Turns out if you have thousands in your bank account, you can buy a positive review of an ICO…
Whilst the number of initial coin offerings (ICOs) has declined a little in line with the falling value of cryptocurrencies across 2018, they’re far from an endangered species. Furthermore, a good ICO can still financially fuel a startup company.
However, getting some exposure for an ICO amongst so-called cryptocurrency influencers is easier said than done. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise, then, to learn that reviews are allegedly being sold for five figure sums in some quarters.
As per an investigation at Reuters, a start-up by the name of Hacken was looking to raise some $3m last year, and drew up a list of over 100 social media figures it wanted to get to in order to build publicity for its project. It allegedly paid the host of Alternative Media Television, Christopher Greene, the sum of $7500 for a review of its coin, that duly appeared in a hugely positive video back in June of this year.
Greene is up front in his videos at the start that he may “receive compensation” for some of the products and services that he covers, although he’s not explicit as to what funds he’s received and from whom.
Reuters describes this phenomenon as a “pay-for-play hype machine”, not a million miles away from the fake online reviews services that are popular around notable online shopping destinations. It also cites an assortment of different examples of this going on, at an assortment of different price tags.
There’s no law that appears to have been broken, but inevitably ethical questions are being asked. The original report lists those other examples, and also notes the trend of ICO agencies, who are promoting active followers and positive posters for crypto projects.
The full report can be read here.