The usual story about 18 million dollars that ended up in the pockets of Russian scammers. They’ve blown off their own project, tanked the token’s exchange rate, closed their Telegram group and changed their identities to try to keep a low profile. Have a read and don’t repeat the mistakes of others.
Does the name HOQU say anything to you? You know, their ICO raised a pretty penny 6 months ago and then they disappeared off the face of the Earth. You really haven’t heard about them? Then pour yourself a Wild Turkey Rye with cola, add some ice, kick back in your favourite chair and read our top-quality investigation.
A couple of weeks ago, I paid for Netflix. The very next day, a girl came round with pizza and asked me to put Sharp Objects on. The pizza was my favourite pepperoni and I’m a generous guy, so in the end I had to subscribe to HBO too.
Back when I was at school, everything was different. I never really thought anything of stealing intellectual property and always found ways to watch new films for free. I would press Play and instead of the video a website with awful design popped up insisting I should put a bet on the Spurs.
The world of performance marketing is such that it’s impossible to survive without cheating. Webmasters bring in hordes of people who don’t need the products that are being flogged by the advertiser. Affiliates complain about the quality of the traffic (even if it’s excellent) to try to cut payments down. The advertiser pays for all of this and rarely takes a deeper look at the internal processes. Even though if they did, they could earn many times more.
The craze for this industry and the amount of money circulating in it mean that progress is a must. It will definitely happen. Maybe even thanks to blockchain technology. Just not thanks to HOQU. Now we’ll tell you why.
Let’s start with the fact that the startup raised over 18 million dollars from its ICO.
They haven’t even attached Google Analytics to their website. Rightly so – why do you need to know who’s visiting you and when if you’ve already raked in the cash? 🙂
Like all scammers, the creators of HOQU promise a revolution. These ones say they’ll make performance marketing as profitable as possible for all involved parties. Like, you install the app, make an order for some advertising and it’s carried out. All the information is stored in smart contracts. Sick!
Here’s the setup for registration:
And here’s a demonstration of the full potential of the project. In layman’s terms: we send some bullshit to an affiliate through blockchain. Nonetheless, the scheme includes a centralised database and we have no bloody idea what’s supposed to be so revolutionary about it and why the fuck it needs blockchain. So we can pay for everything with your shitty tokens?
The unique selling point is in perfect order too. Whichever way you look, there’s solid profit.
The problem is that any affiliate network can promise the moon. Even pyramid schemes say that you can make all the money in the world. So do ICOs, lol.
As is always the case with scammers, problems started when they had to go from making nice promises to delivering on them. The sale ended back in February, then everything came to a complete standstill and the points on the roadmap stopped being implemented.
This did not go unnoticed by the community and the token’s exchange rate entered a steady dive.
Posts started to appear on cryptocurrency groups saying that HOQU is a scam. In response, the boys kept quiet, then eventually rolled out a beta version of the platform. They’ve shown how it works on YouTube. Not many views so far.
It’s just a bit strange that prior to the launch of the platform, there was zero activity on Github:
Probably because it’s not really a demo – it’s a load of fucking bullshit.
- Take any template you like for 20 bucks.
- Hire a student for $500 to bash out a demo on this frontend (there’s already a live preview that you can click on).
- If you don’t get on well with compilers, you can pay another $500-1000 to a dev from Reddit who will compile everything and release the token (it’s really not that complicated).
- Add a little program that makes a request for the token, credits it to the right person and shows everything in the admin interface. From a technical point of view, this demo could have been made even without a token. Here’s an example for you. It’s possible to make this “beta version of the product” yourself with just a couple of hours more HTML coding.
- Pick up some booze with your mates and celebrate.
This comes to a maximum of 2000 dollars.
So just one question.
Where’s the other $17,998,000 ?
Then our dear cofounders released the following statement:
Wat? The fuck? Cocksucking mamma’s boys. Who even runs their business like that? They’ve managed to do the most important thing – raising the money – but not to find people to whip up the product. They’ve kept the moolah anyway. Great job, guys.
In fact, the startup’s problems started a long time ago. Here’s an old thread on Bitcointalk.
There were some fishy moments in the whitepaper itself too. My point is that our dear readers should dig a bit deeper and scams shouldn’t be able to raise 18 million bucks each.
The token distribution and use of funds raised during the ICO is extremely dodgy.
Has it just been completely pulled out of thin air? Where’s the “open market” gone?
19% to develop a revolutionary application with all bells and whistles for a congested market? 3% for charity? Does that mean saving the pandas at investors’ expense? 17% for expansion? It’s true that the founders have done a fair amount of travelling and been to a lot of conferences, so it’s hard to argue with that.
Incidentally, the startup has a fuckton of founders. A true Ocean’s Five. Four of them even studied together at the Moscow State University of Technology (STANKIN). I wonder how many scammers graduate from there each year?
The boys say in the whitepaper that they’re savvy about performance marketing like no one else. Don’t you know, they previously made the Marketcall affiliate program, which is apparently the best of the best. But a few minutes of Googling and an online translator work wonders – it turns out that Duzhnikov and his mates are quite the frauds.
The whitepaper and SimilarWeb disagree about Duzhnikov’s other project. It makes you wonder how a portal with a media budget in the top three can only be the 766th most popular in the country.
The CMO and one of the HOQU cofounders Maxim Anikeev is a super-busy man. Where does he find the time to take part in 55 projects, or does he not have to sleep at all?
And even then he manages to hang out with the CEO of our beloved scam Revain, Rinat Arslanov.
Incidentally, all the creators of HOQU are quite the party animals. Maybe that 18 million has played a part?
Except for one of them. The CVO and the team’s chief blockchain expert likes to fly under the radar. Maybe because he isn’t really a Kaufman, as all sources about HOQU call him, but Mr. Mikhalev. Or Ryan Gosling? 🙂
There are some companies registered in his name, but it’s not possible to find out more about their activities. It’s hardly going to be something that inspires trust though. Why else would you hide your real name?
All that’s left to add is that one of the project’s advisors is our old friend David Drake, whose every project (with few exceptions) is a scammy scam.
On the other hand, from looking at the social media pages with irregular posts and fake interactions, we learn that HOQU isn’t actually a project made by Russian con artists/university mates, but an awesome company from fucking London.
Apparently so fucking awesome that the investors lost their shit and made the cheating scammers delete the shit out of their rather large (around 20,000 people) Telegram chat. So they can lure in some new lemmings. Don’t be lemmings, friends – tell everyone about these asshats.
- Well, well, well, what is the suspect charged with?
- Nonperformance of obligations, idleness, laziness, a bad reputation, changing an identity for fraudulent purposes and concealing evidence.
- Members of the jury?
Performance marketing is in need of evolution, while the crypto community needs truth. So we’ll be very grateful if you could share this investigation. Let the people know who can’t be trusted. Blockchain for all!
Tell us what you think about our investigations in the comments. If they still aren’t enough for you, we can always do some research on an ICO that has caught your eye. For free, honestly and from the heart. Together we will prevail!
In blockchain we trust!
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