Savedroid “Scam-But-Not-A-Scam” PR Stunt Faces the Consequences of a Terrible Idea
Savedroid has been a promising ICO since its inception. Founded in 2015, the project sought to develop algorithms based on artificial intelligence that would allow users to manage their expenses more efficiently through a carefully designed savings and investment system.
The project was so successful that in 2017 won the Fintech of The Year award, endorsed by Payment and Banking
Den Gewinnern des #fintechdesjahres17 Award @billie @solarisBank @savedroidAG & @auxmoney, unsere allerherzlichsten Glückwünsche. Danke an all die anderen ebenso großartigen #FinTechs! Ihr habt es alle verdient…Liebe zu euch 🚀❤️✌🏼 pic.twitter.com/4VotVZp7TD
— Paymentandbanking (@paymentbanking) March 21, 2018
It is also important to note that the team had one of the biggest rounds of financing for an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in Germany, raising over $50 million from more than 35,000 investors at the time of the ICO.
However, after this successful journey, a surprise news story flooded the specialized portals and social networks: The project’s website had disappeared, leaving in its place an image with the famous South Park meme: “Annnd It’s Gone.”
The news began to roll through the social media dividing the opinions mainly in three areas:
The subsequent actions seemed to confirm the most pessimistic of the scenarios, making Savedroid one of the most important exit scams of the year (after the billionaire Bitconnect, of course).
A few minutes after closing the website, Dr. Yassin Hankir CEO of SaveDroid published a goodbye image on his personal twitter “thanking” investors for the money they put on his hands.
— Yassin Hankir #savedroidico (@YassinHankir) April 18, 2018
Shortly after, YouTube user Theo Goodman uploaded a video showing the empty Savedroid headquarters, pointing out that he “can’t really confirm anything.”
Similarly, the disappearance of the administrators from the official Telegram channel left the users anxious and fearing the worst.
AND IT’S NOT GONE
Today, upon reviewing the website again, it was found that it was back online. A video tried to explain the situation and the reasons for their actions:
According to the video, they wanted to raise awareness on the issue of security around ICOs. In a video of over 4 minutes, they explained that they had conceived a “drastic campaign” for a good cause:
“This was not meant to do any prank, this was not meant to make fun of anyone and play around with their trust, but actually we did that to convey a very important, very serious message which we believe the whole ICO and crypto industry even are concerned for the future.
If we look to this market and that’s what we have experienced in the last four months, we saw that there’s so much scam happening: Scam from the beginning to the very end of an ICO; exit scams all over the place and I believe what we’ve seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg
(….) I think the whole scamming around the industry realy endangers that[credibility] and that is why we wanted to send this very drastic message by just saying ‘look how easy could have been that even we as a highly regulated German startup corporation could just have run away then exit scam with all the funds, leaving all investors just behind, but of course we have not done that, we just wanted to convey that message”.
He continues his video by talking about the seriousness of the issue and the ease with which a team can run multi-million frauds operating within a grey area when it comes to regulation.
The CEO of Savedroid referred to the need they have for a regulatory system that protects investors without restricting entrepreneurs by making their initiatives almost impossible:
“If you don’t go for a better regulation, we believe that this could bring the whole market down and therefore, and this is the vision we want to now also foster in the whole market is: how can we establish high-quality ICO standards in order to have a good for the ICO market”.
According to the video, the strategy was a move to promote a subsidiary branch (anditsg.one) with two new consulting services that would allow users and investors to ensure that the projects they venture into meet a series of requirements that provide the level of credibility and legality that every ICO would need.
“Savedroid wants to contribute in 2 ways:
Firstly we do want to be an active partner for regulators, for authorities (…) basically sharing our insights, sharing our knowledge, by discussing with the guys how a sustainable regulation could look like… Not the regulation that will close down the market and prevent ICOs to happen, but the regulation which is practical, which is viable and which actually strengthens the whole market for trustworthy ICOs
And (as) the second part of it (…) we will launch a new service line which is professional ICO advisory, and this new subsidiary of savedroid will actually provide two kinds of services: (…)
We will create a very easy to use ICO Checklist (…) This] is going to be free, this is one “thank you” to the community (…), and this will help everyone to come to an informed investment decision
The second part and this is where we are going to earn money is we will offer professional ICO advice to highly trustworthy startups who do, of course, comply with the ICO checklist”.
Every action implies a reaction
While the news of the exit scam was taken with nervousness and anger, the subsequent revelation was even worse. After finding out that everything was fake, the rage on the social networks broke out.
The Youtube video currently has twice as many dislikes as likes. The comments in both German and English are mostly of rejection, and in the Reddit forums, the creativity in complaints and insults has not been made to wait (obviously).
Some users even commented on alleged reports of suicides by people who thought they had lost everything. This news has not been confirmed and does not even exist (real or not) outside Reddit and YouTube.
However, the annoyance of the users was something the team would probably expect if they really planned this move. What they probably did not expect were other consequences that could be more serious for their credibility and their personal freedom:
First, Payment and Banking announced that it would withdraw the Fintech of The Year award from Savedroid as a result of the unprofessional conduct of the company. A significant blow to their credibility given the coverage they received in the country and the prestige of being an awarded ICO:
In Anbetracht der drastischen und unser Meinung völlig mißglückten PR-Aktion des #FinTech @savedroidAG haben wir von Paymentandbanking uns dazu entschlossen, den Publikumspreis zum Fintech des Jahres 2017 für Savedroid zurückzuziehen und abzuerkennen. 🚫🏆 https://t.co/zRf4kuIqUT
— Paymentandbanking (@paymentbanking) April 19, 2018
But in Germany, they don’t play around, and it looks like the Savedroid team could face serious legal consequences as a result of their actions. According to WirtschaftsWoche, There is an ongoing investigation to determine the legal responsibilities of the Savedroid:
“The public prosecutor Frankfurt examines a preliminary investigation against the cryptocurrency start-up. A spokeswoman for the agency said on Thursday, the prosecutor’s office dealt with the operations at Savedroid and decide whether a procedure will be initiated. Savedroid founder Yassin Hankir told Reuters news agency that a police investigation had taken place. But he sees no reason for investigation by the prosecutor.”
Although several users have described these actions as exaggerated, the truth is that the savedroid strategy seems to have had more deceptive than positive consequences. It is hoped that after the Hype, the situation will calm down a bit and the Savedroid team will be able to continue their services successfully and strengthen the community of users of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.
In the meantime, perhaps they might want to listen to some piece of advice by the community:
SAVEDROID WAS HERE, IS HERE AND WILL BE HERE!
After crazy 24h you for sure have many questions. We do owe you an explanation! Therefore our CEO @YassinHankir has recorded a personal message to resolve the situation. More info: https://t.co/LA5BVeZffy #savedroidICO #savedroid #ICO pic.twitter.com/ITNx7uTHG3
— savedroid AG (@savedroidAG) April 19, 2018
Featured Image: Twitter