The microcosmos of initial coin offering (ICO) is tumultuous, bewildering and hectic – at this point, this assertion is not even a personal opinion or a commentary, but simply a realistic portrayal. Now, a new study depicts an even more turbulent picture of the process through which cryptocurrencies are created and sold to the public, one that is also filled with plagiarism and infringement.
Published by the state-sponsored China Securities Journal, a recent study conducted by Netta Lab and Xi’an Jiaotong University indicates that the overwhelming majority of cryptocurrencies are almost entirely based on a very short list of unique cryptocurrencies from which the codes have been plainly copied.
The research analyzed and compared 488 different open-source cryptocurrencies and the results are staggering: 405 of all examined cryptocurrencies (83%) have copied more than 90% of their code (!), and 324 (66.4%) have copied at least 95% of their code (!!); only a puny amount of 38 cryptocurrencies out of the 488 (below 8%) have less than 80% similarity in their code. Not surprisingly, the report points out that the most copied digital currency is Bitcoin; there are already much more sophisticated cryptocurrencies out there today, but it seems that Bitcoin’s reputation as the largest digital asset by far attracts the copyists, who evidently had already proven previously that they lack imagination.
Xie Shaoyun, the founder of Netta Lab, didn’t mince admonitory words about the study’s findings:
At present, the industry still lacks the real breakthrough in innovation and solving problems, and putting the implementation of the application on first priority. The people are holding the mentality of experimenting and luck. When working on a project, we should return to the essence, truly solve practical problems, create tools that can be used by users, make them more convenient, build real value and usability, come up with actual products, and promote the development of the industry from the actual recognized value.
The report goes further to detail some of the causes that have originated the current crooked situation: the highly volatile nature of the industry; the lack of government regulations, clear norms and appropriate management regarding ICO activities; the irrational behavior of investors; a market bubble; and illicit operations. The report ends with a call to people who are interested in the crypto market to increase their awareness to “public propaganda” by fraudulent ICOs, which might lure in potential investors with false income claims.