Charles Bovaird is a highly regarded financial writer and a strong voice in the crypto markets. He’s also a ‘go-to’ advisor on investments and is closely followed on social media by anyone with an interest in crypto finance, so when he speaks up about something, people listen.
This week he has been writing about ICOs for Bitcoin Market Journal, where he gives the low down on why not all ICOs are created equal, indeed, as he says, some of them are simply a scam.
Let the buyer beware
He points out that token sales where the funding figures are never reported publicly are most likely failing, and that a report from Satis Group estimates that 81% of these sales were outright scams.
To help potential ICO investors spot a ‘problem’ ICO, Bovaird uses three examples: Synthestech, OneCoin and Plexcoin. As he says, two of these have been shut down by the government and the third is just obviously fraudulent.
This startup claimed to “have changed chemical elements into others using Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR).” Its ICO wanted to raise $1 million to build a laboratory. Investors receive Synthestech (STT) tokens, which grant owners a right to 36 percent of all profits generated by ST Global Inc. But the problem was that the whitepaper didn’t cite any reliable studies about cold fusion and also claimed that “cold fusion is a shunned scientific topic so of course there are no papers published, and they claimed not to want to give away their secrets.”
OneCoin has been thoroughly discredited internationally for its use of pyramid selling on a massive scale, “commercial fraud, progressive customer recruitment, and money laundering by creating and distributing virtual currency OneCoin.”
Another scam says Bovaird, because “the company backing the token sale, PlexCorps, told investors that buying PlexCoin would produce a more than 1,300 percent return in less than a month.” The SEC froze the ICO and Dominic Lacroix, the creator of PlexCoin got two months in prison. The SEC charge stated that Lacroix and PlexCorp made false and misleading statements, including that their investors could expect “enormous” returns and that their company benefited from a team of experts around the world.
Bovaird’s advice to investors
Bovaird’s advice can easily be summed up as: be sceptical and steer clear of grandiose claims. And evaluate every ICO by looking at the team, the opportunity and the resources.