It hasn’t taken very long for initial coin offerings (ICOs) to revolutionize investment. In less than a year, the new crowdfunding model has already surpassed early-stage venture capital. As the market expands, investors can expect more exciting opportunities in the fin-tech domain. They can also expect a huge influx of imposters looking to take advantage of the hype.
The author has taken special interest in ICO scams in recent weeks after it came to light that ToTheMoon (TMT) essentially lifted, verbatim, Giga Watt’s entire whitepaper and website copy. The imposters also listed several professionals as part of their managerial and advisor teams. These individuals have since been alerted that their name and/or picture has been used by the TMT scam.
Cryptonomos Statement Regarding TMT Scam
Cryptonomos, the platform that hosted the Giga Watt token sale, recently contacted Hacked.com regarding the latest developments. In an email to Jonas Borchgrevink, the Cryptonomos team had the following to say in reference to TMT:
[W]e would like to caution people that the market for ICOs is now being targeted by scammers and fraudsters who can frequently be identified by red flag behaviors such as the one’s described above.”
In addition to the verbatim copy/paste job and stealing of individual profiles, investors can expect these elaborate schemes to contain an active social media presence, sleek websites and a responsive PR team. That’s exactly what TMT delivered, even going as far as contacting Jonas over the initial story we ran last week.
Although it’s not always easy to spot an ICO scam, running a simple Google search of the website copy or whitepaper content is a good idea. Looking up the team members on LinkedIn is another good approach. Carefully evaluating the business plan as well as escrow conditions are also important.
Hacked.com has a growing list of legitimate ICOs listed here. Be sure to check this page for the latest ratings on legitimate ICOs.
ToTheMoon (TMT) ICO Scam: Update and Revelations
Last week, Hacked.com alerted investors that ToTheMoon (TMT) is a scam. A quick Google search reveals that several members of the blockchain community have already exposed the company. As it turns out, the project is a verbatim copy of Giga Watt (GTT) – from the website right down to the whitepaper.
It didn’t take long for TMT to respond. Shortly after we released the article exposing them, Jonas Borchgrevink received an email from a TMT representative claiming we had falsely accused them of fraud. The representative said the company invites anyone to come visit their facility on opening day (October 15).
So, I did a little bit more digging.
As it turns out, one of TMT’s listed advisors is a professor at a major university located three hours from me. It wasn’t very difficult to find his email. I quickly messaged him explaining the situation. He responded the next day saying he had never heard of the company, that they were using his name/picture without consent and that he was only affiliated with one cryptocurrency project. TMT definitely wasn’t it! This should lay to rest any doubt about our initial analysis of the company.
At the time of writing, TMT’s website is still up and running, and so are its social media channels.
The Securities and Exchange (SEC) commission has warned investors about potential scams in the fast-growing ICO market. Although the share of legitimate companies far outweighs the bad apples, we all need to work together to identify firms that are out to steal money. It bears reminding that investors must tread carefully nonetheless. In the meantime, we will continue to issue ICO Ratings of legitimate companies.
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