Reports indicate that investors who were planning to put their money in the Seele ICO have had their Ethereum (ETH) virtual currencies worth more than $2 million stolen by people who are thought to have administrator privileges or at least people who were impersonating administrators. According to reports two accounts which had administrator privileges in the Telegram group of the project solicited ETH from syndicate pools before disappearing.
Impersonators or inside job?
As its main selling point Seele has touted itself as a neural consensus protocol. Some of its potential applications per its website includes game assets, Internet of Things, e-government and financial technology. In its ICO Seele was to sell 1 billion tokens. The scammers who disappeared with the funds were operating or impersonating the @nicsmith and @seelesupport Telegram accounts. After the scam was reported Seele acknowledged the matter.
“… some people from our community have lost funds. We are hereby acknowledging the situation and confirm that we will find solution to make the situation right for all community members who have lost funds due to this problem,” said Seele in a statement.
According to Seele a data analyst of the project, Dr. Nick Smith, had his account compromised and the impersonator asked for Ethereum deposits via direct messages from the members of the group. After it became apparent what had happened the @nicsmith and @SeeleSupport accounts had their administrator privileges suspended.
Unsurprisingly there have been accusations from some investors that the theft was an inside job. According to some observers only those with admin privileges had the capacity to assign administrator privileges to others. But according to Seele the thieves were impersonators and had no official capacity at the project. Seele is yet to start the ICO pre-sale and the whitelist is expected to start next week.
This is not the first time that a scam is clouding an ICO. Late last month regulators in the state of Texas ordered the closure of AriseBank after the operations of the self-styled crytocurrency bank were revealed to be fraudulent. The offices of OneCoin in Bulgaria were also earlier in the year raided by the crime fighting units of the European Union.