How to Spot a Scam: The Block Broker Story
Block Broker is a product that alleges that it will act as an ICO broker to potential investors and in turn, eradicate the ever-increasing number of ICO scams that constantly plague the crypto space. The product also claims to be the first decentralized ICO investment platform and to fundamentally change the way that people invest in the space.
Ironically, the team and the product have been called out by a Reddit user for being a scam. The user who goes by the handle paperplane-pilot claims that the CEO, John Jacobs, has a doppelganger named Alex Amadeo, who is a designer and photographer and is actually an assumed identity.
The Reddit user also claims that when John Jacobs was confronted about the issue, the profile picture was changed. The theory is that the entire team is fictional, the photos that have been used are of random people, who themselves are victims in this scheme and that the entire ICO is a fraud.
Here is why we think that paperplane-pilot may be onto something.
- The Token Sale: According to the company’s roadmap, the pre-sale should be over now and they should be gearing up for their public sale. But on their homepage, their landing page has a notification of the token sale is over and they’ve allegedly raised $3,197,458.97 USD.
- The Team and Advisory Board: As does every whitepaper, the Block Broker whitepaper has a section that introduces their team members, advisory board and their experience in the industry respectively. The description of their experience in the field usually outlines the places and projects they’ve worked on and the number of years of experience they have. The team, in this case, have a vague one-liner that divulges close to nothing and a recurring phrase in both cases is ‘has experience’ or ‘has worked on many successful ICOs’.
- The LinkedIn Profiles: On their website, on their team page, there are links that lead to the team’s respective LinkedIn profiles. They seem very dry with hardly any details and activity. There is a high possibility that they were created in order to lend legitimacy to what is looking more and more like a scam.
- The Whitepaper: A white-paper is like a contractual representation for what the company intends to do and deliver over a particular period of time. So naturally, it is a document that is meant to serve as a formal proposal to the investors and obviously is supposed to be worded informal language. The writing, punctuation, English, and layout of the Block Broker white-paper are quite lackadaisical and loose.
According to the homepage, the token sale is already over and the team has successfully managed to raise a good amount of money. Which is unfortunate because that means that the Block Broker situation is now a fait accompli.