There are ICOs that merely anger backers when they delay the beta release a couple of months. And then, there are ICOs that promise a lot, only to disappear completely.
And while the case of Confido was extremely disturbing, it turns out not to be the last one. Now, Prodeum, an ICO that had everything running seemingly smooth, with Twitter updates until the last - just before the side prodeum.io disappeared, adding insult to injury with an obscene message.
Before deleting its tweets, Prodeum ran a campaign of having its domain written in ink over people's skin, as they sent in selfies. In the end, the ICO turned into a disturbing combination between a cash grab and a college prank.
The initial idea of Prodeum was to track produce supply chains, via the PIIT token.
Since then, all the profiles for the ICO have disappeared. But even before Prodeum went missing, users noticed faked pictures on the site.
Prodeum originated in Lithuania, a former Eastern Bloc country where new technologies have been taken up, offering up a hope of fast wealth. And it was indeed fast for Prodeum, although the exact number of Ethereums gathered is unknown.
In the case of Confido, scammed customers made a lot of noise immediately. But with this relatively obscure ICO, it is unknown if anyone lost significant funds. Prodeum pulled its exit prank just eight days after the ICO closed, and had a much lower profile compared to Confido. It is not even known whether any tokens were distributed.
The only trace left of Prodeum is a white paper document on Google Docs.
The address given for ICO fundraising (0x931D387731bBbC988B312206c74F77D004D6B84b) showed that Prodeum actually did not manage to draw more than a pittance of Ethereum. So the exit prank may have been an over-reaction to a failed business model. Next to the recent theft of $600 million's worth of NEM tokens, the Prodeum seems like only a harmless prank.
Yet it still serves as a cautionary tale of what may happen if fully-backed ICO teams decide to disappear, leaving backers empty-handed.