The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published research findings on Thursday, 27 December, showing that hundreds of cryptocurrency white papers appear to contain fraud, plagiarism, or offer improbable returns.
Looking at the white papers for 3,291 cryptocurrency projects that announced initial coin offerings (ICOs), analysis from WSJ showed signs of “duplicate language” with almost 10,000 sentences appearing more than once in the papers. Journalists then checked the dates of first publishment on each of the reappearing sentences to determine the original author.
The identities of individuals allegedly involved in working on the cryptocurrency projects that had key personal information missing in the white papers had their identities checked through a reverse image search; 343 projects had individuals fall in this category. Team members without photos had their information verified via the 1 million plus people on the US Census Bureau.
Over 2,000 papers utilized terms such as “nothing to lose, guaranteed profit, return on investment, highest return, high return, funds profit, no risk, and little risk”, language that US state and Federal regulators have previously cracked down on by issuing cease and desist orders or filing charges in some cases.
Some 16%, or 513 of the white papers, were found to show evidence of either plagiarism, identify theft or promising implausible returns.
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