It is a pivotal moment in the development of the new digital economy. Interest in all things crypto keeps growing exponentially, and investment follows closely. There has arguably never been so much money poured into a product class that was so poorly understood, both by the wider public and by most investors. In lieu of actual understanding, stakeholders in the crypto space have to operate on reputation and trust instead. This necessity has given rise to a dangerous new con.
Unlike blatant scams like OneCoin or Bitconnect, today’s blockchain opportunists and confidence tricksters often play the faux science card. “Read our white paper here,” “Look at this research report we uploaded to arXiv,” “Download our dataset” — sounds legit, right? There is just one crucial element missing: academic validation.
Not all papers are created equal
Anyone can put together a “white paper” and make it available to download. In 2018, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission taught gullible crypto investors a