Thomas Hughes

Binance Set to Launch Own Blockchain And Decentralized Exchange (DEX)

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has confirmed they will be launching a DEX platform built on top of Binance Chain
Binance Set to Launch Own Blockchain And Decentralized Exchange (DEX)

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has confirmed they will be launching a DEX platform built on top of Binance Chain, an upcoming Blockchain where BNB (Binance Coin) will be the native coin. The DEX is likely to be released in early 2019.

Succeeding the announcement, BNB has spiked more than 25%, but most of the gains have been erased in a retracement that soon followed.

Chart Analysis – BNB/USD

Chart Analysis – BNB/USD

After the announcement and the initial rally, Binance Coin (BNB) dropped almost 14% (last 24 hours) against the US Dollar, trading currently at 5.54, from a high of 6.67.

The drop can still be considered a retracement, which is normal after a strong move up, but it has some worrying elements: firstly, this it is a very deep correction, which may endanger the current uptrend (the chart above is Hourly, but from a 4-hour perspective we are not dealing with an uptrend). And secondly, the bearish move has broken the previous support zone between 5.80 – 5.85.

All this suggests that a break of 5.50 would almost nullify the climb and would make way for an extended drop into 5.00. To the upside, the first victory would be a break above 5.85, which will open the door for a re-test of the highs during the days to come.

Support zone: 5.50

Resistance zone: 5.80 – 5.85

Most likely scenario: bounce higher after a failed break of 5.50

Alternative scenario: all gains are erased, and the pair moves into 5.00 territory

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Darryn Pollock

Can State-Backed Cryptocurrencies Work, Are They the Answer?

Some regulators are going as far as to make their own cryptocurrencies, is this a viable option?
Can State-Backed Cryptocurrencies Work, Are They the Answer?
Contents

When Russia firstly banned access to cryptocurrency exchanges and then announced that they would be launching a state-backed cryptocurrency called the Crypto Rubel, most were very suspicious and dubious.

But the trend is growing. Venezuela is ahead in the race of these state-backed coins, having launched a pre-sale of the Petro, an oil-pegged cryptocurrency launched by the government.

Now, even the Turkish government is mulling over perhaps building their own state-backed cryptocurrency as a way to maintain regulation and control over the burgeoning Blockchain and crypto space.

However, is this not an oxymoronic term, a state-backed’ and therefore centralized, cryptocurrency. One of the biggest appeals of cryptocurrencies is that they are decentralized and absent from control, but perhaps to fit in, this needs to change?

The issue with decentralization and centralization

Decentralization, when Bitcoin was still being discussed on cryptography forums with hushed anarchistic and liberal tones, was the shining light of possibility for the cryptocurrency. Financial freedom and the power to cut loose from the monopoly that had been built by central banks and governments.

It is also one of the major factors as to why those same banks and governments have feared Bitcoin, knowing that it has the potential to be a true competitor. However, it must be stated, that there is still a long way to go for Bitcoin or any other coin, to make banks and fiat currency obsolete.

However, cryptocurrencies have emerged from the shadows somewhat in recent times, gaining a huge amount of momentum and mainstream appeal. This has lead to regulators being forced to act and to do their job.

Some regulators are going with a hard-line approach, such as China with its blanket bans, others are curious but want it to fit into current legislation, which is problematic as a decentralized platform is hard to control. But overall, most regulators and nations want to encourage cryptocurrencies and especially Blockchain.

State-backed

In light of this keenness to see Blockchain thrive it is understandable why governments believe that a state-backed coin can be the answer. They are happy to see Blockchain thrive, and as such, cryptocurrencies, and also believe that they can regulate to their standards if they are the ones in charge of the new cryptocurrency.

However, it is good in theory but possibly won’t work. Already, the Petro is getting a lot of pushback and criticism, and now, the Russian Crypto Rubel is being touted as a potential non-starter.

The creation of a centralized coin, like the CryptoRuble, seems impossible, as cryptocurrencies are based on decentralized ledgers, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told President Putin, according to Russian media.  

Hard to get buy in

Regardless of the need for a balance between the crypto community, which is after decentralization, and the regulators, who need control, the idea of a state-backed coin, a centralized one, is a little too weighted to the regulators.

What is more needed is a positive regulatory body that maintains decentralization, but also holds cryptocurrencies under the legislative blanket of the country

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Darryn Pollock

SEC Looking for Crypto to Straighten Out Before Giving Green Light to ETFs

The SEC has kept a level head in fielding questions and concerns about crypto, indicating that there needs to be some changes before they dive straight in
SEC Looking for Crypto to Straighten Out Before Giving Green Light to ETFs
Contents

It was not that long ago that the SEC gave its opinion and standing on cryptocurrencies, and their findings were predominantly positive, especially for the major coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum. They were less thrilled with ICOs and coins arising from them, quickly labeling them as securities.

But, the man in the front line between Cryptos and regulators at the SEC, Jay Clayton, has always shown a level and calculated head, not allowing himself or his organisation to be swayed either way.

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have gone from rejecting regulation, to trying to embrace it, to even imploring the likes of the SEC to get on board for something like the long-awaited Bitcoin ETF. However, probably rightly so, Clayton is still cautious, but not dismissive.

The SEC chairman said at the Consensus Invest Conference in Manhattan this week that there would need to be some changes in the way the cryptocurrency market runs before the SEC would consider allowing a BTC ETF.

Issues like market manipulation and custody issues surrounding exchanges with hacks are still rife in the current climate. Clayton’s assertions are fair and well reasoned, as he is looking for the commodity on which an ETF would be based on to be free and fairly traded.

Cause for concern

Clayton is looking for a few things to be straightened out in the cryptocurrency market before he is willing to approve an investment vehicle like an ETF for Bitcoin. His first concern comes in under market surveillance, as most cryptocurrency exchanges don't use the same monitoring tools as stock exchanges, so Clayton said investors may not get a fair assessment of bitcoin's price.

"What investors expect is that trading in the commodity that underlies that ETF makes sense and is free from the risk of manipulation," Clayton said at the Consensus Invest Conference. "It's an issue that needs to be addressed before I would be comfortable."

Clayton also went on to address the issues of exchanges which have had a chequered past in the history of Bitcoin, including major hacks of digital funds at Mt. Gox and Coincheck, to name the two biggest.

"We've seen some thefts around digital assets that make you scratch your head," Clayton added. "We care that the assets underlying that ETF have good custody, and that they're not going to disappear."

Already working on it

What is good to see is that even before Clayton made his concerns public, there is already evidence of these two major issues being addressed.

In April, Nasdaq announced a collaboration with digital currency exchange Gemini, founded by early Bitcoin investors Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron Winklevoss. The deal gives Gemini access to Nasdaq's surveillance technology to help make sure the platform provides a fair and rules-based marketplace for their own participants.

Furthermore, exchanges issues are being tackled, both in the States and abroad, with the likes of Japan and South Korea coming down heavily on poorly run businesses.

A good example of more stringent exchanges is Fidelity, who said in October that they were launching a separate company to handle cryptocurrency custody and trade execution for institutional investors.

Coinbase, Gemini, BitGo, Ledger and ItBit are among those already working on similar solutions.

Moving forward

Despite the poor performance in the price of Bitcoin currently, it is pleasing to see that even the likes of the SEC and Clayton are cautiously, but positively, waiting for things to be better and grounded in steady footing in the cryptocurrency space.

The way in which Bitcoin skyrocketed in December last year was never sustainable or even operable in the long run, as it was fueled by greed and left out key fundamentals of an emerging market and technology.

The fact that institutionalised groups and regulators are now involved and taking it slow and steady indicates there is still large room for growth going ahead.

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🎤 Interviews Katya Michaels

Blockchain Video Streaming as Ecosystem of Value Exchange: CryptoComes talks to Verasity

🎤 Interviews
Verasity co-founders David Orman and Adam Simmons share their vision of a Blockchain video streaming platform
Blockchain Video Streaming as Ecosystem of Value Exchange: CryptoComes talks to Verasity
Contents

As euphoric ideas about possible Blockchain applications proliferate, many startups hope to become the ones to replace major, lucrative platforms - the Googles, Amazons and Facebooks of today’s reality - with something more transparent, fair, decentralized and community based. The race for the next “Youtube” is heating up as well, with many players entering the field. CryptoComes spoke to Verasity co-founders David Orman and David Simmons about the not-so-distant future of Blockchain powered video streaming.

Katya Michaels: How did you arrive at the application of Blockchain technology to video streaming? How does Blockchain help achieve your goals with the platform?

David Orman: Our team has a deep research and technical background in the video space. We've been building a white-label video player, which needs advanced technology to be able to scale with high quality, low buffering and low latency.

We initially approached Blockchain to account and record individual views on a video platform - what we are calling Proof of View. In doing so, we realized we could change the value exchange within the ecosystem.

A viewer can come onto the platform, choose what advertising to watch and get paid for that in coin. Content creators can decide how they get paid for their content - whether it’s donations, pay-per-view or subscriptions.

We're also doing some developments around microtransactions, because a video platform could scale and go global very quickly. We are able to do up to 100,000 transactions per second on our own Delegated Proof of Stake Blockchain, which is absolutely immense and gives us a real competitive advantage. But we are not a peer-to-peer platform, which a lot of other platforms are, because that allows us to provide a higher quality user experience for viewers anywhere in the world, on any device.

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Challenges of P2P for video streaming

KM: Could you elaborate on why P2P was not the best choice for Verasity?

Adam Simmons: We've done a lot of research and our technology significantly reduces the cost of distribution, as well as problems for viewers on global basis, such as being able to view on weaker connections.

In order to get adoption of the platform from viewers and creators, you've got to have a good viewing experience. If I went to a new video platform and the video didn't load, there was lots of buffering, the quality was bad - I'm never coming back. If there are no viewers - creators won't come over.

With P2P, you've got to have a huge amount of seeds for people to be able to view the content. That works great if the content is already popular and there a lot of people seeding it. But if you're trying to watch a video in California and the only seed for this video is in Asia, you're going to have a terrible viewing experience. It just doesn't scale. If it did, and if it was this wonderful thing that was so cheap and easy to use, then Google, Facebook, Vimeo, or these major platforms would have already utilized it.

The other challenge with P2P is the cost. Looking at it from a Blockchain perspective, as a free system, it's basically using tokens to incentivize people to use their resources to see the content. That may not cost the operating company anything, but it costs the token economy a huge amount to incentivize enough seeds to be even able to make a small amount of content have a good viewer experience.

The third aspect is that if you have a truly decentralized approach, moderation can be exceptionally difficult. In Verasity, our moderation policy for content is simple - is it legal? Having no moderation and no censorship is great from the point of view of freedom of the press. The trouble is, if you have a true no moderation environment, it doesn't take very long for people to upload highly illegal content. That's something that's going to get the entire platform taken offline and blocked on the national level by governments.

So, there are three major problems with P2P that are potentially catastrophic to a video sharing platform and we haven’t seen any good solutions.

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A different advertisement model

KM: On Verasity, advertisers interact with viewers directly. Some decentralized video platforms aim to cut out the advertising aspect entirely, leaving just the transaction between creators and viewers. Do you think that's unrealistic or sub-optimal?

AS: It’s all about where the advertisers are in the value exchange. In a traditional platform like Youtube, the viewer watches the advert, the advertiser pays the platform, the platform takes their costs to pay shareholders, and then some revenue gets back to the creator. The creator doesn't have any options about the kind of advertising, the viewer doesn't have a choice of whether they want to watch ads or support the creator in other ways.

We haven't removed the advertising from the system entirely because it offers a lot of value to people who want to engage with it. What we've done is move that advertiser from standing between the viewer and the creator.

The advertising market for online videos is billions and billions of dollars, so there's a huge amount of potential revenue there. Why should we as a platform make that decision? It's up to our users and our community to choose how they want to engage with advertising and be paid for their attention in our coin, Vera. We provide the facility for the advertiser to have a direct value exchange with the viewer.

Direct creator compensation

KM: What are some factors for getting the public to transition from platforms like Youtube toward the model of direct artist compensation? Is it the financial incentives of watching the advertising, or being part of that community, or the opportunity to invest in a creator directly?

DO: If we can bring the content community into the platform, enabling people to find what they want to watch when they want to watch it, and give them a good viewing experience, then the advertising model fits around that.

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We want to be able to say at some point in the future that we are giving far greater value than just the price they're paying has more value represented.

What we're doing with our Proof of View concept is ensuring that the platform can't be gamed. Therefore, we can create better accountability across the platform that will give true value to the advertisers, the content community and the viewers.

AS: Paying directly for content is actually a mechanism that is already used quite often. If you look at free-to-play mobile games, there are options of watching advert for gems or buying gems. Even within online video, paying directly for content is something that a lot of viewers are open to.

The challenge for creators on a purely ad funded platform is that the money you get per ad served is incredibly small. The only way to monetize effectively on those platforms is to get billions of views. Now that works great if you've got a funny cat video that was cheap to make, but that's only one type of content.

What about premium content, like TV shows or film? The value that content has needs to have either a pay-per-view model or subscription model. There is also niche or educational content, that may only be interesting to a few thousand of people in the world, but to those people the value of that video is incredibly high. If you put that video on an ad funded platform, it would make a couple of dollars. It wouldn't justify creating it and putting it online. When a creator has more options for monetization, audiences have access to a greater range of both genres and types of content.

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Eliminating content manipulation

KM: Given that there's no third party interference, how will content discovery be handled on the platform?

AS: Our recommendation engines are quite advanced, built up by viewer behavior - what videos you are watching, what you're interacting or engaging with. The big piece to how recommendation engines surface content is based on how the content performed globally. The problem with that today on social media or other video sharing platforms is that data could be manipulated.

A really topical issue at the moment is fake news. It shows up in people’s feeds because it gets seeded first through buying fake views, likes and comments which trick the algorithms into thinking that video or piece of content is really popular.

Our Proof of View technology eliminates that, and it means that the recommendations are a lot more accurate. In turn, that means the viewer experience and the content surfacing for creators is better.

Investment and exchange of value

KM: Viewers can support creators through the Spark Marketplace, by investing in their channel - that almost seems like an ICO inside an ICO.

AS: We like to think of it as crowdfunding plus one. Crowdfunding is mostly support for products - you give them some money, you get something back. There have been people trying to crowdfund for content, like a documentary. But it's very difficult to get people to put a lot of money into that sort of thing because all you can offer them back is a thank you or a line in the credits.

In the Spark Marketplace, because all the content is distributed through Verasity and all transactions are done on the Blockchain, we can actually create a small contract which automatically distributes a portion of channel earnings to people who backed that channel.

It could be as simple as a typical Youtuber buying a new camera, all the way to funding an entire TV series. When viewers stake some Vera into channels, creators can produce better quality content, grow the channel, grow the audience and in exchange viewers can share in the success that they helped create. This gives a real incentive for people to back channels and they become bigger advocates as well. They aren't just sharing creator content because they like it, but because they've got a stake in it.

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KM: When there is talk of stakes and returns, though, it makes me think of investor expectations and regulations. Do you foresee any issues with that?

AS: For everything we are doing with Sparks, we've got a big team of seasoned professionals and legal counsel. We're building a platform that we want to see succeed, so we’re really making sure that everything we're doing is by the book to meet global regulation guidelines in terms of how users interact with it.

This is another aspect where Proof of View comes in - it enables us to add that extra degree of scrutiny. All the transaction data, performance analytics and guidelines will be available to viewers who are looking into buying channel Sparksl. It’s something creators can share freely with their viewers.

DO: It's about building a community within a community. Our platform is being delivered with robust accountability and high-quality technology. On the basis of that, we are hoping to encourage pockets of communities surrounding content channels, and we will work with content creators to make sure that they can promote and monetize their content more transparently and efficiently.

🎤 Interviews
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🕵️‍ ICO Watch Eric Eissler

Past-ICO Review: Alternative Facts and Truths Abound

👁 ICO Watch
ICO or token sale, call it what you want but something happened and a company made some money, but when and why are there conflicting facts?
Past-ICO Review: Alternative Facts and Truths Abound
Contents

 

Taking the games from the corporations and putting them back into the hands of the gamers, is what Refereum is all about. However, there seems to be something amiss. According to ICODrops, the “token sale” ended on Feb. 8 2018, but when checking out another source, dated Aug. 25, 2018, it accuses Refereum of not holding an ICO as promised. Checking out the website, the first thing displayed is “the Refereum token sale is complete!” So what is going on here? U.Today reached out for comment on this matter of why the media has so many conflicting facts, or more in line with the times: alternative facts. However, when the pressure is on and someone is getting on to the fact that something is not right, “no comment” is given. The equivalent to pleading the fifth in a US court; fishy.

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Finance

According to ICOdrops, which is generally a very reliable source, Refereum raised $32.2 mln during its token sale, which ended on Feb. 8, 2018. Which is funny because according to another source which has quoted Refereum as saying the following:

…after taking into consideration advice and feedback from our advisors and legal teams, we made the decision to complete the Refereum Utility Token Sale in its entirety through the private pre-sale process. We are honored to announce Refereum met its target sales quota ahead of the formerly scheduled public sale, but recognize that there are many who will be disappointed with this news– despite the good reasons for conducting the sale this way.

Well, to finish out the finance on this utility token, you are not missing much: Market entrance on March 1: $0.0219

Current price: $0.0038

Bottom line: Rubbish

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Take a look at the Team

Dylan Jones- CEO & Founder

A game designer from down under, Jones has worked at many predominant game makers and has all the right background to get into the blockchain based gaming industry and using it for something good.

Alistair Doulin- CTO

Alistair is a game industry veteran who has worked on multiple high profile game and engine projects.

Sloane Earl- Business Development

Earl has a background in traditional and digital concept art and a strong interest in the gaming industry. She also focuses on Women in Blockchain initiatives as co-founder of Team Block Society, and co-founder of The Wild Gypsy Tour, women's motorcycle event at The Buffalo Chip.

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Tech Tech

By cutting the marketing middleman, Refereum directly rewards influencers and gamers for promoting and playing video games. Refereum is working with Twitch, a prominent influencer gaming platform, Unity, the world's most used game engine and Ambisafe, which has secured cryptocurrency projects like Tether and Chronobank.

Final word

While it appears to be some pretty cool ideas to get the games back into the hands of the gamers and away from the corporations, which according to Jones, make more and more money and provide less and less of a gaming experience and even less profits with the developers and designers, the general supporters are not in Refereum’s corner and there seems to be a general dislike in the media.

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🕵️‍ ICO Watch Eric Eissler

Top 10 ICO Failures of 2017

👁 ICO Watch
ICOs like businesses fail too, here are some of the biggest failures of 2017
Top 10 ICO Failures of 2017

It is true that 50 percent of all businesses fail, and that is also true of ICOs- they are businesses, too. From 2017, let's take a look at the top 10 ICOs that failed the hardest, due to bad business practices, founder quarrels, poor products, or scams run by con-artists.

1. OneCoin

OneCoin could have its own article, but for the sake of space, we’ll summarize the story here. OneCoin was a true Ponzi scheme concocted by Ruja Ignatova, a Bulgarian national who has been previously connected with other Ponzi schemes. She founded two companies OneCoin Ltd. in Dubai and OneLife Network in Bulgaria. Between the two companies, which sold investment educational material. Later when questioned by authorities, OneCoin claimed that it only sold educational materials and was not selling tokens, when in fact they were. Buying into the “educational packages,” which were blatantly  plagiarized materials, the victims received OneCoin tokens which were used to “mine” OneCoins. Long story short, Europol got involved, the only exchange where OneCoin was worth anything (OneCoin’s own exchange) shut down and the OneCoin became zerocoin- worthless. Charges were later brought against Ignatova in India in April 2017, at a OneCoin recruiting meeting. There are accounts of her arrest several times in various countries in 2017, however these accounts appear to be false and Ignatova is at large. In Late January 2018, Bulgarian police raided the office in Sofia and officially shut it down.   

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2. Enigma

It is still a mystery of who hacked Enigma, which was a legitimate business at the time. Engima was rather boastful about its security and new encryption techniques ahead of its ICO. However, its security seemed subpar when all of its systems were hacked mailing list, website, and Slack channel were hacked. The hackers used the above to reach out to potential investors about a “pre-ICO sale.” Despite warnings about a scam, many still invested at hackers made off with $500,000 worth of ETH. The CEO then looked pretty bad because his account was hacked because he did not set up his two-factor authentication. Whoops.

3. Droplex

A pure rip off QRL. Without any effort, scammers copy pasted QRLs white  paper and GitHub code to their site and only replaced QRL with Droplex. When people started to become aware, the scammers slowly reacted by changing the code. In the end, the lazy scammers’ haul was about $25K. Not bad for cheaters, but in the end cheaters never win; karma will come around.

4. Coindash

Israel-based Coindash was another hacking victim. Hackers either created an identical website or diverted the wallet address to make off with more than $10 mln in stolen ICO funds. The company still managed to raise about $6.4 mln and promised to send tokens to those who donated to the hackers inadvertently. Despite this once a hack happens and money is stolen, reputations are forever damaged and it near impossible to reverse the damage.

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 5. Veritaseum

Hacked or inside job? Veritaseum, a p2p personal banking company, lost $5.4 mln to alleged hackers. However, it was unclear what really happened as there were many red flags about the company’s website, the technology used, and many cries from Reddit about these things and the general shadiness of how the story unfolded and the rather weak defenses the company took. The final nail in the coffin was the large sale of Veri tokens and massive price increase around the time of the sale--someone got rich fast. Who could that be?

6. Parity

Wallet hack, yes your wallet can be hacked too! Finding a vulnerability in the multi-signature wallet issued by Parity. Parity is used for building Dapps and comes with a wallet. The hacker made off with $30 mln! But the gains did not last long as other hackers were able to trace down the pathways and recover most of the funds that were stolen.

7. Swisscoin

If it’s Swiss, its usually superior quality, right? Well, not for Swisscoin, this project had more holes in than Swiss cheese. Swisscoin was touted as an instant payment system with interest-free payments. I have heard of fees for making money transfers, but who pays interest on transfers, unless they were sending loans...Logic interrupted… regardless of what they were trying to do. They were busted by the Swiss police and $500,000 of stolen cash was found, as well as a stash of weapons and ammunition. The scammers face 12 years in prison.

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8. Slot N Slot

While it is not a new idea to have a Blockchain-based, trustless gambling gaming website, what is new is one where the founders come forward and cancel the ICO because they were not going to be able to satisfy investors. The following is from the Slot N Slot team: “At the current stage, we lack the confidence that the project can be a success, and enforcing the crowdsale in such conditions is an irresponsible decision. For this reason, we are retracting the crowdsale (ICO) for the project.” At least they were honest.

9. Centra Tech

US Boxing Champ Floyd Mayweather gave some PR to Centra Tech, which launched an ICO in the fourth quarter of 2017. It raised nearly $32 mln. However, the founders and owners of Centra Tech are being changed by the SEC for selling unregistered securities. The charges were brought when the SEC discovered the company has no agreement with either MasterCard or Visa to support their prepaid cards (there were part of their business model) and also for having falsified impressive biographies and creating false or misleading marketing materials. The SEC won this round by technical knockout.

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10. Ahoolee

A search engine for products just does not seem like a good idea, when you can just search via a general search engine.  This was just a bad product with no interest. CEO Sergey Ryabov said in a statement that “We will repack the product. Perhaps we will rebrand it. Bring the globality of our idea to investors. We will conduct the pre-sale and ICO according to the usual market scheme, attracting large investors in advance. Actually, everything is just beginning!

While there are many more that failed, this was just a glimpse into why and how so many ICO fail after launch. The reasons behind the failures are the same ones that countless other business suffer from. While there is a lot of hype behind all the failures, don’t let this fool you, there are plenty of successes out there too.

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