For as little as $60,000, a slice of history could be yours.
That’s the starting price in an eBay auction for all the documents, all of the branding, all of the strings of 1s and 0s, and all the broken dreams of an initial coin offering (ICO) that never managed to sell a single token.
And yet, the prospective buyer is told:
The project has everything in place to conduct a successful ICO/STO campaign.
(STO meaning securities token offering. Which is completely different from an ICO, you understand, because it’s called a securities token offering.)
Below is the eBay listing (right-click to enlarge):
We called up Ivan Komar, the founder of the rather wonderfully named “Sponsy” that is now selling itself off. We asked him why the project, which he founded two years ago when he was just 19, hadn’t worked out. Apparently unwittingly, he managed to sum up all that was wrong with the Great Crypto Bubble of 2017-2018 with his answer:
We hired a lawyer and that was a big mistake for us. Because our lawyer basically told us that we should not launch any ICO before we built a real product that might have some users. And I asked him why, because I saw so many ICOs out there who did not have any idea for any product, yet they managed to raise tens of millions of dollars.
Komar acknowledged that the lawyer’s advice was probably the right advice from the customer’s — or token-buyer’s — point of view, but not from the point of view of raising money. So what would Sponsy have done differently if they had the chance again, we asked?
We would not have tried to build a product first, we would have tried to run a token sale as soon as possible, to jump into this crypto craze bandwagon, and raise as much money as possible before building any product. And that’s exactly what others were doing.
Instead, rather than launching in late 2017 when “this crypto craze bandwagon” was in full swing, Komar waited until summer 2018, by which stage, he says, the “market had vanished and nobody was interested in our offer”.
So even though there is no market for ICOs, or at least not for his ICO, Komar is hoping his eBay auction will attract an “enterprise client” with a big blockchain R&D budget — he suggested Bosch — or an individual who wants to try to launch an ICO into the non-existent market. Or just someone who wants to start a sponsorship platform that has nothing to do with blockchain or crypto. Komar told us:
The core business model would run just as well in the centralised world without any tokens or crypto or blockchain… They can easily eliminate the crypto functionality out of this. The core component is a platform — it doesn’t require any crypto or blockchain component to work. Just a typical, centralised server.
Again Komar — without necessarily realising it — had managed to rather nicely encapsulate the speciousness and incoherence of the ICO bubble. All Sponsy requires to function is a “typical, centralised server”, and yet its tagline is: “Decentralised Sponsorship Platform”.
The eBay listing also contained some other potentially attractive promises to prospective buyers, such as:
Full set of investment documents
Designed and approved by investment bankers.
Aside from the fact that it seemed a little odd to be selling any kind of preapproved investment documents, this seemed good! Which investment bank had approved the project, we wanted to know? At that point Komar, who is Belarusian but seemed to speak perfectly decent English, appeared to get in a bit of a twist:
“Approved” might be a huge word for it. It might be some kind of exaggeration. We did have a law firm based in the UK that ran some sort of audit of our project, and it ranked it, and the rank that we got was pretty high and the risk we got was pretty low. This was an audit by a British firm. This couldn’t be called a fully fledged investment banking audit, it’s just some firm that was considering investing in crypto.
The “British firm” that Komar was referring to was a Poland-based firm called Memorandum Capital, which lists various “contact” addresses in different countries on its website. On its LinkedIn, the company says its head office is a residential address in Manchester where 132 other companies’ offices are also listed, according to Companies House Data. It is not an investment bank, or a law firm, but a company that helps companies launch crypto tokens.
There seem to have been some other translation errors in the eBay listing, too, like:
Every post without exception generates tens and sometimes hundreds of likes, retweets, and replies.
Here’s the latest tweet:
To be fair to Komar, at least he sought a lawyer’s advice before launching an ICO. Props must also be given to his lawyer, who told him he’d go to jail if he tried to flog tokens before he had any semblance of a product.
We’re not sure why he thinks someone else would now want to buy this business idea, though, when he himself has given up on it. Komar reckons $60,000 is a “very low amount for the product we are offering. The ideal amount would be $200,000″.
Offers so far, with four days to go: zero. Watchers: also zero. Happy bidding, folks!
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