In my previous articles on BitcoinTalk, we’ve covered what the forum can be used for and how to get started. We discussed that the Forum created by Satoshi has been home to multiple milestones and it continues on today as a treasure trove of research, discussion, services, and bounties.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to use the information on BitcoinTalk in evaluating ICOs.
First, its always important to do a very comprehensive and ridiculous amount of research before even remotely considering investing any money in any ICO projects. This is a highly unregulated area, with multiple ways for schemers to disappear and stay hidden after running away with your money. This is the highest level of risk in the world of investments you can possibly find. Proceed with caution.
Now, not every project will be on BitcoinTalk. As I mentioned in my previous articles, despite its importance in the crypto world, many still don’t know of its existence.
A project not having an Announcement on BitcoinTalk is not necessarily a negative. A project that has no presence whatsoever when you do a search on BitcoinTalk, means they are probably way too early in their development to warrant investment at this point.
There are multiple ways to evaluate an investment and I dont want to make it seem that using BitcoinTalk is all you need to determine if a project is investment worthy. The discussion below will help save time on determining what is most DEFINITELY a ponzi scheme, and what kind of projects merit further investigation.
This is your easy homework — your cheat sheet for finding the cheats. Some great contributors like ICOEthics, Coolcryptovator, and morvillz7z have spent a great deal of time proving that this ⚠ List of SCAM ICO! [PROVED] is 100% dependable. Your first line of defense in evaluating an ICO is to make sure its not already a proven MLM/Ponzi scheme.
You might be wondering how they can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that an ICO is a fraud. Well… most fraudsters have one trait in common…they are amazingly lazy. Incredibly lazy. Like “Oh my god, I can’t believe people are falling for this scam” lazy. They will plagiarize whitepapers, copy existing websites, and make fake teams.
Multiple Scams use this stock image from an ICO template
“Team” is the number 1 indicator of a ICO scam. It’s the hardest to fake. You can’t magically get a group of high value experienced individuals to come together and agree to work on a common project without a considerable amount of effort and planning. I dont want to imply that a team of lesser known, less experienced individuals is a scam, but schemers will aim high and try to pass off very accomplished people as part of their team.
The lazy part comes in when they copy existing teams in their totality from another project. With a quick google search or reverse image lookup you can find the original source in most cases. Some of the criminals will take it a step further and swap out pictures, but again these can be quickly identified. (I love seeing the pictures of a bearded man named Maria as the CTO)
Samantha has seen better days
Stolen identities are one level higher, where fraudsters will post real people’s information and social links. They are betting that you wont bother to click on the links. They are betting that people wont look to see if there is actual involvement. Check twitter and LinkedIn whenever you can. Make sure that the people are at least actually working on the project. Take it one step further and reach out or follow their social media accounts. This is the easiest part of the work for us, and the hardest part for them.
The raw amount of detective work that goes into each accusation is astounding. This forum really is your best friend in doing research into ICOs. The Scam Accusations thread is where there is an ensuing investigation into an ICO. It’s not a 100% known that they are a fraud, but the fact that they are on the thread is a really bad start. Use this resource to read more and see what people don’t like about each project.
If you happen to discover an ICO, service, or other member of the crypto community that is 100% a scam artist(or suspect that they are) it is your responsiblity to inform the community.
ICO Name:Scammer Website:Archived Website:ICO status: (Exit / Live / upcoming )Bitcointalk Profile:ANN Tread:Archived ANN:Bounty Thread : Archived Bounty:Valid Reason of Accusation:Describe briefly about accusation with solid proof/image/screenshots : Source links:
Linkedln/profile Link of team with name:Domain Information:
Some great resources for scam detection on BTT:
Now that we are safely out of the scam zone (or at least the lazy scam zone), we now need to evaluate the value of the projects that are most likely legit.
Social media presence can be misleading. Facebook likes, Telegram members, Twitter followers can all be manipualted or purchased in bulk. The same goes for BitcoinTalk, albeit it being a lot harder since there is a higher barrier to entry there. Despite all of these factors being malleable with enough cash, what can’t be faked is intelligent activity. What we should be looking for in any discussion in BTT Announcement threads are:
As I mentioned before, many highly reputable projects do not have an Announcement Thread on BitcoinTalk. That being said, you will almost always find good projects are mentioned somewhere in the forum. By searching for the name or the domain of the project you are interested (and be careful, many names of projects have been recycled multiple times), you’ll be able to see all the mentions throughout time.
BitcoinTalk is a great resource, but its only one of the many tools in your arsenal for evaluating a new potential investment. There are huge risks involved when looking at putting your money into any project; there are less protections and more ways for people to take off with your money without any repercussion. It is your duty to research intensely. This post by Kristen_Colwell is a great list of directions to follow
These are the bare minimum you should expect when evalauting a retail investment. Market fit and execution risk are some of the other factors you will need to evaluate and research. I cannot stress enough how impossible it is to find a “sure bet” in ANY asset class. If you are determined to put your hard earned money here, make sure that the easy areas of evaluation have been passed with flying colors. Not even one red flag should be tolerated when it comes to getting involved. Keep your money and your identity safe.
This was part 3 of the “Satoshi’s 2nd Gift” guides
I’m going to explore the following topics in more detail in subsequent articles:
-BitcoinTalk: A Crypto Marketer’s most essential tool
-Services: What’s available and how to choose them
-Bounties: How to make crypto millions without investing
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article