South Korea-based Shinil Group, a treasure hunting firm claims to have located the sunken remains of the Russian battleship Dmitrii Donskoii, carrying close to $130 Billion in gold. The company has now stated that they are planning to launch an ICO which will be backed by the gold of this sunken ship. However, investors must be extremely careful before investing in this ICO because the details seem very dubious. 

The sunken Russian battleship Dmitrii Donskoii has been claimed to have been found multiple times in the past too. As per multiple sources, the ship is carrying 5,500 boxes of gold bars and 200 tons of gold coins - which amount close to $130 Billion as per today’s valuation. The ship is over a century old and had sunk during the Russo-Japanese war of the early 1900s. The ship sank in 1905. 

As per South Korea’s Shinil Group, the company has found this sunken treasure near the island of Ulleungdo. Interestingly, this treasure, which has been lost for over a century, was found by Shinil Group in just two days, as per their claim. The company has also posted a video of what they claim to be the wreck of Dmitrii Donskoii - and have also posted a video on YouTube which highlights how they found this ship. 

Signs of a Scam?

There are a number of dubious details about this ICO which raise the suspicions of a scam. As per their initial claims, 50% of this sunken treasure would be returned to Russia and 10% of the remaining would be used to promote tourism in the island of Ulleungdo. However, the company now claims that they would instead use this sunken treasure to launch a cryptocurrency called ‘Shinil Gold Coin’ which will be backed by the gold from this ship. The private sale of this token has already begun and a public sale is expected to commence shortly. 

South Korea’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has claimed that the Shinil Group has not applied for the salvage rights of this sunken ship. The ministry hasn’t even been notified about this development as of now. Once this process is completed, the Ministry needs to be paid 10% of the wreckage. The company, however, claims that they will begin the salvage process in October and that they will hold a press conference when they begin with it. 

Moreover, the company neither has a website nor has a social media presence - making this an even more shady affair. Neither has Shinil Group created a whitepaper which highlights any potential uses of this cryptocurrency. Investors are advised to be very cautious and properly research if they decide to invest in this. This appears that the company might be exploiting the popular legend of a sunken ship and lost treasure to lure investors for an exit scam. 

Interestingly, a new cryptocurrency exchange has started off, named Donskoi International Exchange - which promises to provide users with Shinil Gold Coins upon signing up with them. This was brought to light by Bitcoinist. While representatives of Shinil Group claim that the Donskoi International Exchange is not affiliated with them in any way, the exchange claims that it is a part of the Shinil Group - and also shares a similar logo, and is hosted on the same web host as the Shinil Group ICO website. This adds another strange twist to the tale. 

ICO Scams on the Rise

Over the past couple of years, ICO scams have been rising. Recent statistics indicate that in just this year alone, over a Billion dollars have been lost in ICO scams. Most ICO scams are basically ‘exit scams’ where the ICO issuer absconds after raising money from the public. This has led to serious concerns surrounding ICO regulations being on the rise. 

South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Services has commented on this ICO stating: 

Investors need to be cautious as it’s possible they could suffer massive losses if they bank on rumors without concrete facts regarding the recovery of a treasure ship.

In fact, the ICO scam problem is growing to such a level that the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) actually went on to design a fake ICO website promising users of high returns on their investments. This website, HoweyCoin, was just created so that new investors understand what are the obvious signs of a cryptocurrency/ICO scam.