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.

 

Mercatox Cryptocurrency Exchange Review

I found Mercatox because they were one of the few that had some coins I wanted to buy but have since given up out of both frustration and lack of trust.  Unfortunately in traditional form these smaller exchanges are usually broken or worse, some are often unreliable or outright scams.

The first notice I saw was a warning of “not to deposit to old BTC addresses due to security issues”.  It is good to warn your users but why couldn’t they secure their own wallet?

So why not send some ETH?  Oops it’s not working.

Mercatox-ETH-Deposit-Not-Available

Dogecoin is “Not Available”

LTC is “Under Maintenance”.

Mercatox-Broken

So basically you have an exchange that isn’t working from the start and can’t accept deposits.

That’s when I clicked the “Logout” button as fast as I could, never to return to Mercatox.  I’d rather not deal with the myriad of other issues that are the symptom of problems at the front end.  This is also because in the cryptoworld 9/10 companies will never help you no matter what (eg. missing coins, deposits, withdrawals) good luck unless you sue them (if you can find them since most are anonymous without real contact information or ownership).

 

 

Bitcoin Gold Scam Heist – Who Should Be Held Responsible?

For those who don’t know Bitcoin Gold is yet another fork from Bitcoin.  As many users warned even before this, with BCH (Bitcoin Cash) to be careful of these coins because they have NO official wallet and rely on random third party wallets.  Particular there were warnings for BCH that if you try claiming your free BCH that a bad wallet creator could take your wallet.dat to steal your actual BTC (Bitcoins) so prudent users moved money from their original wallet before claiming.

With Bitcoin Gold the issue was different, there was no wallet (I have no idea how so many projects don’t have their own guaranteed, safe original wallets) so people were understandably looking to get into BTG with a wallet.  One such wallet was “mybtgwallet.com” who the BTG team recommended on their website and Twitter.

JohnDassbtg

This wallet was apparently created by someone they claimed to work with and a developer named “John Dass”, essentially the wallet asked users to upload keys and passwords for their other currencies and ultimately many people lost a lot of money totaling in the millions of various coins including Bitcoin and Ethereum.  The BTG team seems to dispute this version of events and claim John Dass was not a developer but then why and how can some random person declare themselves a developer and scam users so easily?  This is a big part of the basis of the lawsuit against the BTG team.

Making matters worse, their official Twitter account advised the mybtgwallet was safe to use.  Deleted Tweet sourced from here:

BitcoinGoldRecommends-mybtgwallet-scam-walletbtg2

Lots of users on Reddit began calling the BTG team out and some have apparently filed a lawsuit.

WARNING: Bitcoin Gold’s official website linked to a scam wallet that stole user funds, including my own, for weeks. from BitcoinMarkets

I don’t see that BTG has been up front about the issue.  It’s been reported that the BTG team did their best to silence news of this and threatened the victims that they wouldn’t be compensated if they made their experience public.  If that is true it really speaks volumes about the project, team, trustworthiness and integrity of the coin.

If the Reddit community and experiences are true as posted online then I would say BTG is liable for the losses for many reasons with aggravating factors being that they did little to vet, warn or stop this scam from happening and have appeared to have not helped the victims.

 

Screenshot-CRITICAL WARNING - Bitcoin Gold - Mozilla Firefox

What are my personal thoughts and opinion?

Looking at their team profile looks has little to no information.  Most projects at least have a bio and more info about their background.

Their lead developer is named “h4x3rotab” with no picture or info at all so I’m very skeptical.

Screenshot-Team - Bitcoin Gold - Mozilla Firefox

I’ve reached out to the BTG team and will post any response if any.

Issues with Buying from China

I’ve been buying things from China for years both in person and online and can tell you there are both very honest people, companies and also just as many if not more who are not honest. Herein lays what I believe is one of China’s biggest issue to sustainable cross-border e-Commerce in my opinion and experience.

One of the biggest issues still exists today on say Aliexpress, you want to buy a pair of pants for your kids or wife, or a carpet. They show you fantastic looking pictures and my wife asks if I think it’s a good idea. My answer is always “If the picture they show is really what you get and the other specs and sizes are correct then yes”. I’ve gone for an advid consumer to a skeptical one who tends to buy more locally or from more trusted sources and known brands for certain items.

The first time I remember encountering this was buying a nice Hello Kitty for my daughter. What we received had a completely different design and outfit. The seller as per normal from China “apologized and promised a discount next time”. This is what scares me about their business model. I replied and said they have to give us a discount now or there won’t be a next time. They broke my trust by sending the wrong item and then expected future business without making this issue right. This has happened enough times from eBay and Aliexpress that I rarely buy anything because the hassle of disputing and trying to get your money back is just not worth it especially since so many items are not as pictured or even the correct size or of horrible quality. You end saying for the time and hassle there are no savings there’s no point in ordering anything.

For example if I’m looking for a certain make and model and electronic and the seller is known to sell authentic goods then I have no issue buying it because I know I’ll get exactly what I expect and paid for with no hassle (usually……… more on this later). So this is how I’ve proceeded, generally with good luck knowing that there are fakes of almost every electronic, obviously some things are more or less likely to be faked.

The impetus for this article started when I first embarked on a journey to buy a popular Chinese phone the One Plus 5 with 8GB/128GB in September. I tried to buy it from GeekBuying ( a highly recommended site on internet forums ) only to be told that they won’t honor the price and randomly want more money. The amount they asked for actually became more than purchasing from other sellers at the time.

Here is what happened at GeekBuying and they refused to honor the price and then proceeded to offer a discount code that actually made items cost more.

Thank you for shopping at Geekbuying.
We are so sorry that the Oneplus 5 A5000 cost has increased. Really apologize about this embarrassment situation and we hope that you agree to make up the difference $25 and we can continue the shipment as soon as possible.
Please note that the extra difference is already with 20% discount which Geekbuying takes the partial responsibility.
Would you like us to send you the email link to pay 25$?
Looking forward to your early reply.
Inconvenience regretted.

Cecilia
Customer Service Representative
Geekbuying
www.geekbuying.com

Asking around on Reddit and searching showed this is a common practice at least with phones with Geekbuying. I had to open a PayPal dispute because they would not provide a refund when I asked for it.

GeekBuying.com Price Increase Scam from chinaphones

 

So what next – I tried GearBest.com

GearBest is also a highly recommended place to buy mentioned all over the internet so I paid $539.99 from there.  It has now been 34 days and I haven’t received the phone.  Attempts at getting answers from them just refer me to “check the tracking and wait” essentially even though their 22-25 business days period has now expired.  Some have accused GearBest of giving out fake tracking numbers and hoping people don’t follow up on their orders.  I think this may be possible, I was given a tracking number from Singapore Post, it shows an item arrived in Canada about 3 weeks ago but Canada Post has no record of it at all.  It’s really not normal for Singapore Post to take this long.  As a final resort I’ve opened a dispute with Paypal to which there has been no response for.  Fearing this is truly a scam I’ve shown everything to PayPal and am awaiting their decision and I truly hope their buying protection works.

I never imagined this would happen to me or that I’d receive nothing at all with a potentially fake tracking number.

Customer service from most of the sellers of I’ve had issues with in China has been either unresponsive, unhelpful or even rude.

So what now?

This experience has kind of been the tipping point of my opinion of dealing in ecommerce with Chinese sellers.  The level of trust, honesty and service is woefully lacking and I believe is a huge threat to China’s business going forward.  If these sellers want a long-term sustainable business they simply have to change their ways as buyers like me are completely turned off and moved away from buying items from China for fear of being scammed and the hassle and frustration that goes along with it.

A lot of the manufacturers do not seem to be interested in knowing that their so-called resellers or distributors are not being honest or fair.  In fact when complaining about issues from both to OnePlus and Vorke, neither company replied or commented at all.

This kind of practice is simply unsustainable and if people like me will no longer buy from China others will follow.  It’s only a matter of time before fake reviews, blog posts and forums will catch up with unscrupulous companies and it unfortunately taints the entire industry and hurts everyone.

I’ve learned my lesson I will definitely not buy from other websites unless someone I personally know can assure me their experience has been good.  I will continue to stick to eBay and Aliexpress but will continue to be careful and try to buy as little as possible.  Whenever possible I now favor a more local seller who I trust over an overseas seller.

China’s eCommerce is still maturing and to put it in perspective there was a time when eBay was full of scams too.  It takes time to get it right but hopefully this happens sooner than later.  As always in general, buyer beware of internet reviews and recommendations and this will continue to change the online marketing landscape and trust factor.