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Bitcoin Businesses Software The Almighty Buck

An Ethereum Startup Just Vanished After People Invested $374K (vice.com) 190

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: A startup on the Ethereum platform vanished from the internet on Sunday after raising $374,000 USD from investors in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) fundraiser. Confido is a startup that pitched itself as a blockchain-based app for making payments and tracking shipments. It sold digital tokens to investors over the Ethereum blockchain in an ICO that ran from November 6 to 8. During the token sale, Confido sold people bespoke digital tokens that represent their investment in exchange for ether, Ethereum's digital currency. But on Sunday, the company unceremoniously deleted its Twitter account and took down its website. A company representative posted a brief comment to the company's now-private subforum on Reddit, citing legal problems that prevent the Confido team from continuing their work. The same message was also posted to Medium but quickly deleted.

"Right now, we are in a tight spot, as we are having legal trouble caused by a contract we signed," the message stated (a cached version of the Medium post is viewable). "It is likely that we will be able to find a solution to rectify the situation. However, we cannot assure you with 100% certainty that we will get through this." The message was apparently written by Confido's founder, one Joost van Doorn, who seems to have no internet presence besides a now-removed LinkedIn profile. Even the Confido representative on Reddit doesn't seem to know what's going on, though, posting hours after the initial message, "Look I have absolutely no idea what has happened here. The removal of all of our social media platforms and website has come as a complete surprise to me." Confido tokens had a market cap of $10 million last week, before the company disappeared, but now the tokens are worthless. And investors are crying foul.

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An Ethereum Startup Just Vanished After People Invested $374K

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  • by Kremmy ( 793693 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @05:02PM (#55590593)
    This is the track record of the Initial Coin Offering. And people keep putting money into them.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      There's a sucker born every minute.

      It was true 150 years ago, it's true today.

      • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @05:11PM (#55590667)

        A fool and their money, were lucky to get together in the first place.

        It is an immoral act to let a sucker keep his money.

        Good for confido...Confido? They had 'confidence game' right in their name folks.

        • ^^^ Ditto. Van Douche was probably represented by Dewey, Cheatam, and Howe LLP.

        • They had 'confidence game' right in their name folks.

          Yes, but to be fair it does sound like they were aiming to con dogs rather than humans.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          It is an immoral act to let a sucker keep his money.

          Then how come we have government assistance programs?
          If it's an immoral act to let a sucker keep their money, then it's EVEN MORE IMMORTAL to have laws
          that forcibly take money from non-suckers and then reward it to Able-Bodied people who are probably mostly
          suckers Or are of the same mentality (couldn't even find/plan/execute on a way to earn a decent living.....)

          Also, why don't we do the responsible thing and detect the suckers' and re-allocate

      • by Lab Rat Jason ( 2495638 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @05:20PM (#55590755)

        I think "I've got a coinbase to sell you" will emerge as the new "I've got a bridge in brooklyn to sell you"

      • I guess the money went in to ether :-)

        I get a kick of millennials that invest in cryptocurrency.

        I guess it's time to learn.

        • I guess the money went in to ether :-)

          I get a kick of millennials that invest in cryptocurrency.

          I guess it's time to learn.

          Because only millennials make poor money decisions? Because only block chain businesses fail? Or did you just block Enron from your mind? Bernie Madoff? Charles Ponzi?

        • Every generation has its tulips. In the '80s, it was Cabbage Patch Kids. The 1990s brought Pogs and .com 1.0 companies (pets.com, flooz, beenz.)

          What we are going to see is cryptocurrencies hyped up, a nasty collapse happen, then they will go back to a sane level and wind up a useful way of doing value exchanges once the "ooo, shiny" aspect is gone. Cryptocurrencies are a good concept, but because the shysters are back (a lot of them fled when Mt. Gox fell flat), it is something to stay away from for now.

      • Considering Crypto has exploded in return on investment, the suckers are those that show up too late to the game. Bitcoin has been up and running for 9 years with explosive price gains... when did you buy again? Oh you missed out? Bitter? That explains it.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @10:10PM (#55592345) Homepage

          Bitcoin is in for a hell of a ride. Big money vulture capitalist have statistically analysed there is sufficient real money around bitcoin to harvest by purposefully hugely fluctuating the price of bit coin. UP, down, UP, down, UP, down, always milking cash out of the fools in the cycle, it is going to be really cruel. They will keep riding bitcoin until the kill it, little money does not stand a chance against big money, in a ponzi play like bitcoin, it's price as has been demonstrated can be all too readily pumped or dumped.

        • Considering Crypto has exploded in return on investment, the suckers are those that show up too late to the game. Bitcoin has been up and running for 9 years with explosive price gains... when did you buy again? Oh you missed out? Bitter? That explains it.

          I'd be curious to know how many people have actually cached out their bitcoin to realize their gain. It's one thing to have $100,000 worth of bitcoin, and another to have that $100,000 in your bank account.

      • Not so - the sucker birth-rate has been increasing roughly exponentially.

    • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @06:22PM (#55591191)

      This is the track record of the Initial Coin Offering. And people keep putting money into them.

      Based on historical precedent, the third and largest collapse of a scammy ICO will be the pin that pops the cryptocurrency bubble.

      • Because when most startups failed, that stopped venture capitalism...
        • What "stopped" VC is simply that there is nothing worthwhile left to invest in.

          You see, investors want to see a ROI. That can only happen, of course, if the business you invest in can actually, well, do business. And for this you need customers. And customers are rare, considering that all the money is neatly tucked away on the supply side. There is simply no demand, at least by no means enough to warrant VCing in some new businesses.

          So those VCs and their load of surplus money were looking for something to

    • It's like 1980 in Los Angeles and Pyramid Parties all over again.

      At least in 1980 you could see if there was anyone behind you in line to get in.

  • Scammed (Score:3, Informative)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @05:04PM (#55590619)

    Sorry.... you weren't acting like investors if you bought ICO tokens that don't even represent legal shares of a business with so little information and so little in the way of business documentation and personal guarantees OR audited financials, and you should have been more careful.

    That's just a good ol' fashioned scam; let the ICO buyer beware.

    • When the guy the main character in The Wolf of Wall Street was based on says something is scummier than anything he ever pulled, you know that thing is very suspect and any money invested in it should probably be considered forfeit.
    • There were as much investors as kickstarter backers are VCs.

      But people like being called something that's associated with being rich and knowing how to invest, so...

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        There were as much investors as kickstarter backers are VCs.

        At least the kickstarter listings aren't the sale of Unregistered Securities like most ICOs are,
        and with kickstarter there's a certain level of disclosure and professionallism required to get a listing approved,
        and finally the expected "return" is for a small token prize, Not an implication that buyers will profit in some manner
        proportionately related to what the management's business results are.

  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @05:04PM (#55590623) Homepage Journal
    I invested in it and got burned. That hurts since i only make $50,000 in IT in Silicon Valley. I guess lesson learned - don't invest in startups that you don't know.
    • by mcmonkey ( 96054 )

      What research did you do into Confido before you "invested"? The main people involved, what successful businesses have they run in the past? What in their background led you to believe they would provide a return in this case?

      And ICOs in general, I've heard plenty about how much the folks running these ICOs are pulling in. What's the history on the people on the other end? What sort of return have "investors" had in the past?

    • by slew ( 2918 )

      I invested in it and got burned. That hurts since i only make $50,000 in IT in Silicon Valley. I guess lesson learned - don't invest in startups that you don't know.

      You learned the wrong lesson then...
      Clearly, you should have learned that the way to get rich in Silicon Valley is to start your own company and have others that you don't know invest in your startup...

    • by Kenja ( 541830 )
      Wrong lesson. What you should have learned is "don't invest money you can't afford to lose, period."
    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      How about don't invest in cryptocoins when the founder has only a linkedin page as an online presence.
    • by jeremyp ( 130771 )

      No. If you can't afford to lose the money, do not invest in start ups at all. Start ups are inherently very risky - even when they are not scams. Most of the time, you will lose your money.

  • Not learning? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @05:04PM (#55590629) Homepage

    People not learning that crypto currency is a frickin' scam. No sympathy.

    • Shocked, shocked I am!

    • People not learning that crypto currency is a frickin' scam. No sympathy.

      Email is also a scam, as are telephones.. and people! All scams, every one of them. If anyone ever scammed someone using something then that thing is a scam. No doubt.

  • This is how it's *SUPPOSED* to work, no?

  • It's in the name! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by santiago ( 42242 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @05:11PM (#55590675)

    So, Confido was a Confidence Game? The name even means "I trust" in several Romance languages...

  • Ponzi scheme makes some people rich by taking money from "investors"
    More news at 11.

  • Ha ha ha. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @05:13PM (#55590695) Homepage

    "The message was apparently written by Confido's founder, one Joost van Doorn, who seems to have no internet presence besides a now-removed LinkedIn profile."

    Founder of internet-based currency, has no internet presence to speak of. Yeah, "Joost van Doorn" doesn't exist.

    When people do so little due diligence or research, we can't really call it investing. People gave their money away. People can cry foul or whatever all they want. That money is gone.

    We're really getting into the territory where it is legitimate to ask, how did people so gullible acquire anything of value in the first place?

    • Make no mistake, Mr. fake van Doorn is going to get caught. People that steal real money like this without connections and money behind them are doomed to get caught and go to jail. The SEC started the initial paperwork to start going after these ICO scammers and they don't' screw around, they ruin your life, send you to jail and then let the IRS have their way with you.

      In the end you've got nothing but a sore ass for thinking you can outwit the people with unlimited resources to find you and the money is a

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, if you are a capable individual nothing is setup in your name to begin with, and the money goes off-shore and becomes untraceable through other means. The person they "catch" is the person whose name everything was setup under, the fall guy, and not you. I mean after all if you are so capable of conning people into shit then why not start with conning some dumb fuck to be the CEO of your little scam?

      • He would go to jail based on what?

      • Who says he/she/it has no connections and money behind them?
      • They didn't steal enough to stay out of jail, yup. Go big - Corzine for example - or go to jail.
        Only relatively small potatoes get busted. You gotta get billions at least to buy continued freedom.
      • make no mistake, less than 15 percent of fraudsters get caught.

      • Make no mistake, Mr. fake van Doorn is going to get caught. People that steal real money like this without connections and money behind them are doomed to get caught and go to jail. The SEC started the initial paperwork to start going after these ICO scammers and they don't' screw around, they ruin your life, send you to jail and then let the IRS have their way with you.

        That is assuming he is in the USA. If he isn't then the SEC and IRS can stamp their feet all they want and they can't do a damned thing about it.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      We're really getting into the territory where it is legitimate to ask, how did people so gullible acquire anything of value in the first place?

      They sucker in a few that are always looking to make lots of fast money through professional appearances and fancy business plans. Then you make those people pimp the system to their friends, that's what sells most people. A bunch of my friends got ripped off in some MLM scam some years back, it'd entered my clique of friends through one person who then became two, those two convinced a third and... the more friends are in on it, the harder it gets to say you're all wrong. Hell, even afterwards some simply

    • Are we sure it's his name? Could be a typo, maybe his name is Joost van Doom .

    • Yeah, "Joost van Doorn" doesn't exist.

      I agree. It's probably a made-up name.

      But if anyone wants to investigate, that name sounds Dutch or white South African. And if you're going to make up a name, you might as well pick one that would already fit your family history.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      It is a standard Dutch name. Both the "Joost" part as the "van Doorn" part. So I would assume that it is somebody in The Netherlands who used it to make a fake name or at least knowledge of The Netherlands.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The founders of the PerpetualMotionem and FasterThanLighteum coin projects, both based on highly sophisticated mathematics, are still taking investments.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Confido sold people bespoke digital tokens that represent their investment in exchange for ether..."

    It sounds like the investors got exactly what they paid for.

  • Let's see here: 1) ICO has the word "Con" in it's name 2) CEO has the word "Doom" in his surname. This one had bad karma out of the gate.
  • The people who scammed by Madoff got scammed because they were greedy. Same deal here.
  • This is beyond gambling, beyond speculation. This is into "wishing well" territory.

    For some it may be a good lesson cheaply purchased. Some... not so cheaply.

    Maybe they should take a look at something like this [amazon.com].

  • NSFYL... Not Sorry For Your Loss.

  • "Invested"? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    Yeah, "invested". In quotes.

    That's a nice word for it.

  • There's inherent risk in everything. Investing means you are banking your money on making money off the back of someone else. Can't bitch too hard when it goes wrong since "that's just business". I still don't condone it, though.

  • Put your money into something safe, like manned steam rocketry. [apnews.com]
  • We know a startup management technique is "take the money and run", but all that mess for just 374,000 USD? Real business leaders do not risk jail for so little money.
  • by mattr ( 78516 )

    Does Joost have a PhD? I would think twice before giving money to a shady character named Doom, but that's just me.

  • There's actually a first regulator approved ICO underway in North America right now, in Ontario. [theglobeandmail.com]

    I.e. the same regulatory body that oversees the largest Canadian stock exchange approved this ICO.

    The goal is to create a platform that allows further ICOs with oversight and investor protection.

    This means on this kind of platform a company couldn't just vanish and run away with the funds. (At least not any more than any publicly traded company can).

    DISCLAIMER: I don't work for TokenFunder.com [tokenfunder.com], but contemplate to

  • ...from regulation and accountability. Yes, that's how cryptocurrencies are supposed to work and why they're so popular with drug dealers, human traffickers, and the like. This is just the beginning; wait until Goldman Sachs comes up with its version of a cryptocurrency ponzi scheme. The tax payer will have to foot the bill for that one.
  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @11:02PM (#55592513)
    In the BTC community, we regard anyone who buys into ICOs as complete and utter morons.
    • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

      In the internet community, we regard anyone who buys into BTC complete and utter morons. But hey, it's your money. You can buy all the tulip bulbs you want.

  • There's a sucker burn every minute.
  • Crime has so many ways of costing us all money that it is vital that these people are caught and serve life ruining sentences. As a simple example riding bicycles produces all kinds of benefits for all of us. It frees up parking spaces. It reduces pollution. It improves the health of the riders and thus keeps medical expenses down for the community. So maybe you've got a cheap bike that gets swiped. How harsh should the sentencing be? Keep in mind that you are forced to carry keys, purchase cables a

Pohl's law: Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not hate it.

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