Two sad pieces of news have caught my attention recently, both regarding the shady world of ICOs.
The first story was of an ICO failing to sell any tokens at all and resorting to selling the project on eBay. It claims that the project’s social media channels and thousands of lines of code are its selling point.
The second story was that the former CEO of Enron is investigating a blockchain project one month after being released from prison. This is the same CEO who presided over one of the biggest fraud scandals in recent memory.
Whilst it is easy to get excited about the progress cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are making and the vibrant industry we have now, there is still a plague of what is frankly scammy behaviour. Such news usually gets more clicks from the mainstream media as they can portray it as evidence of the immaturity of the industry.
Unsurprisingly, the ICO listed on eBay is yet to receive any bids. What is of even more interest though is the quote from the founder who states: “The core business model would run just as well in the centralised world without any tokens or crypto on the blockchain.”
Such is the state of many ICO projects that there isn’t actually any need for them. One positive is that this ICO has performed so badly it has resorted to selling itself on eBay, suggesting people are potentially wisening up and ICOs are struggling.
Binance’s launch of new ICOs would seemingly go against this narrative though, as the recent Celer Network token launch raised $4 million in 18 minutes. However, the price of the Celer Network token fell 80% as soon as the ICO finished.
The former CEO of Enron is reported to be investigating blockchain usage in the oil and energy sector. Ironically, one use case of blockchain technology is that it can help with auditing, the precise crime he was found guilty of and spent more than 12 years in prison for.
Whilst there is a level of oddness in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, from McAfee’s whale obsession to an ICO on eBay, these kinds of stories don’t bode particularly well for us. We still have some way to go before we see these oddities removed.