Recent Ether Liquidation by ICOs — a Case of Fact-Free Reporting of Non-News?
There has been widespread reporting of recent ether liquidation by ICO teams. A number of cryptocurrency news outlets have reported the dumping of over 100,000 ether — worth around $40 million USD — over the past month. But is it true? And if it is true, is it significant?
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Cited Santiment Research Fails to Illustrate Supposed Ether Liquidation
A story is making the rounds that $40 million worth of ether has been sold off over the past month in a panic by ICO project teams. The teams, it has been reported, have dumped ether in response to dramatic crypto price plunges. The supposed dumps have only exacerbated the bearish trends the currency, along with most of its peers, has endured.
The reporting has centered around research by Santiment, a company that tracks cryptocurrency market data and crypto projects. The company’s grammatically disastrous stated aim is to teach machines:
“… how to evaluate sentiment, to see if its [sic] possible to spot tops or bottoms. But we’re also building social features for people to share insights, because its [sic] not just data that’s important but the community around it.”
Santiment charts appear to illustrate one-off ether trades by a number of projects:
Atonomi sold 3 ETH on July 19th and 9 ETH on July 26th:
AppCoins sold over 8 ETH on August 9th:
Etheroll dumped over 5 ETH on August 3rd:
Reporting also claims that OpenLedger liquidated over 5 ETH on August 9th. The graphic used to demonstrate that sell-off appears to have been a forgery or a graph related to another project, as Santiment does not track OpenLedger. The company’s SANbase tracker shows “no data found” when a search for the company is entered. The graph used to demonstrate OpenLedger’s trading history mysteriously lacks the organization’s name at the top left of the screen.
How Else Are Projects Supposed to Fund Their Endeavors?
The funds raised during an ICO are intended to be spent on developing the project. Even where there have been fairly substantial sell transactions by ICO teams, it is reasonable to assume that some of those ether liquidation events were intended to fund development efforts.
Furthermore, Etheroll’s August 3rd trade pales in comparison to its ether sell activity between October 2017 and March 2018. An Etheroll spokesman also hit back at the reporting:
“The paragraph regarding Etheroll selling 5,400 eth is incorrect. We were simply migrating funds to an updated smart-contract.”
Will The Real Ran Neu-Ner Please Tweet Up?
Ran Neu-Ner, who describes himself as the host of a CNBC Africa show called Crypto Trader, tweeted inside knowledge of an ether dump by an unnamed ICO team on August 7th:
Spent the morning with an ICO (not to be named) they raised $30m usd with a solid roadmap, they raised when ETH was $1200. They panicked and sold their remaining ETH last night – they have $4m left.
— Ran NeuNer (@cryptomanran) August 8, 2018
That anecdotal evidence was referenced in the reporting of the ether-dumping barrage that ICO projects have supposedly been subjecting the market to. As followers attempted to guess the ICO in question, the possibilities of the mysterious project to which Neu-Ner referred (given the figures he provided) were narrowed down to CPChain, Restart Energy, and Shipchain.
Assuming Neu-Ner’s tweet did actually describe real information he had been given, Santiment does not have the ether sell data for Shipchain or Restart Energy. Its data on CPChain does not reveal a recent dramatic sell-off of ether:
Ran Neu-Ner’s show on CNBC is also not what it first appears. It is self-funded by Neu-Ner and he is not remunerated by CNBC for it. If the self-proclaimed blockchain evangelist is not the first television host in history to work for free, he must be the first to actually pay to work.
A follower @Z_MoDi_Z also found another problem in his tweet — namely, the glaring similarities between it and another tweet:
— CryptoBro (@Z_MoDi_Z) August 8, 2018
When Will Crypto Reporting Get Serious?
The reporting of the “ICO ether liquidation” bears all the hallmarks of hysterical, fact-free journalism. That a pay-to-play news anchor with dubious credentials lent his CTRL-C, CTRL-V style weight to the story is a further slap in the face for journalistic integrity.
Have your say. Does crypto journalism rely less on facts and more on hype? How damaging is this to the crypto-economy?
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