A dead donkey ears, not the blockchain: Russian ICO startups are mired in infighting instead of developing


When he awoke, the ICO investors of many projects that promised to build “intergalactic” blockchain, found that turned out to be nothing, losing money and nerves. No exception, and Russian projects, some of which are mired in infighting, mainly over the distribution of collected million.

Now the courts are inundated with lawsuits against the organizers of the ICO, and work products can be counted on the fingers. Among the growing numbers have not fulfilled their promises of projects more and more difficult to see a really working solution, and worthy entrepreneurs.

Patriotic ICO has secured the former Soviet Union the status of a gray zone from which few want to deal with, and rejection of the Slavic names in the venture capital circles is continued in the cryptocurrency industry.

ForkLog tried to sort out several high-profile scandals that accompany the industry in recent years, and to understand why is the blockchain revolution and the triumph of decentralization, we are witnessing how a handful of founders to sort things out and is engaged in a tug of war.

Four of HOQU, not counting Kaufman

In early September, one of the founders of blockchain project HOQU Roman Kaufmann (Mikhalev) blamed his apparently ex-partners that they allegedly withdrew 75% of investors and $7 million immediately after the ICO. He also spoke about the threats from “individuals of Caucasian nationality”, which was hardly interested in the consensus algorithm. His opponent, Alexander Doinikov [cofounder] in turn reported that Kaufman turned in a kind of “Podolsk OPG”, which allegedly threatened the family of Maxim Anikeev [cofounder]. Then appeared on the scene a mysterious ex-the major of police Sergey Rodionov, demanding the return of some $6 million, threatening to ex-partners * articles for fraud. In General, if you suddenly do not understand what is blockchain, you are not alone. Therefore it is necessary to briefly return to the past to clear.

ICO “decentralized affiliate marketing platform for a new generation” HOQU or tocancel, in the words Anikeeva, ended in February of this year, collecting 18 802 ETH and previously unknown community, the number of bitcoin and Litecoin. What is most interesting is the fact that neither Kaufman nor Anikeev long did not know the exact answer. The first assumed that investors sent more than 100 BTC and 3000 LTC. The second claimed that after KYC procedures produced a lot of refunds, primarily to residents of the USA, so “to talk about how much was on the purse, not quite correct” [subsequently, Anikeev said ForkLog about the original camp in 104,79 BTC and LTC 3242,51]. In fact, the total amount remains a mystery. Sam Kaufman in his essay “HOQU. Which brought investors ‘ money?” suggested that it exceeded $27 million in hardscape 14.7 million USDT.

According to Anikeeva, Alex Shmona [cofounder], whom Kaufman named responsible for Internet traffic, SMM and email, individually controlled wallets HOQU, and then hardware wallets best wallet that allegedly transferred 90% of funds collected subsequently placed in Deposit boxes. Anikeyev believes that these same cells are currently protected not only Semenovym, but others close to him, however, he scheme security does not know [note that in recent days the wallet HOQU have been large ETH-transactions, as reported by Anikeev, has been made from the very best wallet devices].

In March, after carrying out KYC procedures and distribution of tokens, the founders, according to Anikeeva, pay themselves a bonus of 157 ETH. In addition, in early January each got another 10 ETH. So about $600,000 in Ethereum equivalent were distributed among them when the product was not even on the horizon.

Probably held in April an internal debate about the salary for the founders of the project illustrate the mentality of many Patriotic ICO projects even better than the engagement near-criminal elements. However, it is worth emphasizing that the Shmona and Anikeev has taken a balanced position on this issue and offered options regarding the answering of geography and the specifics of the project. With them strongly disagreed Alexander Doinikov, whom Kaufman named responsible for the bounty program, PR and community management.

“How many SN tops in Google? (…) Guys, 10K [$10 000] — norm SN for the top less — stupid mockery”, — he stressed in an internal Telegram chat with the bright name “cheek”.



The argument Shmonova that the project is in Russia and salary “off-market”, Doinikov retorted: “Geographically, but in Russia it is generally not intended” [then everything is logical]. He was also convinced that the Commission on securities and exchange Commission (SEC) would have laughed at their salaries in the amount of 3-5 ETH at the rate of $1000.

His brother, Andrew, who served as the main developer made for the fruitful and coordinated work with paying 20 ETH in the month and bonuses for “listing on the major exchanges and the release of the application” [turns and the stock exchange to pay, and self praise] to the end of 2018 for each received 500 to 1000 ETH ETH.

Kaufman in turn suggested not to be penny wise and a lump sum to pay 500 for each ETH “done the work”, and then to pay wages in the amount of 50 ETH, to bring the amount up to 1000 ETH to the end of the year [would be 5000 ETH from ETH 18802, and don’t forget about the original bonus 167 ETH]. In the end, attempts Anikeeva and Shmonova to lead other team members in a sense and to drop to the ground failed, and “tops Google” was settled for $10,000 in a month.

In addition, for unknown reasons, Andrey Doinikov has proposed not to pay a bonus to the Advisor of the project My Levin in absentia and sent it around a certain direction. Of Shmona proposed to lay the bonus Levin “in reserve”, and if the last turn, “drank”. Probably the giants of technology management felt a lack of funds.

The conflict between Kaufman and the other founders began may 9, when the first, according to Anikeeva, “in demanding the form of” requested financial statements, suspecting them of misuse of funds collected. He later reported that the brothers Doinikova appeared brand new luxury cars.

“Alex Shmona, brothers Doinikova, Maxim Anikeev, where did Luxury Porsche Panamera and a rare Lexus LX 570?”, he asked a rhetorical question in the same essay.

It is noteworthy that Kaufman does not bother offered them a bonus of 500 ETH [18 April, the rate was still above $500], to which you could buy these cars and still tip left. Probably, the concept of misuse of funds is not applicable.

[Maxim Anikeev provided ForkLog evidence that the Porsche Panamera he owned long before the founding Hoqu].

In the financial statements, which, apparently, had only Alex Shmona, Kaufman (Mikhalev), according to Anikeeva, was denied. Partners allegedly asked him to return to Moscow from London, and personally acquainted with the relevant information in the office.

“Then he [Kaufman] is coming to Moscow, but agrees to come to the office and calls us to meet in a restaurant near the office, and announces that to work with you and to create a business I do not intend to give me 1500 ether 20% of tokens from foundersday part, and I will leave in peace, I will speak only positively about the project. But if not, that will attract third parties, who will relinquish his share and they’ll understand grown-up” — said ForkLog Anikeev [recording enclosed].

In response to this sharp attack, the partners invited Kaufman to continue to take the position of CEO and to gain control over the financial costs of [recording enclosed]. After considering the proposal, Kaufman sent the following conditions, which again hinted about 500 ETH as a “payment” from expenditure items Overhead [apparently for moral damage] and stated that he does not trust his partners.


The partners agreed to his terms and offered to redeem his tokens for 640 ETH [30% HQX was assigned to the team, each was meant for an equal share of 20%], combining the original premiums received by the expenses Team Cash [10% of total fees]. According to Anikeeva, Kaufman agreed and the parties are finally satisfied with the negotiations.

On 2 July, when the deal was to be formalized at the meeting, according to Anikeeva, came the armed men, who decided to hold a “conceptual” conversation and demanded 20% of collected funds in the amount of $6 million Among them, says Anikeev, was a former police officer and now a lawyer Rodionov Sergey, who allegedly threatened to use his experience and relationships to indictment for crimes envisaged by article 159 of the criminal code.

[photo taken from a remote publishing one of the founders Hoqu on Medium]

Then says take it for a while, the situation hung in the air, Rodionov and the company disappeared from the radar, and then, on August 27, Kaufman filed a statement to the police, accusing the partner of cheating. According to Anikeeva, their opponent is also actively persuaded the private placement participants to submit similar statements as the partners allegedly refused to reimburse them invested in HOQU funds [early investors or participants, in the words Anikeeva, bought tokens HQX 50% discount]. And some of them, according to Kaufman, has even served them [photos, which name is not specified].

In response, on 14 September, the partners, according to Anikeeva, filed to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, accusing Kaufman of blackmail and extortion, as well as putting the document name Rodionova and of a “partisan operative”.

The requirements of the early investors on the return on investment coins ETH initially seem absurd, as such a mechanism is not spelled out in the official documentation of the project. Token HOQU has a utility nature, which follows from the white paper project, and therefore is designed for use by participants of the future of the platform, rather than speculative earnings. However, as the message of one of the investors in June, the founders of the project promised them a good option in oral form.

Anikeev offered so dissatisfied with the earlier participants to set the price of private placement by the selling warrant on bitcoin exchange HitBTC and claimed that the big players would have bought on expectations of major announcements. Five men then allegedly refused the offer for unknown reasons. After delisting on HitBTC even this option was not available.

“Was [the listing], as long as the Roman did not care about delisting. He boasted in FB and the same day removed the post, because I realized that this is a financial damage to the company for which it may incur financial responsibility in a large size, since the listing on Hittz very expensive, everyone knows that”, — said Anikeyev.

In the end, the issue with some early members still were resolved positively, this was confirmed by Kaufman and Anikeev, but the corporate conflict is not over.

According to Kaufman, at some point, left the team’s lead programmer, moving to “Yandex”, and the new employee in his place refused formal employment.

“Can I assume that now everything is done to show the public the imitation of activities.. In General, everything takes[Xia] with the current platform Marketcall. Now the finished product is not. I’m not sure that it will be”, — he said.

Where is the blockchain? Where the world’s first “decentralized affiliate marketing platform for a new generation”? It turns out, some early participants of the sub-funds or part is returned to [an undisclosed sum], and product for ordinary mortals to whom this option is not available, or not.

[the decline was more than 90%]

In the belly of a silk — like SBC Platform co-founder Alexander Egorov debt gave

Twin brothers and entrepreneurs Alex and Andrey Solovyov, met with Alexander Egorov on one of the multiple cryptocurrency conferences in Russia. The latter immediately presented himself as an expert in the industry and subsequently entered the circle of trust Soloviev.

Egorov, cofounder cryptocurrency hedge Fund Arrow Token Fund [whose website is not available, and social networks show no signs of activity] and the automated platform to launch ICO SBC Platform, described on the websites of these projects as an expert in the field of business communications and capital raising, which supposedly has 10 years experience in business development. It is alleged that he has invested in various projects of about $3 million and in the past has partnered with “the huge Chinese holdings”. He also was listed as the co-founder of System Consulting Bit, but now his name is on the list of team members is missing for unknown reasons. However, it may give the impression that this is a sharp businessman and a blockchain-guru.

[SBC Platform]

[Arrow Token Fund]

Brothers Solovyov continued communication with Egorov, because it seemed to him a quite interesting person. After a while he began to offer them their services in the sphere of development, however, given the specificity of their occupation [import electrical goods and wine boutique], they didn’t need them. The first time Egorov, according to them, did not give up and have continued to “stick” them to the development.

In summary, Egorova probably forgot to mention his exceptional perseverance, because soon the brothers Solovyov received an offer to invest two projects in which their new “comrade” held the post of co-founder. Having been refused, Egorov did not give up and invited entrepreneurs in a luxury office [Front St., 9, St. Petersburg], where, according to them, entry is possible only through a double lock door and fingerprint only working in the business centre.

There Solovyov was presented a Ilya [likely, Smirnov, who also has 10 years of experience in the management of companies and trading in financial markets], partner Egorov. Together they told the brothers about their projects and the potential income that they can get from investments. Andrew and Alex listened and again was refused.

And so, it would seem that the business position is already clear, however, Egorov suddenly need funds for the implementation of SBC Platform, and he turned again to the brothers for help. This time they decided to borrow “the entrepreneur who had partnered with the huge Chinese holdings”, 114 ETH and 3,2 million roubles with repayment in six months [screenshots attached].

It just so happened that “hour x”, the entrepreneur does not feel the need to return the favor, saying that the brothers invested “in a doubtful and obscure projects that are not regulated by the law of the Russian Federation related to high risk” [apparently he was referring to the SBC Platform]. Egorov also accused them of extortion and blackmail, threatening to appeal to law enforcement agencies.

“The documents show, Fuckers. Even no you so do not let down, we will be the first”, — said the co-founder of the ICO project.

Before this correspondence Solovyov tried to find Egorova, in order to know when it returned to duty, but not succeeding, turned to his wife, who was pregnant, and asked about his whereabouts. They also told her about the debt of a spouse.

Then Egorov has declared, saying that his wife supposedly “went on the sick” after that conversation, and he himself is “the account at the neurologist and cardiologist.” Similar story, by the way, is observed in the arrest of high-ranking officials who are in the court room will be bad.

Further communication Egorov, according to the brothers, offered to through his “security service” that the worker-peasant means “roof”. In the end, the ardor of the debtor has cooled down a bit, he signed the corresponding promissory notes and promised to return all funds after completion of the pre-ICO. At the same time, what right does “entrepreneur with experience” to spend the investors ‘ money to cover personal debts, remains unclear.

[the video, which Egorov recognizes the existence of the debt].

It is noteworthy that, according to the roadmap of the project by the end of the fourth quarter of 2018 on SBC Platform needs to hold 100 ICO, and in 2019 — as many as 1000! In the white paper in the section “reasons for the success of the project” refers to “first-class team” and “the relevance of product market kryptonsite and blockchain technologies.”

Given the recent report on Autonomous Research that the fees of the ICO projects in September fell to a 17-month low, amounting to only $279 million, and a tectonic shift in the direction of venture investment becomes apparent that SBC Platform will find so many people willing to spend the ICO, looks, in the words of the still, extremely doubtful.

At the moment, according to the official website, the project has collected about $1.9 million, however the third round of the ICO is still going on, despite the fact that, according to the road map, Fund raising was to be completed in the second quarter.

In the background, “steady promotion of SBC Platform to the inevitable success of” brothers Solovyov for a year unsuccessfully trying to get their money back. We can only hope that in the final of this story, the project investors will not hear: “the Documents show, Fuckers”.

Secrets of the Madrid court in the team Universa

Unlike HOQU, where not even all founders know how much they’ve raised funds, the project Universa raised $28 million during licensee, and immediately thereafter, won the award for “Blockchain startup of the year” by the national prize of the Russian Crypto Awards. Against the background of such snogsshibatel success in December last year, the project seemed Patriotic community is extremely promising.

The stated goal was to create a blockchain-based platform for business applications based on high-speed Universa Blockchain Protocol with performance of up to 22 000 Tps. An important fact for the promotion of the project was the support of iconic entrepreneur, John McAfee, because at the peak of the market growth of digital assets, when all have experienced the euphoria that few have noticed that the latter is ready to support any project, if only he paid for it.

Then followed a partnership with Rostec, Ernst & Young and the Russian “Alfa-Bank”, which of course only strengthened the image of the leader of the domestic blockchain industry.

But as soon as the market cooled and investors have begun to understand what they have invested their money, and exposed the weaknesses of the Universa. The catalyst debriefing has flared up in April, the conflict management project with the community Manager Arthur Lipatov, when the latter published a post titled “How I stopped believing in Universa”.

According to Lipatova, while he “burned” work in Universa, held on 7-10 meetings a day, promoted the project at various events and actively create a holistic community. He also developed a plan for the development, dividing it into four main stages: hackathons, educational module, the Olympics and the ICO on the blockchain Universa. Within two years he had intended to bring the capitalization of the project to $500 million with a maximum savings of cash.

When the Lipatov started organizing hackathons, acquired the relevant domains [hackathon.RF] and found a contractor in the face of Roman Pawlowski from the project “Cyber Russia”, named Olga Popkova [not available on the official website], which, according to the Manager, suddenly appeared in the command Universa, seized control of the initiative and completely shifted Lipatova. He argues that this MS Popkova used a variety of unfair corporate practices and project founder Alexander Borodich, which, according to him, even long time did not recognize, that he knows it allegedly turned a blind eye.

When it became clear that Olga is still working in the Universa, Borodich Lipatov explained that her responsibilities include “optimization of the estimates and brewing coffee.” She Popkov its role was seen differently, as he stated in the chat events the ICO Zavod. So, the question “was there a boy?” you can confidently reply that was only with not quite a clear mandate.

At the same time, according to Lipatov, the scheming young ladies did not end, and soon any weight in the company lost and Denis Kuzmin. Then Olga, as he said, turned on Director of development Nicholas, who offered to create a purse for Universa. In the end, a device called HODL was announced, however without the participation of the main ideological inspirer. Then closed the office and employees were asked to move to a coworking space.

Initially, says Lipatov, Borodich asked him to leave the company peacefully, just reported about it in social networks, and Universa would be said in reply that he was losing a talented senior Manager. This scenario did not suit him, because, in his words, he immediately realized that his ideas want to use it to deny a fee of $10 million when the project capitalization of $500 million. it is Noteworthy that the developed Lipatov strategic plan, said former community Manager, and then sounded from the mouth of Borodzicz without reference to the real Creator.

It is noteworthy that Lipatov was soon deleted his post and probably after talks with Borodzicz, decided to replay the situation so that it looked like a PR-move, but then again apologized to the community that “gave up” and confirmed that he had narrated the story is true.

Note that the publication Lipatov provoked active discussion of the blockchain Protocol Universa, and some prominent representatives of the Russian cryptocurrency community came to the conclusion that the project is more like an enterprise solution in the spirit of the Corda or Hyperledger.

“Universa sold the product to the administrative institutions of the different States, which are now actually created a solution. But we understand that the state is censorship, reversibility of transactions and centralized control. On this basis, we can assume that in the final we will see a rather inefficient distributed database”, — said the permanent guest of the heading “Bikinidare” on the Youtube channel ForkLog Stepan Gershuni.

It is worth noting that vc.ru the article “a Year later. What did the TOP 5 Russian ICO-projects for the year after the fundraiser?” project Universa has been criticized for the fact that he completed less than 50% stated in the roadmap tasks. In the comments Alexander Borodich accused the author of spreading false information as a road map, which relied journalists, was amended and supplemented. So, according to the founder of Universa, developers performed 80% of the work.

Note that the company Alexander Borodzicz, OOO “Venchurklab” is also not repaid the debt by 1 million rubles for the analysis of token-ICO to OOO “Evrostandart” [the documents are at the disposal of edition].

But while Borodich suing Lipatov, accusing the latter of causing damage to business reputation, in fact, the daily trading volume tokens “killer Ethereum” is barely $300 000, the liquidity of the Cobinhood and Ethfinex almost absent, and the HitBTC asset and is subjected to delisting.

However, it is to complete the story of the Universa on a positive note.

“It seems to us that for the first year of the Universal tokens will increase in price by 3-5 times. And two years, respectively will grow to 10 times of the initial value”, — said Borodich [11:50 — 12:40].

“Russia will not forget you!”

Unfortunately, these stories are detrimental not only specific projects, but also representatives of the domestic sector. So stereotypes are formed, which settle in the community of foreign investors for a long time and the difficult access to global markets for cryptocurrency business from Russia is complicated at times.

Model ICO has proven to be ineffective in the context of the launch of the running products as the success fees are often intoxicated, entrepreneurs and the result is anything except the blockchain. Ahead of the coming era of regulated security-tokens. We can only hope that this modified tool will work better.

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