An under-the-radar cryptocurrency startup called Prodeum pulled an exit scam this weekend, disappearing from the internet with an unknown amount of investors’ funds.
The project was purportedly built on the Ethereum blockchain and based in Lithuania. The goal of the platform was to disrupt the “Price Look Up (PLU) labeling process” on fruits and vegetables.
A small number of investors sunk money into the project. Then, the company abruptly shut down its website and its entire online presence. The only thing remaining on the Prodeum.io website is a blank white page with the word ‘penis’ on it. Seriously.
You can see it here. The website has been taken down now.
When the news initially broke online, it was reported that Prodeum escaped with “millions” of dollars of customer funds. In reality, you can check the Ethereum address associated with Prodeum here. That address has since been emptied. However, you can see that only a small number of investors sent funds to the address – so it’s unlikely that the company made off with more than a few hundred or few thousand dollars.
Compared to last week’s theft of $400 million worth of NEM, this theft is barely newsworthy in the cryptocurrency community. We also can’t find any verified accounts online of people who have lost money from the Prodeum incident.
Who’s Behind Prodeum?
One of the biggest red flags with an ICO project online is when a company refuses to disclose team information. Bitconnect, the crypto industry’s most infamous Ponzi scheme, was run by an anonymous team right to the end.
Prodeum, as you might expect, took a similar approach. The company hyped itself through an awkward press release on an NBC affiliate, claiming that they wanted “to overhaul the Price Look-up (PLU) labeling process” on fruits and vegetables.
No further information was available about the team. The website registration information was anonymous, and the company’s social media profiles were faked. In other words, unless law enforcement decides to investigate, it appears that Prodeum pulled off a successful exit scam.
In general, it’s a bad idea to send money to someone online as an “investment” when that company refuses to disclose the people running it. Prodeum is yet another example of why that’s an important rule of investing.