WSJ: Hundreds of crypto offerings show signs of "plagiarism, identity theft and promises of improbable returns"

The Wall Street Journal analyzed 3,300 ICOs from,, and, and found that 16%, or 513, of them, showed signs of  "plagiarism, identity theft and promises of improbable returns." The Journal used the following methodology to identify possible red flags:

  • To identify plagiarism, the Journal "compared sentences with at least 10 unique words to every other sentence in other white papers"
  • To identify identity theft, the Journal did reverse image searches of photos of people "associated with 343 projects lacking key details about team members"
  • To identify promises of improbable returns, the Journal searched a project's white papers for the terms like "nothing to lose" and "guaranteed profit"

About Author

Steven Zheng is a researcher for The Block. He joined The Block in August 2018. Steven graduated from St. John’s University with a degree in economics. Previously, he covered blockchain and crypto at Radicle, a startup analytics firm. He also had brief stints at Cheddar, a media startup, and Bowery Capital, a venture capital firm. He owns bitcoin. Follow Steven on Twitter at: @Dogetoshi

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