Plagiarism and Fraud run amuck in Cryptocurrency Projects: WSJ Report
Cryptocurrency projects, in the hundreds, are riddled with frauds, unreliable returns and plagiarism, stated the Wall Street Journal in a research piece, published on December 27.
To quantify and qualify the cryptocurrency projects, WSJ looked at ‘white papers.’ For the uninitiated, a white paper is an essential precursor document for an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), one which forms a skeleton of the entire project and the intended solution. It describes the product, token, objective and connection with the holder.
In total, 3,291 white papers of cryptocurrency projects were downloaded and studied during the course of the research. WSJ procured the same from the following websites: ICOBench.com, Tokendata.io, and ICORating.com.
Once the documents were downloaded, the reporters analyzed both the duplicate and native language papers, “Reporters then read and reviewed nearly 10,000 sentences appearing more than once among the 3,291 papers analyzed and removed technical and legal sounding language. Then, the Journal compared reported offering dates to determine which document first published any given sentence and excluded those projects from this database.”
Plagiarism, identity theft, and variable returns were identified in 16 percent or 513 of the 3,291 white papers analyzed during the study.
Sentence and word framing analysis was a core tenant of the study, which found that enticing sentences like “nothing to lose, guaranteed profit, return on investment highest return, high return, funds profit, no risk, and little risk,” were present in 2,000 projects.
Certain projects also included fake team members to balloon the project’s credibility and size of operations, to tackle this, WSJ did a reverse image search of photos of the associated members of 343 projects, which did not return valuable data.
Earlier in July, Statis Group, the ICO advisory firm published a study which concluded that over 80 percent of 2017 ICOs were fraudulent. The study further revealed that around 4 percent of ICOs failed and 3 percent of them had “gone dead.” Total funding of coins in 2017 was $11.9 billion, out of which 11 percent or $1.34 billion went to scams.
PwC with Swiss Crypto Valley Association stated that the ICO volume in the period between January to May 2018, was $13.7 billion a doubling of the tokenisation volume in the entirety of 2017.
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