunters who work very hard and not get paid for the work they have done if the ICO is a scam or if it does not reach softcap or hardcap.
They should be escrowing ETH. They have enough money to put into marketing and other stuff. Escrowing 5-10 ETH depending on the bounty pool wouldn't look bad. Moreover, that money will be returned once the ICO is over and the bounty participants are paid.

That would put an end to many questions. I see nowadays the reputation section is bombarded with threads asking to remove their negative trust after they have been found promoting scam ICO-s. This would be a great thing even for the ICO company and even for the participants, it would work both ways for the best interest of both parties and I don't think doing that is difficult at all.

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October 04, 2018, 06:57:00 PM
 #20

Was this method invented prior to your scamming days to identify scam ICOs to host or after you were caught?

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