BlockBroker: 5 star rated anti-ICO-scam ICO was a scam
BlockBroker backers got exactly what they paid for.
A project called BlockBroker has just pulled off a very meta exit scam.
It touted itself as an anti-scam platform, designed to imbue buyers with complete confidence in ICO picks "and completely eliminate ICO fraud by creating a 100% safe investment environment".
"BlockBroker is the world’s first decentralized ICO investment platform [it's not] and it is going to change the way people invest in ICOs [it might]," the project synopsis reads.
That synopsis can be found on some ICO tracking sites such as TrackICO, which was just one ICO review site among many to give it a perfect 5-star rating.
"BBK will strengthen the industry allowing the promising crowdsales to shine through and ensure that fraudulent ICOs don’t get an opportunity to tarnish the booming industry. All of the ICOs we support are handpicked by our team of experienced professionals so that our users can be 100% confident of a safe and prosperous investment environment."
It was obviously a scam even before the sale ended, with tokens being sent directly to the EtherDelta exchange as the sale progressed. Someone went to the project Telegram account to point out that everyone was basically just dumping their money into a hole in the ground, but was quickly cast out for "spreading FUD".
BlockBroker buyers clearly just wanted someone to tell them which ICOs are safe and which are scams, so in a way, they got exactly what they paid for. For a service fee, BlockBroker backers received 100% clear confirmation that it was a scam.
What can be learned from this?
One of the main lessons might be that there are no depths of irony too low for a scammer to stoop to.
Other than that:
- Never, ever, ever trust any ICO review site whatsoever, ever. When they're not scams themselves, they can be easily bought or outright fooled. They might give useful information, but trusting an ICO review site means outsourcing common sense. If you're not doing the legwork yourself or using the help of a third party that you are absolutely 100% certain you can trust, you might as well just save time by buying at random.
- Don't expect anything from official communications, Telegrams or social media channels. They are careful to silence all contrary opinions. You won't find any useful red flags there.
But most of all, it's not enough to run through a checklist without thinking. A cached version of the now-removed BlockBroker website shows that they took care to tick the boxes people typically look for. They had a whitepaper, team section, roadmap and token breakdown. Just blindly ticking those boxes, and checking for some green tick or star score on some random ICO review site is a very good way to get scammed.
Before buying into an ICO, it's worth taking a moment to ask oneself whether it's obviously just total garbage. If it is, it might be better to not give it money.
USEFULL Block Broker is about to change the world of ICO investments forever!!!" - BlockBroker on itself.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC, NANO