Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a great way for legitimate startups to obtain funds and get out there. They are, however, filled with scammers trying to trick investors. An ICO for a startup going by Miroskii was recently caught using a stock photo of actor Ryan Gosling as its graphic designer, and swiftly pulled an exit scam once the jig was up.
— Shill Nye The ICO Guy (@CryptoShillNye) March 4, 2018
Miroskii named its designer Kevin Belanger, but Twitter and Reddit users quickly found out something was off, as he looked just like actor Ryan Gosling. Upon investigation, CNET found out mostly every team member had a snatched photo, taken from real people who have nothing to do with blockchain or cryptocurrencies.
The project, according to its website, described itself as a “bank without any bankers.” Whoever was behind it quickly took the website down once it was clear the jig was up, along with every social media account the project had.
The exit scam, according to Miroskii’s now-downed website, netted $833,000 from 380 investors who participated in the project’s ICO. While it isn’t clear whether the number is real or fabricated, some evidence suggests it’s real.
The startup managed to run a small PR campaign, that saw its press release get published on at least one cryptocurrency news outlet. This could have sparked interest in the project.
Exit scam potentially rakes in $833,000
The project was filled with red flags – besides the Ryan Gosling photo. It claimed that industry giants tested, approved and accepted its token, the Miroskii Coin (MRC), and were already using it in their “closed B2B sector.” The project’s website further claimed demand forced it to hold the first stage of its ICO for institutional investors only.
Moreover, it claimed that “Visa, Master Card, Maestro Card, American express and many more” had already signed to issue Miroskii-branded cards. While cryptocurrency debit cards do exist, it wouldn’t make sense for the startup to sign deals with various card issuers.
The website further noted the project was going to be “regulated under the EUROPEAN Union.” The scammers behind the project likely meant the company would receive a banking license, which would be highly unlikely given the current regulatory environment surrounding cryptocurrencies.
As if all these red flags weren’t enough, Miroskii didn’t even have a whitepaper, as its website said it was “coming soon.” Its social media accounts had a total of seven followers. This isn’t the first ICO exit scam seen this year. As covered by Core Media, Ethereum-based Prodeum recently pulled a similar move.