The Prodeum Initial Coin Offering has disappeared from the web into thin air after raising only $11 from the fundraising event, leaving just a message ‘Penis’ for its investors.
Prodeum Kicks the Bucket
An Ethereum blockchain startup has vanished from the internet after raising only a total of $11 from investors in an ICO project. Shortly after the site was taken offline, the Prodeum team put up a message on their homepage that reads, ‘penis.’
Prodeum was looking to use blockchain technology in tracking farm produce like vegetables. The Prodeum team set a target of $6.5 million for the fundraiser.
The ICO was well organized, From the whitepaper to its web design, to the details of its founders down to being active on social media. The whole operation was well orchestrated except for their below-par marketing strategy. The Prodeum team paid women to write Prodeum on their chests and palms using freelancer website Fiverr. This, coupled with the fact that its name which is pronounced and spelled almost the same as “Prodium,” a drug that’s used in treating urinary tract infections, could have contributed to the failure of the project to attract any significant funds at all.
Fake Team Members
According to Business Insider, three blockchain technology experts who were listed on the Prodeum site as team members have all denied having any connections with the project or even having prior knowledge that they were named as co-founders of such a platform.
Rugevicius, Kaseta, and Pazos are the three men whose photographs and Linkedin profiles were posted on Prodeum’s original site.
Rugevius, an experienced professional in the blockchain field, who is a general partner at Connect Capital in New York said, “I have personally worked with number of most prominent projects in blockchain field and certainly have no ties with this project.”
Pazos is a professional startup advisor and angel investor, based in Miami. He declared he had never heard about Prodeum and was not even aware his identity had been stolen and used on a scam ICO website. Pazos works with blockchain startups Wabi Project and Kairos and is actively involved in their ICO projects. Pazos explained that he checks the ICO projects he handles thoroughly just to be very sure it’s not a scam project or a pump and dump scheme before working with the team.
“We run very thorough due diligence process and interview with the CEO and their team. In fact, we have face to face interaction. I make sure that they’re legitimate companies,” Pazos declared, adding that he goes through the company’s financial records thoroughly to make sure they are not in distress.
Kaseta, a professional blockchain engineer based in Lithuania, hinted he and Rugevicius were taking the necessary steps to uncover the real identities of the Prodeum founders and would take legal action against them. “From the first information, looks like it could be some Russian-based scammers. But we can’t confirm this yet,” Kaseta said.
The world of Initial Coin Offerings remains mostly unregulated although the U.S Securities and Exchange Commision has shut down several of these scam projects, much more will still succeed in vanishing with investors funds just like the Confido project that disappeared with a whopping $374,000 in November 2017.
Not all ICO projects are scam schemes, but the number one rule remains; ‘do not invest more than you can afford to lose.’