In the wake of Bitcoin’s hearty correction, there are now more than 600 cryptocurrencies that have been erased from the marketplace.
According to Dead Coins, approximately 635 cryptocurrency projects have failed to maintain nodes, been abandoned by developers, scammed, or hacked — any one of the criteria landing the coin in the website’s “deceased” category.
To this effect, in theory one in three ICOs are now destined for failure — with 1602 active cryptocurrencies listed on CryptoSlate as of July 3rd 2018.
Coupled with a market-wide retracement, the market’s expanding graveyard appears not to have dissuaded Initial Coin Offering (ICO) investment, however. With 539 ICOs raising nearly $12 billion, the first six months of 2018 have more than doubled the entirety of 2017’s $5.6 billion ICO contributions.
In the face of a feverous investment landscape, a number of high-profile establishments are appealing for prospective ICO investors to maintain vigilance.
In May, the Wall Street Journal reported 271 of 1450 ICOs reviewed as having “red flags” — projects incorporating plagiarized material, guaranteed return on investment, or “fraudulent tactics to lure investors”. While more these suspect offerings received more than $1 billion from investors, losses totalling $273 million have been reported to lawsuits and legal proceedings.
Smack bang in the middle of New York Blockchain Week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched HoweyCoins — a bogus ICO site incorporating all of the classical “flags”. While seasoned cryptocurrency advocates may cringe at the site’s claims — such as holding a “pre-planned pump” — the SEC’s message appears to have been picked up by a wider audience. A regular commentator on US finance law, attorney Frost tweeted:
HoweyCoin—Too Good To Be True . #VirtualCurrency #HoweyCoin #SEC #ICO #InitialCoinOffering #MaryLundstedt #frostandassociates #taxattorney https://t.co/mHCDMNKbjP
— Frost & Associates (@IRSTaxIssues) June 26, 2018
Not all flagged projects are illegitimate, however. DADI, for one, has remained on the market since February after sidestepping an admission of plagiarism. Weeks before the decentralized cloud computing platform’s ICO, the project ruffled feathers when one prospective contributor discovered parts of the DADI whitepaper had been copied from its closest competitor — SONM. Thrown in with an accusation of a false partnership with Nano, DADI nevertheless concluded a successful $29,000,000 raise on the 29th of January.
Highlighting the order of events, one Twitter user commented:
Red Flags DADI – Think buy or not!
1. It appears as though some of DADI’s whitepaper has been directly copied from SONM’s whitepaper.
2. DADI had claimed a partnership with XRB. XRB have come out publicly and said this is NOT the case.#redflag @dadi #SCAM #ICO #criptocurrency
— @Андрей Колмогоров (@CriptoActive) January 29, 2018
All questions of legitimacy aside, ICOs would appear to remain a wholly lucrative venture. Should an individual have invested into every one of 2017’s 435 ICOs — including failed projects — their net holdings would be up 1320%. In an increasingly regulated ICO market, one might see the eradication of failed coins as a necessary culling — perhaps akin to the dotcom bubble.
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