Things may just have become a little bit more complicated for ICO phishing scams as Clearify, an Australian-based outfit, is poised to launch a new service that will allow ICOs – or indeed anyone platforming a cryptocurrency contributions address – to provably demonstrate that the advertised address belongs to them.
Phishing has been a notorious problem in the ICO industry with high profile projects such as KICKICO, CoinDash and DAO all having been the targets of successful phishing scams. The combined cost has been estimated at over $200 million for Ethereum-based scams alone in 2017.
The method is generally simple. Fraudsters erect a carbon-copy of the original website on a domain with a similar-sounding name, replacing the displayed contributions address with their own.
An alternative approach is to hack into the servers of a legitimate website and modify the contents of the file which serves up the contributions addresses.
Clearify Proposes Blockchain-based Solution
The engineering team behind the Clearify project has itself almost fallen victim to similar scam attempts and decided, as a result, to address the problem with a Blockchain-based public registrar which lists the official contributions addresses of an ICO or, indeed, of any platform that hosts such information.
Amongst other means, contributors can verify contribution addresses directly with a browser plugin, through the mobile application or by simply going to the Clearify website directly. There are longer-term plans to include the service within popular wallet applications.
“There was a clear market need,” Clearify stated in today’s press release, “and this product will address that gap.“
Use of the service will imply use of the POLL token although payments can still be made in fiat. POLL is the native token of the ClearPoll project whose ICO completed six weeks ago by the same development team.
“There is no ICO,” the Clearify promotional video states. This pegging of a new blockchain-based service to a pre-existing token is an unusual move and is likely to have strong implications for the valuation of the POLL token as Clearify is expected to be hit the market months in advance of the team’s main product.