Block Broker, an ICO to Prevent Exit Scams, Pulls an Exit Scam

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Block Broker Exit Scams With Twisted Irony

As if in harrowing parody of itself, Block Broker just subjected its investors to the very thing it swore to prevent. The ICO, which claimed to be building a platform to prevent investors from buying into exit scams, just pulled an exit scam of its own.

This Tuesday, the project’s website went inactive, greeting visitors with the following message: “The Block Broker Platform is undergoing maintenence [sic]. Please check back soon. Thanks.” To those who invested in the fraudulent project, the message might read more like a middle finger, as a deleted Twitter and a ghost-town subreddit with u/blockbroker’s one-sided posting both point to an exit scam.

Community members scrutinizing the ICO on Reddit began raising red flags in May of this year. The first of these came from u/paperplane-pilot, who, in a post on r/cryptocurrencies, conveys that the project’s Founder and CEO is fake and stole his bio picture from a Ukrainian photographer.

“The Block Broker ICO is ongoing. The CEO’s name is ‘John Jacobs’. Jacobs’ profile picture appears to show the same person as a Photographer named ‘Alex Amadeo’,” paperplanes-pilot states in the post. “The original profile photo of ‘Alex Amadeo’ was changed after ‘John Jacobs’ was asked about this discrepancy. But the original was saved,” the user continues.

Another user, rhudejo, indicates that Jacob’s Linkedin, along with those of other team members, are lacking in relevant qualifications and completely deficient in any professional substance.

More recently, one Telegram user tried to warn users in Block Broker’s channel that the ICO was verging on scam territory. These warning were met with a hasty ban, but the whistle-blower’s caveats were co-opted by the Twitter handle DONNY BITCOIN.

One look at the Block Broker whitepaper unravels a tale of unscrupulous intent. It contains little technical substance, is ridden with grammatical errors, and talks more about the token sale than the project’s function. Even so, the ICO accrued just over $3mln in funding during its lifespan, as the warning signs were not enough to dissuade every purveyor.

The exit scam is a painful and (given its purpose) ironic reminder for investors to thoroughly research an ICO before contributing to its token sale. In an industry with little to no regulation and knock-about online organization, exit scams proliferate nearly uncontested and have become a consistent occurrence. In 2018 alone, they’ve stolen nearly $750mln, including the record-breaking Pincoin, which pocketed a breathtaking $660mln, and Prodeum, who left its website bare save the word “penis” after raising a measly $11.

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