The excited sceptic

Monday, 3 September 2018
Melbourne, Australia
By Ryan Dinse

  • The Equi-Capital affair
  • A cesspool of tokens
  • The real crypto-baron

2018 has been a tumultuous year for cryptocurrencies. We’ve seen the volatility that began in December of last year continue, at the same time that the mainstream media has largely turned its back on the crypto world. But perhaps surprisingly, this hasn’t led to the death of the crypto revolution. In fact, judging by the developments coming out of the crypto world, and by the numbers of initial coin offerings (ICOs) you might be forgiven for thinking this year’s volatility never happened.

My colleague Sam Volkering and I frequently discuss the ICOs that he monitors. And believe me, he watches a lot.

In fact, watching Sam work is a bit like watching a duck swimming. All calm on top, but underneath the water his legs are paddling a million miles an hour.

There’s actually a great deal of work Sam does that his readers never get their hands on. For good reason, too.

Let me explain with a short tale, after the markets…


Over the weekend the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 22.10 points, or 0.085%.

The S&P 500 is up 0.39 points, or 0.013%.

In Europe the Euro Stoxx 50 index finished down 38.09 points, or 1.11%. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 lost 83.61%, and Germany’s DAX fell 130.18 points, or 1.04%.

In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 is down 157.77 points, or 0.69%. China’s CSI 300 is down 10.49%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 is down 8.60 points, or 0.14%.

On the commodities markets, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is US$69.65 per barrel. Brent crude is US$77.52 per barrel.

Gold is trading for US$ 1,201.50(AU$ 1,669.91) per troy ounce. Silver is US$ 14.60(AU$ 20.29) per troy ounce.

One bitcoin is worth US$ 7,234.64.

The Aussie dollar is worth 71.94US cents.

The Equi-Capital affair

Lady Mone of Mayfair OBE, as she likes to be known, is a familiar face at the swanky A-list parties in the UK.

Michelle Mone — as is her commoner name — is a very successful businesswoman. She founded the Ultimo lingerie business in Glasgow, Scotland in 1996 and sold 80% of it in 2013 for around 20 million pounds.

Since then she has branded herself as a kind of celebrity entrepreneur, at home on the likes of TV show Shark Tank, and as a highly paid public speaker.

But apparently there was no end to her talents.

Five months ago, she sent out a tweet:

chart image

Source: Twitter
Click to enlarge

Sounds unbelievable.

But the hashtag said #believe? And some did…

As an overnight self-proclaimed crypto expert (despite no evidence she’d heard of crypto before this tweet), the now crypto-Baroness soon launched her Equity Capital ICO.

According to Crypto Globe, the Equi-Capital project and its token — the EQUI — would ‘revolutionise the venture capital market…

The idea being that the (not yet produced) Equi platform would allow you to use your EQUI tokens to back certain showcased investment opportunities. But only if you’re an accredited investor…or a lord or lady, perhaps?

So, in short, a crowd equity platform then? Not the worst idea in the world, but hardly original. And certainly not a game changer.

But she had the profile, the money and the chutzpah to give it a red-hot go.

The project has now ended in disarray…

It’s being reported that the project’s ‘bounty hunters’ — mostly unpaid marketers in developing countries — have been told they will get less than 2% of what they were promised, after the ICO was a flop.

There’s been no word from the project or the good Lady, and the mainstream press has remained silent on the affair.

The crypto press though? They have made their judgements already on the self-proclaimed crypto royalty. It’s not good.

‘Scam’, ‘fraud’, ‘fake’, and ‘heartless’ are just some of the accusations flying her way. Though some might say that’s just the usual level of crypto banter these days!

But here’s the point…

A cesspool of tokens

Make no mistake, last year’s crypto boom attracted every scam artist, fraud and unqualified buck chaser. But it also brought in well-meaning entrepreneurs who are completely out of their depth.

And arguably these are the harder ones to spot.

I personally had high hopes for a token launch last year called WeTrust (TRST). Its network valuation has fallen almost to zero in this bear market.

The thing is, I’ve never doubted the intentions of the team behind the project. And I still think their original idea is a good one (though I’ve never invested in it as I filter my personal picks with trading rules, to save me from myself).

Despite my hope for them, it appears the team were — are — out of their depth. They seem to be pivoting the project as I speak. Too bad…

The playground for all these people is the ICO market. The allure of riches, fame and fortune await.

Now that doesn’t mean there aren’t heaps of great opportunities too. There are. I’ve no doubt some will be complete game-changers. These projects will make early token holders a mint.

This is the topsy turvy crypto world you’re living in right now.

To be a good crypto investor is to be an excited sceptic. Excited because the possibilities are indeed tremendous for certain projects. A sceptic because you should always do your own due diligence on everything. On me, on Sam, on your crypto picks…everything. No one knows exactly how the future will be.

Or as Ronald Regan used to say, ‘Trust but verify.’

Now, back to my broader point. There’s a reason you have (probably) never heard of Lady Mone’s ICO.

Because it certainly wasn’t one Sam put up for you.

Though I can see how some would be attracted to it. A high-profile entrepreneur, a reasonable goal and an army of online marketers talking it up. This would have worked in 2017.

And this wasn’t a scam by any means. It was just a sophisticated operation working on a project which just wasn’t very good. There was no use for the token. There was no technology innovation. There was no qualified development team behind it.

A bit of money and a bit of glamour perhaps. That’s not what crypto is about, though.

The real crypto-baron

In my opinion, this is the kind of due diligence Secret Crypto Network readers are paying for with Sam.

Sure, there’s no guarantees on any of his picks either. They could fail. But at least you’re giving yourself every chance to avoid the complete rubbish that’s out there. And believe me, there’s a lot.

Unlike Lady Mone, Sam didn’t start tweeting about crypto yesterday. I think he’s been in the space since 2011 in some shape or form. That’s the kind of experience you want to have helping to guide you. 

A bonafide crypto-baron. Not some Johnny-come-lately.

The current altcoin bloodbath is indiscriminate. Good projects, bad projects, all are being hit right now.

But in the end the crypto cream will rise to the top. Avoiding the bad projects is half the battle. Finding a couple of winners is the rest. In my opinion, with Sam you’re in very good hands to do both.