There’s a widely known fact. That the ICO playground is brimming full of money. And as such it has become a breeding ground for charlatans, scammers, sharks, and fraudsters. And that’s saying it nicely.
Every day, you’re going to bump into news about how a certain ICO exit scammed its supporters. Some ICOs, as honest as they are, have been hacked and left for dead. There’s a whole pack of malware developers with ICOs as their main target.
But that’s not our topic for today.
Today we’re talking about how the crypto world is creating an industry out of milking ICOs, the pay to play system that requires payment before you can put your foot inside the door.
Let’s get this out of the way. Yes, businesses need to charge for their services. We understand that they are not saints doing their services for free. But the enormous amount of times where everything is done under the table is enough to give founders and ICO teams the heebie jeebies. If that is enough to cause worries, the wide open and official expectation that ICOs should literally airdrop money to systemic and institutionalized providers is a valid issue that we as the crypto collective users need to look into.
Fake Followers and Spam
Let’s start with the fake followers. When the Coinvest team got to Telegram, we were approached so many times for fake followers. And Twitter or the good old Facebook is not so different. The operation is always the same -a marketing guy will reach out to you and offer to give you thousands of followers (depending on the price) to give your ICO an aura of dependability and trust. There would also be an existing channel (for either Telegram or Discord) with thousands of members who, for a good amount of money, will offer to spam your links every hour or every day on their channel to get people on your page. It’s quite a good service, considering that they already have your target market on the ready. But for the most part, this is a breeding ground for scammers who only care about getting their ICOs on the front without doing the work and working to create a community for the project.
There’s an enormous amount of self-styled influencers out there. Youtube has a chock full of them. You don’t even have to go out and find them. If you’re an ICO, they will find you. They will knock on your door and present their case in the smoothest possible manner. The Coinvest team was even surprised to find some “very” notable Youtube personalities in the crypto space among them. Pay them good money and they’ll give you a review and a thumbs up. Pay they enormous amount of money and they’ll even actively shill for you for a specified amount of time. Which brings us back again to the question, which among these reviews are real? How are we ever gonna trust a review again? This is prevalent not only Youtube. Where ever you find the word review, you have influencers selling this ICO or another. ICO Bench is a breeding ground for these fake reviews and it’s quite sad. Sooner or later, this practice will catch up with us and will bite us on the head. Once again it’s more deceit and trickery designed to con people and entice them to believe in something which might be headed by a team of thugs or a completely useless product -it doesn’t matter, so long as the influencers are paid.
Exorbitant Listing Amounts on Exchanges
We all know this, good exchanges, with good volume can spell success or disaster for an ICO. And getting listed is one of the hardest hurdles that an ICO can achieve. For every dollar that the Coinvest team has been asked “when exchange” or “when exchange x”, we would have been rich right now. Getting listed in a big exchange is the collective hope of every ICO investor who ever dreams of making it big. The problem is, over the past year, the asking amount for a token or coin listing has grown massively disproportionate to real-world values. Exchanges has been asking us for amounts anywhere from $50k — 1M+ to be listed. There’s an interesting Reddit post that discusses this very same dilemma.
And it’s a real dilemma. This kind of ecosystem sponsors a fake economy, supporting only ICOs who will use investors money to get listed instead of using it to develop the products that they promised to create.
In the end, we’ll have a shitload of shitty coins on the exchange, growing with speculative trading and creating a bubble. And when it pops, well be no nearer to the Satoshi vision and a broken promise of the blockchain changing the world.