The SEC posted a dummy website that offers a similar presentation to many ICO offerings in an effort to bring awareness to the scams and poor investments on the market.

The only problem is that the website mocks many real ICO's with substance that offer real investment opportunity and utility. This because the fraudulent websites mimic the real ones and now the SEC is mocking them all.

Despite their good intentions, this may not have been the greatest idea to have ever been thought up, however, the mock-up is not without it's useful points.

Let's take a look at HoweyCoins (likely a derivative of the Howey test) and make notes of the red flags.

HoweyCoins

At first glance, like any other ICO be that real or fraudulent, HowerCoins looks authentic. 


There's the standard countdown of getting a "great deal" with 15% cheaper tokens if you join the pre-sale (pre-ICO sale).

Complete with a nifty logo and nice background imagine wrapped up in a responsive web experience a single page in length would lead any investor looking for ICO's to take a closer look.

There's even mug shots of the "team" and a fancy whitepaper. What could possibly go wrong.

Everything.

Breaking it Down

We play a game called "peek the onion" for most scam sites, but we'll just call this "breaking it down" since this is a fictitious website.

1. Contact information, or lack thereof

There is no contact information available outside of email. This is an immediate RED FLAG. There's no phone number or at least an 800 number, no support desk, no company listed, etc...

Any reputable company will have contact information and a way to get a hold of them. For instance look at Coinbase.com, right on the front page you have an 800 number and support email in plain sight.


Here's KWHCoin.com, an ICO that went public earlier this year. 


Just about every method of communication available and their offices are listed. 

2. Big returns

Anytime any ICO, or anyone for that matter, claims high rates of returns, it's a scam. Plain and simple.

"We anticipate OVER 1% daily returns, with DOUBLE 2% returns on Tier 1 investors in pre-ICO stage secured purchases. The average registered coin return over a two month period in 2017 was an amazing 72%. Based on market conditions, including record-setting prospects in both the digital asset and travel industries, we expect surpassing that BEFORE the Tier 2 offering closes."
3. Pump and dump

This is a classic scheme dating back years to the early days of Altcoins (ICO's) back when blockchain meant bitcoin before the block-colored software, IBM's cloudware, and just about anything resembling a database claimed to be a blockchain.

Coins are artificially pumped causing a buy frenzy then dumped by those who caused it.
"Our past two pumps have doubled value for the period immediately after the pump for returns of over 225%."
4. Testimonials 

Let's face it. What reputable organization ever has "testimonials". Don't see these on Gemini, Bitstamp doesn't list a slue of these, and I don't recall Ethereum or ZCash ever promoting ICO's with testimonials.

Here's a tip. If it's an "ICO" it typically means nothing it done yet, there's just an idea. If there's just an idea then what are these testimonials providing testimony for? They wouldn't know their head from their ass any more than you would as to the validity of the concept.

Testimonials is a big fat RED FLAG.

4. Whitepaper

Nothing is more telling than the one thing that makes the entire offering the most believable. The existence of a whitepaper.

We've said this in the past and here it goes again. You need to review the whitepaper and see what the offering is all about.

Allot of people open the whitepaper but they don't actually READ them.

At a glance this whitepaper looks authentic. Until you actually read the document and see that it says a while lot about a bunch of absolutely nothing backed with no statistics from bogus sources.

... and ... no math.

Mathematics explain the concept behind the technology that the offering is promoting, without this universal explanation there's no realistic concept behind the face of the theory, or in this case, the shit they're shoveling.

There's certainly some things to learn from the mock site, but it's nothing many people haven't stated before. The unfortunate thing is that this also mimic's legitimate offerings and the SEC's intentions may not be purely "consumer protection" whereas government agencies tend to operate in a "blanket destruction" methodology.

Why take out the illegal shit when you can take out the pain in the ass at the same time?

Regardless, they do have a point. There are entirely too many ICO offerings that are nothing more than hot air.


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