Making Sense Of Suppoman: Where There’s A Shill There’s An ICO
Cryptocurrency YouTubers like Michael ‘Suppoman’ Suppo are rapidly tarnishing the integrity of ICOs, and on a broader level, the cryptocurrency space at large. Inundated with allegations of shilling, both Suppo and other YouTubers have – rightly or wrongly – suffered major reputational damage in the early stages of 2018. But firstly, why have ICOs attracted so much stigma?
It’s no secret that the unregulated nature of ICOs has attracted scammers from far and wide; preying on gullible investors with their malignant arsenal of tricks. So much so, that aggregated ICO-related data recently revealed that of the 902 (tracked) ICOs that launched last year, 142 (15.7%) failed to make it past the funding stages, and another 276 (30.6%) ceased operations despite despite meeting funding targets.
The entire ICO space is marred by hundreds of projects that try extremely hard to justify why the cryptocurrency industry needs them, not to mention why they require so much capital (which on average exceeds $12 million).
Many of these ‘projects’ are established by people who were previously unsuccessful in their attempt(s) to attract financial interest in the traditional, regulated market. That is, having been unable to clear market with venture capitalists, angel investors, syndicates, seed investors and the like, these rejected entrepreneurs look to the ICO market as a last resort.
After reconfiguring to a more crypto-friendly business model, these ICOs will often redesign their campaign in such a way that it captivates the attention of inexperienced investors – who themselves tend to be victims of survivorship bias.
Whilst this alone is disdainful, sadly the scamming does not stop there for the ICO market. Indeed, when the crypto community hears the word ‘shill’, they often think of names like MarQuis Trill or John McAfee. However, the new year has seen another emerge: Michael Suppo.
Better known as ‘Suppoman’, the name of his popular YouTube channel that airs his self-hosted cryptocurrency show, Savage Cash, Suppo has found himself in multiple ICO-related controversies recently, with many calling him out as a shiller who has been accused of receiving financial rewards for covering particular ICO projects and deliberately withholding such information from his audience.
The ‘Suppoman’ YouTube channel was controversial even before his focus shifted to exclusive cryptocurrency content in mid-2017. Indeed, prior to devoting his channel to cryptocurrency, ‘Suppoman’ ran another channel that attracted over 160,000 subscribers. The videos appealed to a (much) younger demographic, whereby the alleged ICO shiller took to uploading daily videos covering the latest from popular Minecraft and Roblox YouTubers, most of whom were teenagers.
Specifically, many of his uploads concerned a teenage female gamer (‘Little Kelly’), which Suppoman consistently prodded in a manner that many would consider bullying, and with (since removed) uploads titled ‘7 Reasons Why People Hate Little Kelly Minecraft!’ and ‘7 Reasons Why Little Kelly’s Channel Will Die in 2017!’ it is hard to argue otherwise.
When Suppo made the shift to cryptocurrency last year, his outlandish click-baiting and unrestrained language (i.e, throwing around terms like “guaranteed profit” and “100x” ad nauseam) inevitably led him to the sketchy, unregulated realm of ICOs.
The claims made against Suppo are seemingly endless, with his name tied to numerous ICOs for the wrong reasons. Notable recent occurrences include the embarrassing moment that he endured during a live stream earlier this year, whereby a Skype notification appeared on screen from indaHash co-founder and CEO, Barbara Soltysinska, saying “I talked to my business partners and we would like to confirm our commitment to 2 BTC.”
Another major ICO-related incident recently linked to Suppo has been that of Seele, where only yesterday he made a point of saying he’d “never been paid by,” when questioned on a live AMA. He did admit to advising the company, but was quick to mention that this was done so in “a very non-employed way.”
Suspicions relating to Suppo’s persistent coverage of Seele are borne from the fact that it was, as he said yesterday, “obviously my number one ICO” for some time, which those that (unexpectedly) paid $10 not once, but twice, in order to learn of his top ICOs, would know.
It just so happens that the Seele ICO has been nothing short of controversial, where not only was it compromised by scammers who stole $1.8 million worth of Ether (ETH), but it was forced to “immediately halt the [whitelist] registration” for several weeks.
Making matters worse, Suppo admitted to never having invested in Seele “at ICO stage or private sale stage” [at 28:28] despite previously having gone on the record saying, “I am putting in a lot for that.” [39:00] In this same video, Suppo shared his belief that Seele – the then ‘secret ICO’ – was a “marvellous cryptocurrency” that would be “the one of 2018, by a mile.” This, of course, came despite just weeks earlier, Suppo selecting Wanchain as his top pick for 2018, saying it would “at least” 100x its ICO price.
This past Friday, Suppo covered Birdchain (BIRD) on the very same day as its ICO, with the video unsurprisingly titled, ‘NEXT CRYPTOCURRENCY ICO TO ROCKET?! (No1 ICO Update!)’. Promisingly, the review was thorough and balanced, what’s more is that Suppo even prefaced the Birdchain review by highlighting the fact that the video didn’t constitute financial advise, and should augment individual research, not replace it. Suppo even made mention of the fact that he was “not getting paid” by Birdchain for the coverage, which is hard to believe given his history.
Indeed, Birdchain revealed on Sunday that their soft cap of 1,500 ETH had already been achieved; 1 ETH = 42,000 BIRDs. The ICO will now continue to run until May 31, or until such a time that the hard cap of 10,500 ETH has been met. Off-putting is the token distribution of Birdchain, with the team and founders taking 9 percent off the table before even putting any of their ICO funding to work, most of which will go toward the development of the Birdchain DApp, yet won’t be fully released until February next year.
The concept of Birdchain is the first of its kind in the cryptocurrency space: a decentralised instant messaging application (DApp) for Android. As per their whitepaper, the Estonian-based Birdchain offer users extra income in exchange for selling their unused SMS messages, watching promotional videos, and monetising their personal data.
It appears that it’ll never be known for certain whether Suppo has been deceitful in his coverage of particular ICO projects like Seele or Birdchain, but with so many “incidents” linked to his name, you can’t help but think that he indeed has a secret history of prioritising his personal interests over the thousands of viewers that rely on his insights to help shape their investing decisions.
It would be a shame if true, because for all his shortcomings ‘Suppoman’ has certainly been an influential conduit for the cryptocurrency industry, which continues to struggle to bridge the gap between its inherent complexities and mass adoption.
There is no doubting that Suppo has not only introduced, but taught untold amounts of people about the basics of cryptocurrency via the hours upon hours of free content that he has uploaded to his YouTube channel.
Additionally, it must be acknowledged that he has changed the lives of many with his early coverage of certain post-ICO virtual currencies such as AntShares (before it became NEO), Bitquence (before it became Ethos), and EOS.
But when all is said and done, the fact remains that Suppo features on r/CryptoCurrency’s ‘YouTube Crypto Ponzi/Scam Promotion List’ for a reason; sitting among dozens of suspected cryptocurrency scammers. It is on this subreddit where the shilling allegations go well beyond those discussed in this article, and the sheer volume of them make it increasingly harder for anyone to defend Suppo.
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