A relatively new cryptocurrency start-up, Prodeum has vanished from the internet leaving a brief and concise message – Penis.
The Prodeum project was a Lithuanian-based start-up company that promised to “revolutionize the fruit and vegetable industry with the use of Ethereum blockchain technology.” Like most other crypto start-ups, the project was raising funds through an ICO crowdsale.
It had most of the features of a genuine ICO including a whitepaper, a logo and a Twitter fan base. But after raising an unknown amount from investors around the globe, it suddenly went offline on Sunday leaving the above message.
Taking the Joke Too Far?
Interestingly, the project name bears a close semblance to a widely used medication meant for treating urinary tract infections, Prodium.
Prodeum claimed to use a system known as Advanced Price Look-Up (aPLU) to enable vegetable consumers to check the origin of the produce they intend to purchase. They would simply need to scan stickers on the produce to access a history of the item tracing it all the way back to the farm.
The system would also assist distributors and retailers both to reject contaminated produce and to track lost shipments. The team explained that they had already begun discussions with the International Federation for Produce Standards and was set to launch trial runs in Lithuania and expand to the US market later in the year.
The crowdsale was officially launched on January 20 and would help the team develop a better app for launch toward the end of 2018 or early in 2019.
Even though the claims would seem weird, the crypto revolution has placed the public in a position to accept the craziest concepts. Add that to the current consumer craze and the stage is set for the perfect scam.
No Trace Left Behind
The fingerprints of the project as well as its team members have since then been effaced from the internet. The Prodeum project manager, Rokas Vedluga, who was quoted as saying “It is an idea whose time has come,” does not even seem to exist.
In addition to the aforementioned press release, another page that remains contains interesting details from a cached page of their website. Petar Jandric, who was initially listed as a senior Ethereum developer is linked to another online identity, Ivan Radigales Creus, a full stack web and Android developer.
When a curious observer noted the conflict, the Prodeum team is reported to have changed the photo and title of Peter Jandric to Investment Strategist. Moreover, a LinkedIn profile associated with the mysterious developer come strategist has also been taken down.
A Medium blog post that had the title “Making Leaps and Bounds: Blockchain Tech is Revolutionizing Fruit and Vegetable” is currently unavailable. By yesterday, all that was left of the project online was the company’s Twitter profile which had around 200 followers. But that too has vanished mysteriously.
Need for Caution
Investors have repeatedly been reminded of the need to exercise due diligence before making investments into ICOs. The SEC chairman Jay Clayton was last month quoted saying that since the markets targeted by such crowdfunds span national borders,
“Risks can be amplified, including the risk that market regulators, such as the SEC, may not be able to effectively pursue bad actors or recover funds.