KuCoin’s Project Pinocchio Unearths Suspicious Native Indian Casino Crypto Project

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KuCoin Global’s non-profit credit information system, Project Pinocchio, was recently launched in partnership with several well-known, credible, and authoritative institutions and media platforms in the cryptocurrency industry, including BTCManager, to establish a credible project review platform to foster self-discipline and integrity in the budding crypto industry.

The project has established a reference standard for the industry, using multi-dimensional metrics, including moral hazard assessment, data analysis, public opinion monitoring, transaction history, and project development, among others, to keep an eye on suspicious projects within the ecosystem. Project Pinocchio shared the first list of suspicious projects on April 3, 2020, that included a total of ten projects.

As part of its continuous efforts to ensure the health and reliability of the space, Project Pinocchio always strives to walk the extra mile to make the industry a safe avenue for novel traders and investors to participate in. In this article, we examine a project called NativeCoin (N8V).

About the Project

NativeCoin is a run-of-the-mill generic cryptocurrency project that targets audience primarily comprising of Native Americans in North America who possess a large share of the gambling market. The project pushes its digital token N8V as an alternative monetary tool for conducting transactions. Among other businesses, the cryptocurrency can be used to fuel transactions in tribal casinos, hotels, restaurants, and gas stations.

Following a simple Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus protocol with masternodes, NativeCoin uses the X11 algorithm. With regard to staking rewards, a sizable portion of it is retained by the development team from which a small chunk is supposedly donated for charity purposes. However, to date, there has been no evidence of any donations being made or planned yet. Other than that, the N8V coin doesn’t have any particularly extraordinary use.

Points of Concern

Things, however, start turning questionable when one visits the project’s official website. While trying to access the project’s team page, one comes across a screen that requests a password to unlock the content. 

When inquiring about the password, the admins on NativeCoin’s Telegram group state that they can’t provide the users with any password and that the website content will be available at some time in the future.

Minimal Information on Team Members

The project’s only officially confirmed team members at present go by the names Jeff, the COO, Michael, the CMO, Andrew (aka Keeper), and Gerald Erckert.  Despite our best efforts, nothing more could be found about these members on the web. 

Surprisingly, the project also never had an official CEO. The so-called founder of NativeCoin, Andrew Andy Ebona, was projected as the person who assembled the entire NativeCoin team. However, the ensuing chain of events painted a very dramatic picture of the whole project, as soon after “founding” NativeCoin, Mr. Ebona departed the project under odd circumstances. Gerard Erckert noted that Mr. Ebona was “no longer affiliated” with NativeCoin or the team supporting NativeCoin.

Ambiguity Surrounding Documentation

There’s also a lot of ambiguity regarding the project’s documentation. Although NativeCoin’s website showcases various documents to familiarize readers with the goals and the vision of the project, the document text seems to constantly be beating the same dead horse in that it reiterates the one point again and again. According to the team, it spent close to six months on the preparation of its 12-page long whitepaper.

Coming to the project’s roadmap, the lack of consistency continues here. Although the official roadmap shows a list of milestones conquered by the project, it’s not hard to cast shadows of doubt over the authenticity of such claims as there are no official announcements for the various partnerships and exchange listings mentioned in the roadmap. Other than B-platform and CoinTiger, there are no major firms associated with NativeCoin. 

Alleged CoinMe Partnership

Notably, there used to be official records online noting that NativeCoin had announced a partnership with CoinMe, a leading cryptocurrency ATM firm. However, as of today, all mentions of this partnership have been removed from N8V’s official accounts.

(Only third-party reports of a partnership with CoinMe exist today. Such announcements have been permanently removed from NativeCoin’s all social media handles)

It is commonplace to come across projects that try to leverage fake partnerships with well-known and established brands and players in the industry to their benefit, and that is very likely what NativeCoin chose to do. By trying to get their name associated with CoinMe, a well-known cryptocurrency ATM company, NativeCoin hoped to get some free goodwill and legitimacy in the crypto ecosystem. 

According to sources, CoinMe had sent a cease and desist letter to Jeff and Michael to remove all mentions of the company from NativeCoin’s records. In fact, CoinMe never really had any deal with NativeCoin to list the N8V digital token on their more than 4,500 Bitcoin kiosks or ATMs.  The firm never approved any joint PR or even displayed any intentions of making a joint PR with NativeCoin.

The crypto ATM firm only ever had a legally non-binding MOU with NativeCoin where they were to try and work together to provide access to a fair Native American digital currency. Any attempt by Jeff and the NativeCoin team that tried to show the relationship as anything more than a non-binding agreement was a representation.

It’s also worth noting that Jeff and Michael tried to present themselves as Native Americans. This claim, too, like the majority of their other claims, turned out to be a white lie as neither of them is actually a Native American.

No Evidence of the N8V Coin POS

Per sources close to the matter, NativeCoin team members claimed numerous times that their official POS (point of sale) system was ready for launch. However, it seems that reality is far from it.

The project’s representatives, to date, have shared no evidence of the existence of a functional POS system and have stated that they only knew a developer who had a “connection” that could possibly get them a license for a POS. As mentioned earlier, the project’s executives told the stakeholders that their POS system was ready for launch. That said, nothing substantial ever came out of it and there’s no evidence suggesting NativeCoin ever had a working POS system.

Questionable Past and Lack of Legal Information

The NativeCoin project has been rebranded from WSX which had a very contrasting goal. This rebranding primarily took place because of the infamous Cryptopia exchange hack where a large volume of WSX tokens was lost forever. Without wasting any time, all of  WSX’s social media platforms were renamed or abandoned and the digital token underwent a change in name to N8V. 

The following tweet has now been archived, essentially erasing all content pertaining to the rebranding of WSX to N8V.

There are also anecdotal incidents where some users didn’t manage to participate in the coin swap and failed to get any assistance from the project when WSX officially rebranded itself into N8V. The coin swapping process was in no way an easy affair as it was largely carried out manually. The process required users to contact NativeCoin admins and give proof of their previous token holdings, after which the team would airdrop N8V tokens into the users’ wallet upon their discretion.

Following is the screenshot of a community member who was adversely affected by the WSX token swap process.

In fact, stories surrounding the alleged unprofessional attitude from community members don’t stop here. Several incidents hint the unprofessional and borderline rude behavior displayed by community members toward users. They can also be seen as avoiding or giving vague answers to some queries pertaining to the project. That said, it’s also worth highlighting that this behavior is largely expressed toward community members who have consistently shown a negative stance toward the project. The project admins seem to be friendly and supportive toward the other members of the community. 

The following is an example of unprofessional behavior expressed by admins. Please note that this seems to happen only when provoked by community members, otherwise the admins are friendly.

Next, there are concerns pertaining to the lack of legal information regarding the digital asset. Two major features of N8V give it the characteristics of a security. First, the digital token utilizes a simple staking mechanism that enables users to generate passive income with almost no intrinsic efforts from them. Secondly, there have been instances of NativeCoin executives publicly reaching out to the community with tempting speculative statements regarding the future price of the asset. 

The project’s documentation severely lacks legal disclaimers which should serve as another red flag. The presence of an actual legal entity behind the firm is questionable. So is its organizational structure, despite there being a few team members who are presented as C-level executives. 

There are no legal documents that address the nature of the digital token or any risks associated with it. Perhaps even more bizarre is the privacy policy and terms and conditions of the project displayed on the website. They are created with a generic template which is evident from the promotional text from the generator website that was left in the text.

Final Thoughts

The NativeCoin project seems to be particularly popular in Finland, followed by the U.S., Ireland, and the U.K. According to data collected, the NativeCoin website witnessed a huge spike in traffic in November 2019 but has fallen sharply in popularity since. After thoroughly analyzing the various facets of NativeCoin, it is easy to figure out that it targets a very niche market audience to gain quick traction.

As mentioned in the article, reasons such as the abrupt end to the “partnership” with CoinMe, lack of details about team members, lack of legal documentation, and fake announcements, among others, cast a huge question mark on the true intentions of the people behind the Native Coin project. Most likely, they put their own interests before those of the community and the wider N8V ecosystem. Finally, we would again like to stress that this is our own opinion inferred from the aforementioned causes of concern. In all fairness, the NativeCoin team clearly speaks with an intention to make the project a success for everyone involved.

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