ICOs Still Going Strong in 2018

Despite the slow start and bearish sentiment of the cryptocurrency market this year, apparently ICOs have been going strong.  Various reasons are plentiful for why the ICO market remains this strong and it has me scratching my head.

Some say that serial investors are cashing out and then reinvesting into new ICOs.  Others say new investors from outside the traditional cryptocurrency world are coming into the market.

I am not sure what to think, as someone like myself is shying aware from most ICOs based on my experience that I feel 99% of these are scams and won’t ever deliver anything.  I think most of them are the next dot bombs and it is absolutely right to panic and sell these worthless Ethereum ERC20 tokens.

In ICOs the traditional due diligence is simply not enough.  It is easy to weed out people without IT or business experience.  And from that you have to weed out who has valid experience and qualifications?  Working for big name companies does not make you qualified to deliver on an overly ambitious project, but it does of course help attract investors.  I’ve seen enough big names including the Telegram ICO to be unimpressed (the Telegram ICO tells you to send money and then e-mail them to confirm the transaction……..how on earth will they build a proper blockchain if they can’t make their own API for transactions?).

Sorry for the rant but seriously what is driving the ICO market despite all the bad news?  I suspect it is people in the cryptocurrency world and I suspect they are miners who are thinking “my coins aren’t worth that much at the moment why not invest some of my spare ones into ABC scam ICO in the hopes that it grows and acts as a hedge to my underperforming cryptocurrency”.

That’s the best I can do and I suspect that is what is happening.  There are of course the institutional and whale investors who play a role but it’s unclear to what extent.

Telegram Raises 1.2Billion in unnecessary ICO

I’ve checked their website but not the whitepaper (it took forever and never loaded-why use a PDF and a slow server?) and I’m shaking my head.  There is little to no background on the website about exactly why this coin is needed, what it does or what it solves.

Granted they do say it is fast, allows decentralized apps but there are little details that are discernible to me.  I remain unconvinced that it is really anything but a cash grab like most ICOs are.

It’s hard to figure out if they are trying to be an Ethereum or a currency and how they would do things better?

Based on the website having just about 2 paragraphs of information I am very skeptical but time will tell.  I’m certainly not going to invest based on this information.  The question really remains is why would Telegram even need the money?

Surely they would already have enough to do this project and it should already be done based on their resources.  For that reason alone it reminds me of another regret from FINOM.  FINOM convinced me because they have existing projects up, running and making money and it turned it to be a scam (I never received my tokens and see no evidence of anything being delivered in terms of performance).

Telegram looks to be about the same, they have a working application that is successful.  Why do you need to collect money at all if it’s not just a cash grab?

I think that is the litmus test for judging ICOs which appear to come from trustworthy teams and successful projects.  If they should already have the money and resources and are doing an ICO, they chances are it’s only to collect your coins.

 

300Billion in Market Cap Lost in Cryptocurrency in 2018

Now before we either all panic of HODL our funds I think it’s time to take a step back.  I don’t think cryptocurrency is going anywhere regardless of the bad news and government threats.

But with that said let’s take an even further step back and ask what has worked, what hasn’t worked and why has this happened to the market?

There are a lot of factors but I’ll speak about the ones that I think are most significant.

Bad News

The news is key here because a lot of family and friends are worried that all of us crypto holders have lost all of our money.  Even with Bitcoin around the $7-$10K mark, unless you bought in at the end of last year you’re still probably doing very well.  In general the market for most major currencies is up well over what it was in the first 3 quarters of 2017.  However, there is no denying that the charts look a little bearish but I think there will be a breakout in the coming months.

Government/Finance Manipulation

Much like the news, government and big financiers are having a big impact.  We know hedgefund investors have poured in billions.  Whether by intention or not a lot of them could be pulling money out of certain currencies to create an artificial crash and panic selling.

Too Many ICO Scams

I used to feel the word scam was used too liberally in the digital age of many honest IT companies.   However, in terms of ICO even the Ethereum Founder, Vitaly Buterik says 90% of tokens on his network are scams.  This is a very rational reason that will have a huge chill on investment. I would say blame a good portion of these problems on Ethereum honestly.  The unregulated and wild wild west of ICOs have brought government wrath and regulators banging on the door of all crypto stakeholders.

Lack of Common Sense and Proper Business and IT Practices

It is very clear to me in looking at how a lot of teams and ICOs operate that a good portion of people holding power in the cryptoworld have no clue.  If they did a lot of common sense things would be happening and they simply aren’t.

Such as Coinbase’s decision to open itself and its investors for huge losses and liability by selling Ethereum ERC20 Tokens.

The very idea of “free for all” in the cryptoworld reminds of the 90’s of the wild wild west of the World Wide Web and the lessons I thought we all learned.  Admittedly, and clearly, a lot of people have forgotten or were not old enough to be around for that.

I could say more but it’s so clear that essential business and IT practices have been thrown to the wind.  This is a huge impact on a lot of the issues the cryptoworld has been facing.

The Coming

I am still very optimistic about the long-term crypto outcome, but there are a lot of self-created and external factors at this moment.  I do think it is temporary but a dot bomb in crypto will certainly be repeated and appear.  The currencies and teams who didn’t learn from the 90’s will likely be the first ones swept away, leaving way for the next generation of cryptocurrency that simply just works for people and business.

Donald Trump USA Bans Nicolas Maduro’s Petro Coin

The USA’s President Trump has officially banned the Petro Coin.  This is actually encouraging and not unexpected.  To me it speaks volumes that it can work but is working, otherwise there would be no point in banning it.  Apparently it will also be possible to exchange Petro for the Russian Ruble.  As I suspected I feel strongly that the initial funding largely consisted of China, Russia and Iran and that more support will be ongoing once the coin is launched.

As an investor I am a bit frustrated with this ICO (as I am with most these days) because it took way too long to find information about it and individual investors have been locked out.  They really do risk alienating the audience they were targeting as I am getting frustrated and losing interest fast.  However, the prospects for this first state backed coin remain high and will either boom or bust I predict.  And there will probably be a lot more booming considering what is at stake and the support that Venezuela has.

If the US thought the Petro Coin would be worthless and had no hope of succeeding it’s unlikely they would ban it.  Regardless of what we may personally feel, this is a strategic tactic by the US to stop the first country to try to evade sanctions placed on it.  It will be another precedent if Petro succeeds and other sanctioned countries can freely trade in this similar way or ecosystem created by Venezuela.

Ironically Venezuela is helping to keep the cryptocurrency dream alive which is becoming your own bank and that no one has the right to freeze, take or prevent the spending of your money.

Pablo Escobar’s Brother Trafficks an ICO and new Bitcoin Fork!

Pablo Esobar’s brother makes some very bold claims surrounding his new cryptocurrency launch.

https://www.ccn.com/pablo-escobar-brother-diet-bitcoin/

One of those claims is that Bitcoin was created by the CIA, however this may be contradicted by the fact he also claims he met a Satoshi Nakamoto of Japan.  As proof he shows a Passport bearing the same name:

satoshi-passport

Of course it is possible someone from Japan could be working for the CIA, most people don’t believe a single person created Bitcoin.  So I do think there is credence to believing a large organization such as the CIA or other resourceful and skilled group created Bitcoin (so I call this one plausible).

Some critics have said his website for his coin Diet Bitcoin was nearly copied from the original bitcoin.org and that so are the specs.  I’m going to be fair in that I don’t see how Diet Bitcoin is any worse than other Bitcoin forks such as Bitcoin Gold.  As many know I am against hardforks as I see them as counterfeiting, being confusing and just simply wrong but it also illustrates weaknesses in any currency which can be copied in such a manner (where I believe forks should be impossible to keep the network secure and ensure integrity).

 

 

US Cryptocurrency and ICO Regulations Push Business Overseas

First of all bravo for Coinbase, with a lot at stake itself, for getting this issue right in the following quote:

There is so much uncertainty about the definition of a security and the scope of regulatory control that the market is being chilled. This is bad for everyone because the technology won’t stop — it will simply move overseas and we will miss out on the opportunity to cultivate the benefits in the U.S.

Much like I’ve been saying is that governments who are overly aggressive, ambiguous and don’t create a fair playing field for cryptocurrency and related companies will be sidelined.  Cryptocurrency cannot be contained by borders anymore than the web could be.  Naturally, I do agree certain practical laws and regulations should apply but the laws should be clear and easy to follow.  If companies are essentially being threatened, raided and faced with uncertainty it hurts both the company and investors.  Ultimately as I’ve said before it will drive these huge sums of money away to countries that treat cryptocurrency users, traders and companies well.

There are so many conflicting statements from governments around the world and multiple bodies in the US.  It sometimes seems as if government officials and bankers who have a lot of input in these matters diverge on the matter.  This is OK but it should not be reflected by creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion whether by design or by fluke.

We all see the market has been impacted significantly with nothing but negative press for cryptocurrency but I believe it will resolve on the upside as investors realize it isn’t going anywhere and no single government or bank can ever stop it.  In fact I predict that the market may just start using more privacy and security based coins and trade them exclusively and directly for goods, bypassing fiat altogether.  Ironically this is probably the last thing governments and banks want but this is where all of this action is heading towards in my opinion.

 

SEC Helps and Hinders ICO’s with Reg-A+

Basically the SEC is making it easier for cryptocurrencies to legally IPO with an ICO if that makes sense.  They have lifted the caq from 50 million to 75 million and a few ICOs have already launched under this rule.  The SEC’s aggressive pursuit of cryptocurrency projects, traders and exchanges will either have one of two effects in my opinion.

  1. The SEC could create a strong cryptocurrency ecosystem if it is fair with its rules and regulations.  This would be positive for the US cryptocurrency market.
  2. The SEC could completely alienate cryptocurrency users, traders and exchanges and force the majority of money to move offshore and this would be disasterous for the US economy but not necessarily cryptocurrency in the longterm.

It is concerning that the SEC seems to be going after even large firms and ICOs like tZero.  If they are trying to show no one will be exempt they’re doing a good job but they’re also giving incentive to ICOs and related business to move away from SEC jurisdiction.  Another concern is that the SEC as a branch of the US government can now legally and literally censor ICOs.  If an ICO is coming out that restores free speech and the US government doesn’t like this do you think they will be allowed to ICO by the SEC?  It could lead to far more than just financial consequences very quickly.

Only time will tell where things head but so far I suspect things are heading out of the SEC jurisdiction and people, especially investors, may view US cryptocurrency companies as a ticking time bomb or at least a liability.

 

FINOM ICO Review and Regrets

This was a very expensive ICO at $2 per token.  It supposedly includes a NOM and FIN coin for each purchase.  So far there haven’t been many real updates about when we’ll receive these tokens.  All I do know at this point is that one of them will be locked for a year.  The cost was very high so I certainly hope this wasn’t a scam designed to collect a large amount of coins (as many ICOs are).  I hope they will go ahead with their projects and that this coin will return well.  Since the price was so high investors now have extremely high expectations over more reasonably priced ICOs.  Can the team deliver or do they even care to?  Time will tell but if my experience with an overpayment is an indication this team may not be honest or trustworthy as is the case with the majority out there unfortunately.

I’m a user of Nanopool and that’s how I found this ICO but I am already having regrets but let’s get into what FINOM claims to be.

They claim they merged the 3 projects into what is called FINOM with Mining (Nanopool), Cryptonit (their own cryptoexchange) and, Tabtrader (Banking).

I know nothing about the other projects but Nanopool works well.  What’s weird and good is that Nanopool seems to be Chinese based since it has an ICP license.

The troubling part is the question is who is really running these projects and company?  It’s not clear, they claim to be from Switzerland yet Nanopool is a Chinese website so there is Chinese ownership.  When looking at who is behind Finom most of them appear to be extremely young people.  The issue for me is why did they register in Switzerland when the entire team seems to have no connection there?  Was it to artificially build trust?  This is concerning because as far as I can tell they all really appear to be based in China and other parts of the world so why try to hide this?

Screenshot-Nanopool - Mozilla Firefox

Why am I upset?

Well first of all I feel silly but frustrated with Ethereum when I was trying to send to this ICO the Ethereum network was “congested” as it often is.  When I was trying to send I kept seeing in the console that the transaction was rejected so I kept trying.  However I didn’t realize the Ethereum wallet doesn’t show pending transactions and may attempt to send more ETH than your account has if you keep sending small amounts that are pending.

I ended up sending more ETH than I intended to them which are of course worth far more now.  I opened a support ticket explaining what had happened only to be ignored after several attempts:

 

FINOM-Scam

After a month of waiting for support I e-mailed the “hello@finom.io” that they encourage you to use on their website but that didn’t work.

Then I started getting SPAM from the owner who appears to be overseas and thought I’d reply directly to the owner.

Finom-KirillSuslov-Support-Scam-Ignoring-Investors

Unfortunately like most crypto projects and companies they are always content to collect your coins, they’ll SPAM you and create an impression that they an honest and community driven project but usually it couldn’t be driven further from the truth.

Experiences like these drive investors like me to not only become frustrated but we become less likely to invest in new projects going forward.

It’s hard to tell skeptics concerned about scams and fraud that it doesn’t happen or to justify that “most ICOs and most crypto players are honest” when in terms of IT, support and communication I haven’t seen anything more arrogant or dishonest than experiences like these.  It’s a world where our IT projects and clients would not tolerate this treatment and it’s only a matter of time before investors vote with their wallets out of both genuine fear and frustration.

 

Why I Didn’t Get In On QASH Coin from Quoine/Liquid ICO

I actually saw this ICO days before but got very frustrated why it was so complicated.  I still struggle to figure out what’s what with so many terms and names behind this project.

To break it down they are the following as I understand it.

  1. Quoine is the name of the company at Quoine.com
  2. QASH Coin is the name of their token
  3. Liquid is the name of their trading platform at https://liquid.plus ….no clue what it is for
  4. Qryptos is actually the name of their trading site (all of this is super confusing and extremely frustrating in my opinion-it would be very easy for a phishing attack to be successful when these companies have several different sites and names associated with a project)

What initially stopped me from even getting in was the fact they force you to signup for their exchange and want your ID so I didn’t complete it.

However with their fantastic marketing of the ICO following I did proceed and one thing I give them is that my ID was approved fast (I believe within a day or less).  However they were advertising an ICO that was over which wasn’t at all clear until after poking around their site.  I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t buy the coins (this is not a normal ICO where you just send coins to a certain address).

The most confusing thing is that there was still an ICO section that made it look like you could buy the tokens which never worked.

Qryptos-QASH-ICO-Fail

I eventually assumed I needed BTC to buy their coin but that didn’t work either.

Then I e-mailed their support (like most Crypto teams/ICOs/Companies they never replied to this day).

Quoine-No-Support

That’s not entirely true though they have been sending me SPAM happily and even an angry e-mail about the issue being ignored before was ignored by the person sending the SPAM.  To me it’s absolute confirmation that this company doesn’t care about its users or investors.

Quoine-No-Support1

Their system

In all honesty their exchange worked fairly well outside of the ICO fail.  When I went to withdraw my BTC I was a bit miffed at how there was some delay for security reasons they said which seemed to imply human intervention was required to release my funds.  This makes me worry that you could run into a situation where your funds could be held.   With this company being from Japan I don’t trust it because I was thinking Mt. Gox bad (the famous Bitcoin scam/heist of a large Japanese trading site).  It is also weird that their address is in Singapore but it is a Japanese company.

I think this is the “typical ICO” which I will definitely avoid.  I’m certain I am not the only upset and frustrated investor with how these companies treat their investors.  To me it screams of arrogance and simply not caring/poor customer service that you could send large amounts of money and they won’t even give you an answer or any help at all.

And for that reason I don’t really trust their system or their company if they can just ignore you like that.  What if you are using their exchange and something else goes wrong such as your coins going missing or a withdrawal that doesn’t work? I’d expect there would be no response just like the issue I had with their ICO.

In terms of performance their coin has done quite well, it would have been a good investment if I could have only purchased their coins but it wasn’t meant to be.

The future of this company is unclear like many in this industry and it will depend on their service (or lack of it) which I suspect will do many exchanges and crypto companies in the coming years.