Prodeum was supposed to be a revolutionary inventory management and tracking platform for the produce industry. Instead, the “fruit and veggie” ICO turned out to be rotten to the core.
I can remember when I first heard about Prodeum. There wasn’t a ton of fanfare behind it, and it was one of those ICOs that, when you thought about it, you would think to yourself, “Fruits and vegetables on the blockchain? Well, why the hell not?” It certainly wasn’t the worst blockchain project ever conceived.
The Lithuania-based startup (at least I *think* they’re based in Lithuania – at this point, who the hell knows?) managed to drum up some interest thanks to a press release distributed to dozens of NBC and CBS affiliate sites. They claimed to be preparing for trial runs in Lithuania and the U.S. “later this year” as well as meeting with the International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS).
Prodeum launched their crowdsale on January 20 and it was supposed to run through March 13, but over the weekend the website vanished, leaving only the word ‘penis’ to mock and confound the crypto community. Interestingly, the name Prodeum is just one vowel away from Prodium, a medication used to treat the symptoms of urinary tract infections.
What We Know So Far
The exact amount that the Prodeum scammers actually managed to make off with is a subject of much debate. Some reports are making the claim that they scammed investors out of millions of dollars, while others report the haul as being a laughable $11. After looking up the ICO address on Etherscan and adding up all of the incoming transactions, the total amount that they were able to raise through their sham of a token sale is roughly 2.94 ETH – $3,479 at current market prices.
Almost nothing is known about the actual people behind the Prodeum scam. Four of the five people listed on Token Desk’s fundraising page for the ICO appear to have no actual connection with the project. Darius Rugevicius, Vytautas Kaseta, and Mario Pazos, who were all listed as either team members or advisors, are respected blockchain experts and are understandably concerned about the impact that their unwilling association with Prodeum will have on their reputations. Rokas Vedluga, who is listed as the project manager, also denies any involvement with Prodeum:
I ran a WHOIS search on the domain name prodeus.io, but that turned out to be a bust. The domain was registered through Namecheap, and the registrant’s name is listed as Jay Rivera, but it is probably fake, just like everything else about the project.
As far as what happens next, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe someone will report the incident to the authorities. If they do, then maybe the authorities will be able to find something out by contacting Wix, which is the service Prodeum used to build their website. Or maybe they will track down the phone number in the press release or contact the company who distributed it.
Do you think that there will ever be a comeuppance for the Prodeum scammers? Sound off in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons