Wall Street Journal (WSJ) conducted a study, which examined more than three thousand IPOs of coins (ICO), and found that hundreds of them contain signs of fraud and plagiarism, as well as the promise of incredible profits.
In the study, analysts WSJ downloaded a white paper 3291 cryptocurrency projects, conducted the ICO. White paper is intended for potential investors, the document company in which it represents its position command, and describes the technical details of the project. Document sources were three of the site — ICOBench.com, Tokendata.io and ICORating.com.
Further, the WSJ analyzed the English white paper, and it is excluded from the sample duplicate documents and their versions in other languages. In the journal report describes in detail the method used by analysts:
“To identify the duplicates in other languages, the Journal was comparing the phrase with at least ten unique words from one document to every sentence of the other white paper. After that, the journalists analyzed approximately 10,000 phrases that appeared more than once in 3291 documents, excluding the proposals on technical and legal language. Next Journal compared the dates of the documents to determine which of them was first published certain phrase, and exclude these projects from the database”.
Thus, analysts discovered that 16%, or 513 white paper from 3291 had signs of plagiarism, were going to do, basically, identity theft, and promised unrealistic profits to the investors. 2000 documents contained a promotional phrase, the purpose of which was to attract customer. Among them met such: “nothing to lose”, “guaranteed profit”, “highest profit”, “no risk” and “minimal risks”.
Because of such language, state regulators in the U.S. previously closed or suspended some ICO, and sometimes even brought charges against alleged offenders.
In addition, in their study, the WSJ tried to identify the fake members of the project teams. Suspicion fell on a 343 that was not the main information about team members. In some documents were missing at least some information about them. Journalists held a reverse image search on photos of people associated with these projects, and then used data from the census Bureau of the U.S. population, to determine whether or not they exist.
In September research by GreySpark Partners showed that nearly half of the ICO, established in 2017 and 2018, are unable to raise funds. But 40% of the campaigns managed to attract at least $1 million.