By Josiah Wilmoth
Initial coin offerings (ICOs) and token generation events (TGEs) offer token buyers a wide range of opportunities to engage in the crypto marketplace, but the growing popularity of ICOs and the often-technical nature of the blockchain ecosystem has led some token buyers to unwittingly contribute to ICO scams.
Below, this article explains three ways token buyers can identify an ICO scam so they can avoid them in the future and ensure they direct their funds toward truly-promising projects:
3 Ways to Identify an ICO Scam
1. The Developers Are Anonymous
The first and most blatant sign of an ICO scam is that the token’s developers are anonymous or otherwise-unknown. While it’s true that the creator of Bitcoin — a pseudonymous individual or group operating under the name Satoshi Nakamoto — did not reveal his true identity, he was able to this because he created a network that did not depend on the trustworthiness of a central authority. This is not the case with ICOs and TGEs. By holding an ICO, a startup is asking token buyers to trust that the developers will deliver a working product instead of running off with their money, so the team should be willing to back up its promises and claims with verifiable identities.
If a team is unwilling to identify itself, token buyers should be very cautious about contributing to the project. While there may be valid reasons to desire this privacy, it is far more likely that their purposes are nefarious. PlexCoin, for instance, declined to reveal the identities of its team members, obfuscating the fact that one of its organizers had run afoul of securities regulations in Quebec on several occasions, both before and during the PlexCoin ICO.
2. The Token Does Not Have a Clear Use Case
Another sign of an ICO scam is that the developers are unable to clearly articulate a valid use case for the token. The token should serve a key purpose in the startup’s platform. If it does not, the token will not sustain its value over the long-term. Related to this problem are tokens that advertise themselves merely as digital currencies without offering any real innovations or improvements upon existing cryptocurrency technology.
3. The Whitepaper Sets Unrealistic Goals
However, even if the token does have a clear use case, token buyers should be wary of startups that advertise overly-optimistic roadmaps. If the whitepaper sets an unrealistic development schedule, it either means the developers are using deceptive tactics to attract token buyers or they lack the necessary experience to give a sensible scope to the project. Either way, this does not bode well for the success of the project and its corresponding token.
To avoid falling prey to ICO scams, token buyers should educate themselves and conduct due diligence before deciding to contribute to a project. Strategic Coin offers numerous resources to assist token buyers with their research, including token analysis reports and exclusive interviews with startups conducting token generation events.
Strategic Coin is your go-to source for information about launching and participating in utility token ICOs. Whether you are a start-up or existing business that desires to enlist the help of a professional utility token ICO advisor or a token buyer who needs help navigating the blockchain space, Strategic Coin will provide you with the resources you need to take advantage of market opportunities within the crypto marketplace.
Tokenizing Your Utility
Featured Image from Nick Youngson