Fomo Then Failure: A Post-Mortem of 2018’s Worst ICOs


It has been a testing yr for ICOs. Market circumstances have made launching a tokensale tougher than a yr in the past, when even essentially the most ludicrous mission was just about assured a $10 million increase. A number of of 2018’s most profitable ICOs, based mostly on tens of millions raised, have degenerated into its most disastrous, after plotting a journey from champagne to actual ache in just some brief months.

Additionally learn: Crypto Trade Okex Introduces Stricter KYC Guidelines

From Winners to Losers in Below a 12 months

For a lot of of this yr’s worst performing ICOs, the bear market is an all too-convenient excuse for destruction. Some ICOs are born dangerous, whereas others obtain badness by a collection of inexplicable selections, poor communication, lack of advertising, no MVP and downright greed. These elements can rapidly mix to sink seemingly profitable initiatives quickly after their triumphant launch. Market circumstances can’t paper over all of the cracks, as an examination of 5 of this yr’s worst performers reveals. A collection of icebergs might be attributed to their titanic failure that left buyers seething.


Gems was one of essentially the most hyped initiatives of the yr, efficiently constructing enormous ranges of fomo and an enormous Telegram group. Led by brothers Rory and Kieran O’Reilly – Harvard graduates each – Gems billed itself as a ‘decentralized mechanical turk’. To turn out to be whitelisted for Gems, buyers needed to share the mission on a social community, write a blogpost, or promote the ICO in another approach, successfully performing the duties of unpaid mechanical turks for the privilege of getting at hand over their hard-earned ether.

Fomo Then Failure: A Post-Mortem of 2018’s Worst Performing ICOs

Solely as soon as whitelisted did Gems reveal to those hard-working buyers that the ICO can be performed through Dutch public sale with a view to extract the utmost quantity of cash attainable from every of them. To assist them visualize the method, they produced a useful graphic of a brightly-colored pink vice squeezing their wallets dry. Gems efficiently raised as a lot as $150 million, however misplaced a lot of the assist of the crypto group within the course of. The staff additionally opted to maintain an insane 75% of tokens to themselves. When you had invested $1million in Gems throughout their ICO these tokens would now be price lower than $18,000. Gems managed to conduct an ICO so mind-bogglingly terrible that buyers would have actually been higher off laboring as mechanical turks.

Bee Token

The Bee Token crowdsale was an enormous success story proper up till the second it began. Dubbed as a decentralized Airbnb, Bee turned one of essentially the most oversubscribed ICOs of the yr. Having constructed an engaged and passionate group, performed KYC for the whitelist, and set a low contribution restrict of zero.2 ETH, all the things appeared to be in place for a profitable ICO providing. Nonetheless, hackers someway snatched the Bee Token whitelist and despatched out phishing emails on day one of the ICO.

Fomo Then Failure: A Post-Mortem of 2018’s Worst Performing ICOs

Because the day unfolded, and with tons of of buyers already stung within the well-orchestrated rip-off, the Bee Token staff downplayed the incident on social media, reporting, “The Bee Token has acquired studies of pretend emails, Telegram accounts, and so forth. claiming to symbolize the Bee Token ICO Crowdsale”. It was an announcement of infuriating understatement for a lot of, who noticed the hack as a damning indictment of total safety procedures at Bee Token. Though the ICO ultimately recovered nicely sufficient to hit its arduous cap, the dealing with of this incident did nothing to instill wider confidence within the mission. At present the full worth of the Bee Token colony has collapsed to only zero.06x its preliminary ICO valuation.


Fomo Then Failure: A Post-Mortem of 2018’s Worst Performing ICOsA weird title and a weird idea of ‘investing’ in property rental safety deposits wasn’t sufficient to cease Rentberry from efficiently elevating near $30m in funding. As an present enterprise with expertise in the actual property market, Rentberry a minimum of had some variety of foothold within the trade they sought to disrupt. Nonetheless, a restricted MVP and a advertising marketing campaign that some buyers noticed as substandard meant that BERRY tokens proved to be of little safety in any respect, holding simply zero.03x of their preliminary valuation. Meaning in the event you’d deposited $1,000 into Rentberry throughout ICO you’d solely have $30 at present; scarcely sufficient to cowl a deep carpet clear, not to mention a property deposit.

Narrative Community

A content-creating website with crypto funds, Narrative Community was dubbed as ‘the following Steem’ earlier than it failed to achieve any. Whereas hindsight presents straightforward knowledge, Narrative Community might rue the day they determined to modify from the Ethereum blockchain to Neo. The explanations for the change appeared a minimum of semi-logical, with issues about scalability and transaction time being muted by CEO Ted O’Neil. There have been additionally dangers, since conducting an ICO on the NEO blockchain was one thing few had accomplished earlier than. There’s a purpose why so many ICOs select Ethereum regardless of its issues, not least that it’s a tried and examined normal that’s supported by most exchanges and a sizeable developer group.

Fomo Then Failure: A Post-Mortem of 2018’s Worst Performing ICOs
Narrative: Cool web site. Disgrace concerning the token.

In the long run, the dangers posed by Neo bore fruit within the type a node processing discrepancy. The ‘resolution’ got here within the type of scrapping the crowdsale two days earlier than launch, burning the 20 million NRV tokens issued and beginning once more with a brand new NRVE token. Within the delayed crowdsale, Narrative Community nonetheless managed to lift $14m of their $22.8m funding goal. The Narrative Community staff then determined to go forward with their plan to retain 50% (20% for staff, 30% for improvement) of all tokens minted, that means that out of a complete of 82 million NRVE tokens, 50 million are within the possession of the staff. A disastrous ICO and accusations of firm greed imply that NRVE tokens are actually price zero.06x their preliminary greenback worth.


Fomo Then Failure: A Post-Mortem of 2018’s Worst Performing ICOsIungo is a mission with a brand that appears like a poor man’s Nano, a reputation that’s pronounced with a y as in ‘yungo’ and that, when capitalized, seems prefer it ought to learn ‘Lungo’ slightly than ‘iungo’. On this approach, Iungo created the right storm of model confusion that you simply’d anticipate from a token price simply zero.02x its preliminary worth. Marketed as a decentralized wifi community, the Ungo/Lungo/Yungo MVP has nonetheless to launched, however its staff maintains that the worth of ING will enhance when the token has some precise utility.

There’s little question this enduring bear market, exacerbated by ICO overcrowding, has made circumstances worse for all tokensales – even those who have advantage. A sturdy thought, clear imaginative and prescient, MVP, and go-to market technique are not any assure, however they do provide extra hope than initiatives that depend on fomo and audacious guarantees to generate curiosity. If the ICO financial system ever recovers, hopefully the following wave of initiatives might be funded by savvy buyers who do their very own analysis and don’t imagine the hype.

Do you assume ICO buyers have realized to be shrewder with their picks? Tell us within the feedback part beneath.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock, Gems, Narrative, and Twitter.

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