By Ana Balashova (@coinjive)
October 30th, 2018

Top 10 Scariest ICO investments ever

Top 10 Scariest ICO investments ever

By Ana Balashova (@coinjive)
October 30th, 2018

Future Times Halloween Special

Some might still think that investing in crypto is a piece of cake going on and on about “what if I bought Bitcoin back in 2011?”

But to be fair you would have still had a chance to mess things up purchasing a slice of pizza with all those bitcoins a year later. Because even if investing in Bitcoin seems like a no-brainer to some, thousands of people went broke burning their savings on crypto market’s most stable assets, buying them at their all-time highest back in December 2017.

That being said, today’s topic will cover crypto opportunities that are even more frightening. It’s Halloween after all, so we’ve prepared an exceptional list of 10 most blood-chilling initial coin offering investments ever to have been available to the general public. One important thing before we jump into the list: let us quickly explain the reasoning behind the selection process.

So, the database and calculations used are taken from the Coinist ICO return on investments tool. We had to use only one source for the consistency of the rating, even if some numbers were off (which is true for any research/database on the market at the moment). The list includes only projects that were substantially hyped during the token sale and raised a significant amount of money (that metric was taken from the ICObench database, except for #9 on the list, in which case Icodrops data were used).

All the numbers in the following list are valid at the moment of writing this article, it being the 28th of October, 2018.

According to the Coinist (one of our data sources) stats, the average return on investments of all the analysed crowd sales in the website’s directory is 3,770.78% and the average ROI of the top 100 ICOs in our directory is 11,424.14%. So, close your eyes and imagine that you have $11,000 to put into the most exciting and talked about ICOs. Sounds like fun, yeah?

Let’s see how much you would have profited if you were to make each of these

10 Scariest ICO investments ever:

#1 Scary ICO investment: BitDegree

  • $22.5 m worth of tokens were sold during ICO
  • ICO price: $0.08  /  Current Price: $0.0075245464
  • ROI since ICO: -90.59%
  • Currently $1,000 ICO investment turned into $94.1

BitDegree is claimed to be the world’s first blockchain-powered smart-incentives based online education platform that would revolutionize global education and tech recruiting. The main benefit incentive providers get from the BitDegree platform is the ability to initiate and maintain a dialogue with upcoming talents and reward them for achievements through smart-incentives.  BitDegree smart-incentives are ought to be location and topic targeted ranging from small to large. From a student’s perspective, it means getting paid to learn new skills based on local demand, which does not only incentivize a potential user but also offers a viable way to avoid unskilled work.

During the ICO, these words sounded like a music to retail investors’ ears. The sale was also heavilty promoted by one of the well-known in the industry Udemy’s cryptocurrency tutors – blockchain influencer Suppoman, who created an enormous hype around the project at some point.

But the project has never pleasantly surprised its supporters. And even though BitDegree’s Twitter is being regularly updated, those tweets don’t seem to be of major importance: just some small exchanges listings and boasting with product’s updates. The actual platform is already available to the general public. And although it might impress someone, I personally bear a deep share of scepticism towards the current state of the platform.  First of all, almost a 100% of the content are copied courses from Udemy.  Second, from a users experience standpoint, basic things like the search field and filters don’t function properly. And most importantly, the tricks they use to lure people in are deceiving. At the moment of writing Bitdegree is running their “promotion”. Big banner on top of the page says I was granted free access to the top platform’s courses. However, when I try to enrol to any of those a window pops up (see the screen below) blocking my access to “free” education.

Not sure If those tricks are very blockchain-y in their nature. But maybe that’s what it takes to rank 2893 website in India.

#2 Scary ICO investment: DragonChain

  • $13.7 m worth of tokens were sold during ICO
  • ICO price: $2.9 / Current Price: $0.22
  • ROI since ICO: -92.40%
  • Currently $1,000 ICO investment turned into $73.6

Dragonchain goal was to build a commercial platform for application developers to deploy Blockchain applications quickly and securely while keeping the existing language development environments (e.g. Java, Python, Node, C#, Go);  big costs and speed to market advantage​. Besides, Dragonchain architecture intended to allow nodes to manage transactions approvals based on five levels of network consensus to give data consumers a spectrum of trust; a never before seen by current blockchain solution providers level of protection and flexibility on the market. These design attributes​ ​position​ ​Dragonchain​ ​for​ ​exponential​ ​growth​. Another cool thing about the project is that it was originally authored by Disney Company, but then later became a public venture.

It’s seems like it was just a rough year for the company since the development is in place and the project’s roadmap is being consistently updated, making it clear that these guys are up to something. Recent updates are available here and among exciting things – developers are very welcomed to enrol at Dragonchain academy after the 30th of November. Some content and lectures are available here.

So, maybe this one will become less scary over time.

#2 Scary ICO investment: Datawallet

  • $40 m worth of tokens were sold during ICO
  • ICO price: $0.18 / Current Price: $0.0089535376
  • ROI since ICO: -95.03%
  • Currently $1,000 ICO investment turned into $49.7

Datawallet is a blockchain-based data-exchange that allows users to reclaim and profit from the data they create online empowering developers to bring the next generation of applications to life. It allows them to leverage a completely new data universe and build the most advanced applications ever. Imagine providing companies with insights that will boost their operations on a scale never before seen. Even Tim Draper thinks it’s awesome.

However, taking a deeper look at the overall picture is still looks murky. Of course, one would expect some product’s development updates on Twitter but there are what you get are announcements on yet another conference someone from the team is about to rock at.

And then there’s this disastrous tweet as well:

With no sign of beta on the horizon. Spooky.

#3 Scary ICO investment: Paragon

  • $50 m worth of tokens were sold during ICO
  • ICO price: $1 / Current Price: $0.0489551168
  • ROI since ICO: -95.1%
  • Currently $1,000 ICO investment turned into $49

Former Miss Iowa, Jessica VerSteeg, decided to get into cannabis industry after losing her boyfriend, Tyler Sash, to his opioid addiction leading him to die from overdose.

Mixing an awkward business idea (hence the circumstances) with her enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies VerSteeg started her own blockchain called the ParagonChain. The core of Paragons solutions aimed to “revolutionize the supply chain tracking for the cannabis industry.”

However, it has been hard to actually recognize what was created from the tech perspective of things. Up until recently. In June of this year, there were public announcements made supporting ParagonCoins in a class-action multi-million dollar trial against The Game. Those investors proceeding in court are also up for putting down the ParagonChain forever.

It is accused of utilizing ICO funds not to improve the cannabis industry, but rather to buy real estate. According to the recent revelation from VerSteeg, the allegations are true.

Now she is up for starting a cannabis friendly co-work on WeWork. Given that the current WeWork evaluation is at $35 billion USD this might seem like a good plan in theory, however, in 2017 WeWork was at $933 million USD of net losses vs $886 million USD in revenue, so VerSteeg’s company might have to show the market some magic ninja moves to hope for anything good, really.  And even if it does, it’s still not at all what project’s investors would have expected.

#4 Scary ICO investment: LociCoin

  • $9 m worth of tokens were sold during ICO
  • ICO price: $0.75 / Current Price: $0.0326632653
  • ROI since ICO: -95.64%
  • Currently $1,000 ICO investment turned into $43.6

Loci’s InnVenn platform was supposed to revolutionize the patent search and the discovery process while seriously cutting down on the prohibitive costs for inventors making intellectual property attorneys, researchers,  and developers duties easier.

And the search is just the beginning. Loci’s proprietary machine learning method takes it to the next level. Their technology examines the research trends, outlines what is already known and finds whatever is yet to be discovered sourcing for new ways to link inventions or to identify unexpected opportunities to invent new products. The gap between undiscovered connections and the current technology is what Loci calls “whitespace.”

Although at the moment this opportunity resembles a horror movie for any cold-blooded let alone nervous investor, we have to mention that the patent search works beautifully and the team constantly brings more awesomeness to the process, like their recent idea to work with engineering students from George Mason University’s Master’s program in Data Analytics Engineering to conduct research at the forefront of machine learning and predictive analytics. Fingers crossed it will turn around 🙃

#5 Scary ICO investment: BeeToken

  • $15 m worth of tokens were sold during ICO
  • ICO price: $0.2 / Current Price: $0.008185324
  • ROI since ICO: -95.91%
  • Currently $1,000 ICO investment turned into $40.9

Bee Token is a cryptocurrency that fuels the Bee Protocols, a set of Ethereum smart contracts and Beenest home sharing platform for hosts to list their homes and for guests to find accommodation. Beenest rewards users with network incentives, commission-free transactions, and security unrivalled in the home sharing industry.

Although it all sounds amazing (and well, anytime someone says “oh, it’s an Uber of blockchain” or “hey, it’s a decentralized Airbnb”, many investors tend to lose it), in fact, nothing much has been happening there since the ICO.

Company’s Twitter feed is filled with parties and meeting announcements.

And well, looking at a product, it’s a complete shamble. We ran a quick search for accommodations in New York city using Beenest and Airbnb. Apart from the unrelatedly small number of options available the pricing was way too off. Who needs a “decentralized platform that eliminates the middleman with 0% commission if the price for the apartments listed on Airbnb is 3-4 times lower?

Getting horrifiying goosebumps yet?

#6 Scary ICO investment: HOQU

  • $15 m worth of tokens were sold during ICO
  • ICO price: $0.22 / Current Price: $0.0080901107
  • ROI since ICO: -96.32%
  • Currently $1,000 ICO investment turned into $36.8

HOQU’s  team was about to build a decentralized platform for affiliate marketing that was supposed to bring merchants and affiliates together bypassing brokers and use smart contracts to ensure fair and transparent deals but then the team decided that public fighting over money gathered during the token sale is much more fun. The story didn’t spread further than Russian media outlets (however, Future Times is very eager to change it in the nearest future), but some details are available in this Bitcointalk thread.

And even though the project’s team claims that the beta version is out:

God only knows who is using it, since there were no real business development activities held. And there are only a couple of affiliate conferences scheduled for 2019.

#7 Scary ICO investment: Bitclave

  • $25.5 m worth of tokens were sold during ICO
  • ICO price: $0.1 / Current Price: $0.0028818305
  • ROI since ICO: -97.12%
  • Currently $1,000 ICO investment turned into $28.8

When it comes to online advertising, businesses are obliged to pay huge amounts of money to middlemen in order to reach the right audience. BitClave envisions a world where smart contracts have replaced the need for middlemen, changing the way communities use the Internet. Instead of paying said middlemen, companies automatically create personalized offers for consumers. In this ecosystem, consumers can control their own data and sign up for advertising and analytics services done by retailers using smart contracts therefore owning even more money viewing these promotions.

That’s how exciting BitClave was at the very beginning. However, currently, the team is acting quite calm. Twitter updates are regular but have nothing to do with the development process or anything of that sense. Although this one clearly suggests visiting Twitter for development status:

We wonder if anyone on the team is still alive. Although, based on the fact that the project’s representatives are taking part in Job Fairs, chances are there aren’t many survivors left 😬.

#8 Scary ICO investment: ShipChain

  • $30 m worth of tokens were sold during ICO
  • ICO price: $0.34 / Current Price: $0.0084373241
  • ROI since ICO: -97.52%
  • Currently $1,000 ICO investment turned into $24.8

Blockchain technology is usually characterized as “disruptive” because it can transform the way we communicate as a society. Distributed ledgers are revolutionary for old business models just like email was for traditional mail. If used correctly, blockchain will promote digitization of record keeping processes associated with assets trade even in cases when mediators and brokers are incentivized to oppose revolution. It can enhance transportation of commodities in all countries, across the globe, even beyond. The ShipChain team launched the project in hopes of making that leap possible.

Unfortunately, said leap hasn’t been very successful. The recent (dated September the 7th) blog update on the development side mostly talks about milestones that were supposed to be accomplished in Q2 2018 according to the project’s initial roadmap that is still published on their website, even though it has been moved somewhere to 2019 with a note saying “technology is still developing and nothing is final until it is final (especially any planned features or “release dates”).”

And it’s not surprising. Especially if Shipchain’s Twitter-responsible part of the team has only enough time to attend events and compose generic blog posts vaguely related to what’s supposed to be built.

#9 Scary ICO investment: Invacio

  • $1.9 m worth of tokens were sold during ICO
  • ICO price: $1 / Current Price: $0.0186624871
  • ROI since ICO: -98.13%
  • Currently $1,000 ICO investment turned into $18.7

Invacio  described themselves as a ground-breaking achievement in Distributed AI that resolves some of the world’s most complex and stubborn problems. Project scalable intelligent environments enable our AI to turn noise into data and data into information with unprecedented speed and ingenuity. Led by William James Dalrymple West in collaboration with experts from NASA and FB-HHVM, Invacio has created an AI with a large appetite for knowledge.

Invacio’s AI constantly evolves as it investigates and develops its cache of streaming and historical data. Always adjusting to any circumstantial variations or demands our AI spontaneously improves its models through experience, becoming evermore complicated and subtle, and even more secure.

It’s not clear how much smarter that AI is getting after ICO but we learned that company’s CEO, William James Dalrymple West, has some kick-ass complaining and moaning skills. In his recent open letter to project’s community, William James shared lots of unresolved issues and how he is handling death threats from unhappy investors.

That doesn’t scream: “Success” to us 😅.

#10 Scary ICO investment: Dorado

  • $21 m worth of tokens were sold during ICO
  • ICO price: $0.1 / Current Price: $0009564157
  • ROI since ICO: -99.04%
  • Currently $1,000 ICO investment turned into $9.6

Robots. Drones. Artificial Intelligence. Millions of Orders. Next-generation leading an on-demand delivery company with Quarterly Payout Bonuses. Dorado will change the way goods move around cities allowing anyone to have whatever they please delivered on-demand. Their revolutionary HyperLocal Logistics blockchain platform unites customers and local couriers who can deliver anything from any place in a blink of an eye. Wow, those are some promises. I can even go further and admit that this scary ICO is a bit personal, because it was one of the rare token sales I’ve participated in.

Given that Walmart has recently filed a patent for a blockchain-based drones delivery system it wasn’t that silly to hope for Dorados bright future.

However, a quick look at a corporate Twitter makes me shed a tear.

The last update (dated August) has been about an absolutely ridiculous case. Back in June 2018, the company acquired Wooopit, a polish food delivery service. Then in August their CEO published a letter explaining the setbacks in development caused by some legal issues (including the purchase of Wooopit).

Later on in September, another post (the last one to date) went up on the blog saying that Wooopit stopped it’s activity. So the team claimed they were not  involved in the activities or management of Wooopit saying “The only link that has ever existed between us was our intention to acquire or license some of their IT software upon which the platform was built.” Which is very confusing, because judging by the previous post it was a done deal. No further updates followed. Isn’t that the scariest?

We hope you enjoyed this list. For someone who might want to know how to effortlessly turn a $11,000 investment into $469.9 it’s a true gem. You keep your eyes wide opened for even scarier investment opportunities in the future and we promise to do our best in keeping you informed in advance. Stay with us.

UPD. This article was updated on the 23rd of November as our main stat source, Coinist, corrected the false data on Dragonchain.