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Crypto & Ransomware Attacks: What to do Before you Become a Victim

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Crypto ransomware

Imagine losing access to all your wallets and keys on your computer and in a flash losing all of your digital valuables.

If you think it is a wild thing to imagine, think again.

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

With over 88% organizations in Saudi Arabia and 54% of US organizations reporting Ransomware attacks in 2019 it is never too early to be cautious.

Especially, if you are in the habit of storing wallet keys and account passwords on your computer (or tablet).

In this article, we provide you some tactics that you can use to treat Ransomware attack as an inevitability and prepare for it in advance.

If it sounds morbid, that was the effect we were going for. 

What to do to avoid becoming a victim of Ransomware?

avoid ransomware

Be vigilant

The best antidote to Ransomware is to not get one. To avoid being a victim of Ransomware, you have to know how it attacks.  

Here are the top ways Ransomware attacks take place:

Phishing through email

This one method accounts for over 60% of Ransomware attacks.  Phishing is simply trying to lure victims to click on a link or download an attachment.

The creativity that goes into phishing attempts is quite sinister.

For instance, if you received an email from Coinbase.com and if you have an account with them, it is easy to click on the link without verifying the actual source.  

As an example, look at below link:

www.coinbase.com/verify

It is easy to think that this is a genuine link, however, if you hover over the link you will see it will take you to a different website entirely, in this case, we have directed the link to our own website.

Crypto specific:

Be very careful about clicking any links on emails telling you about any free airdrops or giveaways or security compromises.

Greed and fear are common triggers that scammers use to lure you into clicking links or installing Ransomware.

Ads

phishing

When we had a problem with the Binance account, we were trying to call the Binance customer support.

The problem is, we were looking for Binance support on google and astonishingly all the top slots were bought by scammers.

If you called any of these numbers they will listen to your problem like professionals and ask you for your ID, password, 2FA, etc.,

This is a dead give away.  No genuine company requests this information via phone (or even email).  

Hangup at once and go to their official website to find the customer support details.

Crypto specific:

As much as possible, try to type in the website address.  If you do use google, make sure you do not click on paid ads as some of them are bought by scammers sometimes.

Calls & spoofing

Many of my friends who are in the US on visa received a call during 2018 and 2019 threatening that police officers are on their way to their homes to arrest them unless they are ready to cough up $$s.

The callers were so intelligent that they actually spoofed the local sheriff’s number when they called so that at an off chance that you google the number – you will be even more convinced about the threat.

During one such event, I called the Sheriff’s office directly and the lady on the other end said that she was the only one who worked at the Sheriff’s office and they have no guys, and that the Sheriff (or any agency for that matter) will never contact anyone via phone about any legal matters.

Crypto specific:

Exchanges will never call you to tell you about hacks or security issues.  Never give away any passwords or 2FA on the phone.

Shady websites – look for the shield

If you have to access any shady websites, make sure you have a separate device for that other than the one that you use to access your emails and store files.

General rule of thumb is to look for the ‘secure’ key on the browser to make sure that the sites you are visiting are safe to visit.

Take regular offline backups

It is important to have backups either on an offline system or harddrive. To ensure you don’t lose data due to damage to the drive, strive to take 2 backups.

Crypto specific:

Hardware wallets are a great way to secure your crypto wealth. Do not store wallet keys or passwords to your accounts on your computer.

Redundancy is important but not too much

Have important files, keys and other information on offline devices that are not connected to the internet.

Use anti-virus and anti-malware software

Some anti-virus and anti-malware software warn you every time you try to install something to grant explicit permission.

This helps if some Ransomware tries to silent-install itself.   

What to do if you become a victim of Ransomware?

how to avoid hack

If you do end up becoming the victim of a Ransomware, do not panic and follow the following steps (these steps are assuming you are an individual and not an organization).

Disconnect from internet

Turn off your wifi, unplug your modem and internet connection.  Some of the 

ransomwares have worms (which is a fancy way of saying they install themselves on all connected devices on the network) and distancing the infected computer from the network is the first step.

Disconnect all devices from the network

Computers, printers, any device that uses the internet from the same network (devices connected via wi-fi is a good place to start). 

Wipe the system clean

The best bet when your files get locked is to clean up your harddisk and reinstall the entire system before you start using the device.

Restore the computer using original software

Try to use OEM sources to reinstall your original software onto the wiped system.  Do not login to any financial accounts from the computer until you have re-run a security scan using the latest version of antivirus.

Do NOT pay the ransom

Ransom looks like a tempting solution, however if you pay ransom, you run into following issues:

  • You may not get the access to the files despite paying the ransom
  • You will be encouraging internet terroris*s by paying them
  • You might get marked as someone they can bully into paying

It is always better to reach out to respective authorities for help. 

Special areas of concern for Crypto folks

Mining software

Many of the mining software files are flagged by the anti-virus and anti-malware software as suspicious.

You are forced to shut-down the firewall to complete the installation of these mining files.

Do you completely trust the source of these mining software? 

As a general rule, we try to use apps for mining that are available on popular platforms like AppStore.   

These companies have stringent protocols that the app needs to adhere to before it can be listed on the store.

However, when you download a mining software directly from websites – be sure that there is nothing phishy.

Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is a method in which the malware sits silently on your computer and uses your computer (and any other device connected to the same network) to mine cryptocurrencies.

Any device that is connected to the internet is vulnerable to cryptojacking.

Because there are no alerts or ransom demands, it is difficult to detect if you have been a victim of Cryptojacking, this is why having a reliable anti-virus and anti-malware software could help.

In conclusion

Most, if not all, of our funds are in digital form.  This is especially true for cryptocurrencies. Unlike the traditional banking system where you can lodge a complaint or tap into insurance, crypto is our own responsibility.  

As such, the onus lies on each of us to make sure we are prepared for any potential attacks including Ransomware.

We hope this piece has given you some things to think about your crypto security.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

Stay safe and healthy!

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

best Crypto Tax Software

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

 

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NEVER Forget The Lessons From The Bitconnect & One Coin Scams

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Coin One and Bitconnect Scam

Disclaimer: We are calling Bitconnect and One Coin as scams in this article as a matter of opinion based on how many people lost their life savings.  We are not in a position to determine whether or not these are indeed scams from a legal point of view.

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

There is a scene in the movie ‘V for Vendetta’ in which V says “Remember, remember, the fifth of November”.  

That whole movie’s premise was that people are generally courageous – they just need a way to remember what they have forgotten or grown numb to.

Crypto space is facing such an apathy and numbness to the scammers and shillers that sprout like the filthy fungi they are, everywhere.  

These filthy shitheads steal the money from hard working folk who come to Crypto as an alternative to the injustices of the mainstream, only to find out that the cure is worse than the disease.

For this very reason, remembering the past scams and how they were carried out will serve as a warning sign for the newbies and a friendly nudge for the crypto veterans.  

When we talk about the scams of scale in the crypto space then nothing really comes close in grandiosity and elaborate schematics than One Coin and Bitconnect.

We should forget the scams of the past but not the lessons they left behind.  In that spirit, this entire post is a recap of the two big scams that crypto verse has seen and the lessons that they left behind.  These lessons, if remembered, will serve everyone well.

Bitconnect scam in brief

Bitconnect Scam

Bitconnect’s lure was that investors could buy Bitconnect Coin (BCC) in exchange for their Bitcoin and other crypto (including USD stablecoins) and lock their BCC with the platform to earn a ridiculous amount of interest.  

For instance, they promised 40% per month interest and .25% daily interest on deposits exceeding $10,000.  

Essentially, investors gave up Bitcoin and real money in exchange for BCC in the hope of earning crazy interest.  One of their promises actually meant turning $1000 into $50 Million dollars within 3 years, if their compound interest model was to be believed.  

Another hallmark of this project was the ‘referral’ system where those who bring new investors will stand to gain a handsome 7% referral fees in addition to earning a cut from those referred by their referrals.  A classic pyramid ponzi.

Even with such ridiculous warnings on the wall, investors were blindsided by the FOMO and YouTube shillers they trusted.  

The elaborate scheme came to a screeching halt when the Texas Securities Board and North Carolina Board issued ‘cease and desist’ orders to Bitconnect.

The price of Bitconnect which was coasting at $377 on January 7th, 2018 came crumbling down to $8 by January 28th, 2018.  A fall of 98%.   

This left the investors in a shock.

Since the unfolding of this elaborate scam, the FBI has been investigating the Bitconnect.  They have issued a statement and soliciting information from the victims: “The entire market for BCC crashed in late January 2018, after two U.S. state-level securities regulators issued public letters warning investors of the Ponzi-type nature of Bitconnect. This led to Bitconnect completely shutting down its exchange for BCC, eliminating the market for the cryptocurrency and stranding investors with near-worthless cryptocurrency.”

Bitconnect’s scam had the hallmarks of a classic ponzi scam including:

  • Crazy rate of return without any actual product or service
  • Pyramid referral system
  • Lack of transparency about the core team
  • Lack of reliable backers or advisors on the platform
  • Too many shillers promoting the project for affiliate commissions

NOTE: If you are a victim of the Bitconnect scam, you can help the FBI with their investigation by completing a brief questionnaire.

One Coin scam in brief

One Coin Scam

OneCoin is one THE biggest exit scam in the crypto space costing investors an estimated $4 Billion.  Yet, the signs were not apparent with the OneCoin.  

OneCoin claimed itself to be a cryptocurrency that people could mine and use it as a payment system.  

Their official channel and the video is still available:

Because people were given the option to mine the coins, it was difficult to suspect a foul play.  However, the mining was not a Proof of Work where you use your computer to mine the coins, they used a Proof of Stake model.  

How do you stake if you don’t have the coins?

You cannot.  

Here is where the evil genius was incredible. OneCoin offered various packages with different staking output rates.

For instance, check the rate of staking output in below table:

One coin rate of staking output

Not just that, some packages were listed for insane price:

Coinone Package

Here is Ruja herself selling a package on top of existing packages as a ‘special time sensitive’ deal to the innocent investors.

“The bitch of Wall Street meets MLM”

The true success of OneCoin was clubbing the OneCoin staking model with a pyramid like Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) model. 

Dr. Ruja’s ingenious plan took a moonshot when she involved the who’s who of the MLM industry who were quickly lured into selling OneCoin to their network to tap into the insane gains.  Some of them even made millions in just commissions.

These MLM marketers then bought more OneCoin to qualify for a higher payouts and potential of minting millions when OneCoin hits €100.

She not only convinced the most successful businessmen from the MLM world to work for OneCoin, she even got them by the chops by luring them to invest their own profits back into the OneCoin.

Dr. Ruja referred to herself as ““the bitch of Wall Street, meets MLM”.   And she indeed was.

Evils beyond control of Dr. Ruja

The BBC expose describes that Dr. Ruja never wanted the OneCoin scam to grow as big as it did.  But once it did, she couldn’t stop it because she was not let to.  

BBC article reveals that “People involved at the early stages have told him it was never supposed to be a billion-dollar scam. She tried to close it down, he says, but the dark forces wouldn’t let her.”

At the end, Dr. Ruja’s brainchild helped many shillers, scammers and evil forces to become filthy rich while leaving many innocent investors who were looking to become rich with OneCoin were burnt and left to ashes.

Dr. Ruja’s brother was arrested in the US on money laundering charges.  Dr. Ruja is still at large. 

In summary, here is how OneCoin scam unfolded:

  • Dr. Ruja introduced OneCoin as the ‘bitcoin killer’
  • Investors were required to buy into packages to be able to mine OneCoin
  • Packages ran from €140 to €55000 (and more)
  • Investors inviting others to the platform were paid commissions
  • These commissions were paid in 60% cash and 40% OneCoin
  • Many people re-invested their commissions back into OneCoin in the hope of becoming millionaires
  • Dr. Ruja has been missing since 2017 although her brother was arrested in the US on Money Laundering charges
  • The total scam is estimated to be over $4 Billion although many people believe it might be in the ballpark of over $10 Billion

Lessons learned from One Coin and Bitconnect debacle

Every ponzi-pyramid-scam scheme has a few themes that can help you identify them before losing money or FOMO in.

Here are a few:

crypto Scam Alert

  • Salesmen or confidants?

One determining factor that seems to work almost every time is the gut feeling.   

Are you getting a sense of dealing with an old car salesman or are you feeling like you’re talking to someone who is passionate about what they are doing.  

This key distinction is what your gut is great at picking on.  

Do not ignore it.  

We run away whenever we are dealing with salesy folks, even if the project sounds ok.  Prime example:  

We stayed away from Bidao ICO project because of their salesy ICO structure.  

Don’t ignore your gut feeling, it is right most of the time. 

  • Too good to be true

If it is too good to be true, then it probably is a scam.  

While there are exceptions to this rule when it comes to Bitcoin and seed investment, they take incredible patience and they never promise anything.  Contrast to that, the ponzi-pyramid-scams all promise the sky and beyond.  If it sounds too good to be true – think again before handing your wallet over.

  • Stinks like a ‘get rich quick’ scheme rather than an investment

Retire within 6 months  |  Make a year’s worth salary over a weekend | This is next bitcoin, but better | Plug and play, watch your income multiply without any work | No work or experience needed, we will do it for you, just give us your money.

All of these statements are designed to do one thing and one thing only: separate you from your hard earned money.

  • No actual product or solution

If all you see in a business is a ‘promise’ to pay you exorbitant amounts of returns on your investment but they have no product or service in place, that is a clear indication that they are a ponzi.

Even if you do see a product or service and if that is mediocre at best or looks like it has been mashed up together to lure people – dig more before you part with your money.

  • Lure of Insider information

Crypto gurus are experts at this.  

Their pitch always starts something like “we have just uncovered this massive movement that no one is seeing, and this could turn your $1000 to $1 Million in 6 months” or something in those lines.  

If you read such hyperbole – know that they are out to get you.

  • Tier systems

Tier system: Invest $100 get 5% free, Invest $1000 get 15% free and so on, these are classic tier systems.  They also take shape of ‘invite 5 friends and get this benefit, invite 15 friends and become a VIP, etc.,’ 

Not all tier systems are a scam. Most are.

If the program structure is such that you get a cut from every new ‘victim’ you introduce then it is most probably a scam waiting to happen.

The people who get involved early in this pyramid scam do get money and that is why they honestly believe that they have discovered a gold mine and it is difficult for most of them to believe that they are innocently perpetuating a scam.  

This lure of making boat loads of money pushes them to pimp the project even harder making the inventors of the scam super rich.

  • FOMO offers

FomoInvest in the next 3 hours and get this bonus | Leave everyone behind by investing early |  First 1000 investors will be elite members eligible for special dividends | Difference between investing now and a month later is $150000000000 | and so on.

If the pitch is designed to appeal to your greed and instigates a Fear of Missing Out response, take a deep breath.  Are you about to take a plunge into scam-verse?

  • Glitter, lots of it

One of the hallmarks of an elaborate scam is the grand events and expensive venues.

Why not, it’s not their hard earned money that they are splurging.  

These events usually take place in grandiose settings, blasting music, food and beverages flowing freely and glamor is everywhere.  

People fall for the glamor in the hopes that they too will be living this shiny life themselves one day.  

That lure for glamor is the kiss of death for their hard earned money.   If you see too much glitter – run away before it sticks on you.

  • Lock in your capital, no thanks

One of the giveaways of a scam is the promise to pay you interest and your capital back after a specified term.  

For instance, a company could promise to return your Bitcoin with a 50% interest if you lock in for 6 months or a year or so.  

If they can convince enough people to do the same, they can just return the money from the people who invested after you to make the market believe that they are indeed paying the crazy interest promised and thus creating a FOMO in the unassuming investors.  

Once it scales – they can shut the door without raising the flags since everyone would be waiting for the time to lapse.  

  • Lack of reliable backers/advisors

You will not find people with great reputation involved in the projects.  The people who do lend their name or become part of the team will be the ones with hard to verify history or they appear on the world scene suddenly.  

If you think about it, we did not know who Vitalik Buterin was, however, we saw many reliable crypto industry veterans backed his idea and got involved with the project.

Bitconnect had no intellectual or upright backers. 

In fact, Vitalik called them out as Ponzi at the outset, albeit, his warnings fell on deaf ears.

  • FREE, Free, freeeeeee!

Free CryptoInvest today to get 50% free.  

Invite your friends and we will give 50% of their investment, for free.  

Share our news on YOUR social feed and we will give you XX for free.  

Email your friends about us and for every single email that gets read, you will get $$.  

The list goes on.  

Whenever you see ‘FREE’ offers to invite more people – it probably is a scam that is preying on greed.  

Run away at once.

Common factors in One Coin and Bitconnect scams

There were some striking resemblances between these two scams.  Look at the below summary table:

Warning signs
BitConnect
Comments
OneCoin
Comments
Affiliate commissions for bringing new investors
Yes
People were paid handsomely for bringing new investors onboard
YesPerpetual commissions were promised to 'shillers'
Tiered structure investment plans
YesPlans ranged from Euro 140 to Eur 55,000 or more
Yes
Interest based on investment amount from $1000 to $100000+
Too good to be true offers
YesSold on the hope of OneCoin reaching Euro 100 one day
YesPromise of interest of over 40% per month
Pyramid scheme
YesMLM combined with cryptocurrency
YesMulti-level referral system from commissions of .5% to 7%
Lack of experts and industry professionals
YesNo known experts were onboard
YesNo known experts were onboard

Why should you not trust influencers?

In the cases of Bitconnect and One Coin, the so called media influencers (bloggers, YouTubers, Twitter celebrities, Facebook groups, etc.,) have all been duped into FOMO and they in turn created a FOMO in their followers.  

It is not clear whether or not these influencers were actually aware of the schematics of the elaborate plan to scam people of their money, nevertheless, they have played a BIG role in people losing their hard earned money.

The entire crypto space is less than 10 years old.  It actually got serious followers in the last 5 or so years.  For someone to claim that they are experts in the field is utterly misleading.  

We have always been telling our readers – never trust anyone on the internet, especially shillers. Do your own research and use the information on the internet to gain multiple perspectives.  

Force yourself to search for the negative point of view when you are in the grips of FOMO.

That one strategy of forcing yourself to search for multiple POVs seems to work excellently from our own experience.

Are you FOMOing?  use our FOMO/FUD checker to find out!

Enjoy.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

Stay safe and healthy!

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

best Crypto Tax Software

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

Continue Reading

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3 of Our Favorite Ways For Passive Crypto Income

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Passive Income

What is your crypto endgame? 

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

Ours is simple.

  • Make decent profits in the coming bull market (and not repeat same mistakes as we did in 2017)
  • Invest the profits into assets that generate passive income
  • Continue to learn, grow, invest and repeat

While thinking about our endgame, it struck us that we don’t have to wait for the market to take a bullish turn or to sell to convert gains into passive income.

We can earn passive income while holding crypto and not worry about the market ups and downs.

We are sharing the ways we found to earn passive income in the hope that it will give you some ideas.  

Disclaimer:  We are including referral links below (but we are not listing these because of referrals).  We have owned the below projects for quite sometime now. Just because we think of these projects so highly do not guarantee results. DYOR.

1. Earning interest income by simply holding the crypto

US interest rates are historically low now.  

We have speculated that we will see negative interest rates once Digital Dollar becomes a reality.  

There is really no good way to create a sustainable economy without bringing negative rates and forcing people into the system.

While you cannot make any real interest income from your savings account in the US (and most western countries) there are ways you can earn interest on your cryptos. 

Here are two we come to rely on: 

BlockFi

Blockfi

BlockFi provides the wealth management products cryptoinvestors need, all powered by blockchain technology.

Celsius

Celsius Network logoCelsius Network lets you buy coins, earn interest on your crypto and instantly borrow dollars at 1% APR against it. No fees ever.

2. Cryptos that actually pay you income (like dividends)

While earning interest on your bitcoin and USDC deposits is awesome, there is yet another way that is better, in our opinion, than holding crypto in the accounts.

KuCoin Shares

KuCoin is one of the popular crypto exchanges in the space.

We have been using and talking about Crypto for years now.  What we particularly like about KuCoin Shares (KCS) is that it pays the profits generated by the exchange back to KCS holders in the form of KCS tokens.

For example, if you held a 1000 KCS on the exchange, you earn about $.80 cents to $1, depending on the trade.

It might not sound much to you but think about it.  

1000 KCS cost you around $1300, and 80 cents a day translates to $292. That is about 22% interest per year.

That is even before compounding the KCS you receive that in turn increases your share in profits.

Ontology

Ontology provides ONG (Ontology Gas) for holding ONT tokens in a ONTO Wallet.

3. Free Crypto is still income

Earn.com

How to earn on CoinbaseNow acquired by Coinbase, Earn.com gives you an opportunity to earn crypto by simply responding to quiz questions.

Last rollout had over $180 in cryptos.  Even now, there are over $100 available in earnings for doing courses (and completing quiz).

You can register here.

4. Bonus

Big things could be coming or a total failure. Big industry, great team, actual products, good market, amazing addressable market size.

PundiX

Providing a borderless payment ecosystem beyond fiat.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

Stay safe and healthy!

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

best Crypto Tax Software

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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Chasing the Micro Cap Crypto Gems #4 – Skrumble Protocol – Why We Changed Our View On This?

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Micro Cap crypto Gems

The tricky thing about finding micro-cap gems is that we have to find something that fits our crypto framework criteria and still be under $10 Million in the market cap.   

The project that we picked today had a few flags while we were researching and we promptly reached out to the team to clarify.   

You will see our initial views/opinions based on publicly available information and the response from the company.

What is Skrumble Network?

What is Skrumble NetworkThe core concept behind Skrumble Network is that when data is stored in one centralized location (like a Server) it poses the greatest security when it gets hacked.

However, if your data is fragmented and stored on decentralized servers, even that particular decentralized server gets hacked, your data is still secured because the fragmented piece that got hacked is usually incomprehensible.

Skrumble Network helps decentralize the communication protocol by using Blockchain technology.

Skrumble Network helps facilitate File transfers, secure messaging, Video streaming and calling.

how Skrumble network works

Whitepaper describes: “Skrumble Network is a secure, communication-centric blockchain, decentralized communication application and a communication layer for developers to add into any application. With no middle entity or centralized server host in between to censor, block or manipulate any data, Skrumble Network will enable open, global private communication and transactions that are truly community owned and operated.”

One of the distinguishing factors about this project was that it was initially developed with an established company behind this crypto that has been in the business for more than half-a-decade and they know how to deliver a product that is used in the real business world.

Applying our framework

As is our custom, let’s apply the CryptoTapas framework around this project.

Problem

The security around our communications is as old of an issue as the internet itself.

This concern has become more pronounced in the recent years with the news of hacks and breach of confidentiality, and utter disregard for privacy.

Now that COVID has completely changed the way we work (especially working from home), the security around communications is now taking the spotlight again.

If Skrumble Network addresses this issue in a novel, scalable and easy to implement way – it might have a great chance at this massive problem.

Team

Eric Lifson seems to be working on Skrumble Network for over 3 years now, and he was quite accommodative when we reached out to him with questions. 

When we looked at the team page on the Skrumble’s website, with the exception of three members, everyone who is listed on their team’s page is no longer with the company (some since July 2019) and this disappoints us that they have not updated their own team’s profile.

Skrumble Network team

More importantly, if everyone jumped the ship, who is behind the project now?

The flagship app on Skrumble Protocol, GetAlly, shows the team members that are also associated with Skrumble Protocol, however, most of these team members are no longer with Skrumble.

Question for Skrumble Team: Who is working on this project? What is the current team structure?  

[Update: The project informed us that all these people have at one point worked on the project. While the team has downsized to a team of about 6 core people, SKM has a strong brand and past and present members prefer to maintain recognition of their achievements. Moreover, several are still contributing, just not on a full-time basis. Any who do not, the team offers to remove them at any time. This is now more in line with how ongoing DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) seem to be operating.]

Partnerships

Skrumble Network’s Ally dApp claims to have a 150K user base.  They also teased about the upcoming partnership to take the DeFi initiative forward.

We actually like the advisor profile associated with the Skrumble Network project one of whom is Anthony Di Iorio, co-founder of Ethereum.

Apart from Anthony, Skrumble has Jeff Pulver who is the co-founder of $3 Billion communication company, Vonage.

That is quite a respectable name association with Skrumble.

Question for Skrumble team: Have there been any changes in the Advisor group (similar to team changes?).

[Update: No. We also still Jin Tu – former CTO of Aion, OAN boardmember and Cofounder of Axis DeFi, who is an Expert Blockchain Architect. 

Redouane Elkamhi,
PhD, Associate Professor at Rotman
Leader in Fintech & Blockchain at the University of Toronto 

Kevin Hsu,
Founder Partner at BlockVC
Investor in Ontology, RSK & QTUM 

Jiangang Wu, PhD
Co-Founder of Fusion
Professor of Finance & Blockchain Economics at Shanghai University] 

Addressable market size

Secured communications, whether it is simple file sharing service or video streaming or chatting is a huge market.

It has only exploded in value in the past few months when people were forced to communicate over the internet instead of in-person meetings.

This trend will only become the norm as the internet becomes more accessible (Elon’s Starlink reality) and companies start restricting travel.

File transfers, messaging, video streaming and calling verticals market size is in $100s of Billions, if not trillions.

Revenue model

Question for Skrumble team: How does Skrumble Network generate revenue?

[Update: The core problem for SKM has actually been the volatility of the utility token model in general. We will address this in more detail later.]

DeFi + Communication?

Skrumble Network’s official blog was silent since October of 2019, although remained very active on Telegram, and resurfaced with an announcement that Skrumble Network is going DeFi. 

The announcement about a partnership with Juggernaut reads “unique custom financial modelling and DeFi deployment, it can enable token projects to have real, sustainable, and modular business models built around their utility model.”

Is this another attempt to exploit the market craze around DeFi?

We asked the team this question directly.

Skrumble Network Roadmap

Question for Skrumble Network Team: What drove this decision to look at DeFi and what unique attributes do you think will help Skrumble succeed in this space? 

How does this Juggernaut help Skrumble’s vision?

[Update: Really, we see two sustainable business models so far in the space – 

  1.     platform tokens (for exchanges) with only room for a few like Huobi or Binance
  2.     DeFi due to the collective staking, lockup and general collateralization of new directions and ability to focus on new industries.

A two-token solution is the only way to do something meaningful and sustainable in my opinion with a utility token. One for utility and one for profit sharing. They are missing the sustainable business model. They don’t have enough usage to reach a critical mass and the DeFi synthetic at least has a chance to have something closer a traditional ‘share’ balanced approach. 

Most proof of stake with inflation models will reach a point where one has to ask where any utility token can be able to sustain beyond initial interest 

This is why we must change the game. 

Basing anything on a pure utility token that fluctuates is basically unsustainable. This is because when people are in the money they just leave to the next hot project. People who operate in DAOs want something more stable to base their livelihoods on. They want something closer to USD that can be more stable and scalable. 

This is an overview of how we see DeFi becoming a crucial component going forward:https://medium.com/juggernaut-defi/skm-partners-with-jgn-to-develop-first-defi-communication-network-20ba9a3ccf38 

What do we like about Skrumble?

We like the fact that Skrumble Technologies has been a technology company since 2014 and it has leveraged some technology and strategic guidance from them in their initial inception.  It has real business with actual clients in the market.  How many of the 6500 cryptos can claim that? 

Additionally, the company has patents to its name and helps them deploy proprietary solutions in the market. 

In addition, we like that the co-founder is quite active in working on building Skrumble Network up. 

You can go to the Telegram and see him responding to the questions posed by the community. 

When we reached out to Eric, he provided a quick ‘highlight’ of Skrumble for someone who is new to the project, we have reproduced what Eric shared with us below (we have not independently verified this information): 

Skrumble Network is reshaping freedom of speech and data privacy with a communication-centric blockchain due to our unique PoA architecture, formidable global community, robust proprietary chain, accomplished advisors, and top-tier exchanges. 

🤝PoA consensus model: Aligning incentives and encouraging active community participation

💪Innovative chain and base layer: Enabling other dApps to be built on top of Skrumble Network. First dApp- Ally already has 150k+ users with more coming soon

🙋🏻‍♂️Industry-leading advisors: Including Anthony Di Iorio (Co-Founder of Ethereum) and Jeff Pulver (Co-Founder of $3B Vonage), Jin Tu (CTO of Aion), Redouane Elkamhi, PhD (Lead of Fintech & Blockchain at the University of Toronto), Kevin Hsu (Partner, BlockVC)

🥇Trusted and premier exchanges. Won Huobi FastTrack vote last week with over 40 million votes. Counting Gate.io, Huobi Global, Bittrex, LBank, Coinbene etc as our exchange partners

🎖Ranked by ICO Drops for both top 5 global community and ROI in Q22018

🗳Won Huobi FastTrack with 40M+ votes on June 27 19

👑Massive dApp ecosystem coming soon with innovative token economic details

🦁DeFi component / partnership incoming 

Things to consider

Apart from the general risk that is inherent with the crypto space, consider the following when you DYOR on Skrumble Network. 

Competition

Few blockchain/crypto companies have tried to take a stab at the ‘secured communication’ aspect using blockchain. 

We have not yet heard the great success story in this space. 

This is good news and not so at the same time. 

It is good news because Skrumble Network could be THE project that penetrates the ‘success resistance’ in space. 

It is not so good news because the same reasons that lead to the failure of previous projects could plague Skrumble Network. 

Team changes

Exodus of team members from the Skrumble Network is a point of concern for us.  We are going to update this section with the response from the Skrumble Network team (without removing this concern from here). [Update: It seems that several are still involved in a part time basis, and they claim to have streamlined their operation. They are also actively working with the Juggernaut (JGN) team to implement the DeFi rewards system. For more details on JGN please see here: https://jgndefi.com/ 

Token supply

While the market cap is what matters the most in terms of the potential multiples, crypto space seems to be very touchy about the token supply. 

Token supply on Skrumble Network (SKM) is 1.5 Billion and might be looked at as quite high.

All tokens have been released to the market. In this space, the actual token supply amounts are becoming far less important. This was a pretty standard number in 2018 and was advised to the team. 

Team is expected to release more token utility and use cases as per the information alluded to by Eric and depending on the future use cases the market might respond positively. 

Moving to a more stable way of incentivizing operators may innovate the DeFI space beyond pure finance and into other industries as we rediscover how we share and perceive value. 

This is an overview of how we see DeFi becoming a crucial component going forward: https://medium.com/juggernaut-defi/skm-partners-with-jgn-to-develop-first-defi-communication-network-20ba9a3ccf38   

Conclusion

Our first impression is that Skrumble Network looks like a project with a lot of potential.  However, potential means nothing until it is ‘realized’. 

Will Skrumble Network realize its potential?  We do not know and that is the dilemma we have to ‘risk’ when dealing with micro-cap gems.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

Also read:

Chasing the Micro Cap Crypto gems #3 Phantasma is Aiming to do it All!

Chasing the Micro Cap Gems #2: aXpire, a Blockchain Business with a Working Product

Chasing the Micro Cap Gems #1: TRIAS aims to bring Trust in Technology

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