Honest ENDO ICO review

Honest ENDO ICO review

Kiku
Reading time ~13 minutes

ICO Website | White Paper | BitcoinTalk | ICO Chat | Open Source | Prototype

Note: this is an English translation of the Russian article we wrote recently with an in-depth analysis of the ENDO ICO.

This review has been prepared by "McAfee Approves" community with the support of the Golden Borodutch Telegram channel. For the convenience of the readers the review structure is divided into five parts: product, advisors, team, legal part and conclusion. We request the project team to answer all the questions in bold in this review with a separate public document.

Product

ENDO is a blockchain platform for data storage, exchange and verification. Apparently, they are just trying to make blockchain technology more accessible by creating development tools and API that would work with the following tools:

  1. Documents [Demo] — documents exchange and verification system allowing users to verify who signed the document and who certified it. For instance, to check whether a diploma or a driver license is fake.
  2. KYC — aggregator of the "Know Your Client" systems so that users won't need to go through the verification process again and again. KYC systems will be integrated using the ENDO API.
  3. Legacy — goods verification system with the history of exchange and certification of the authenticity. Team claims that in order for the system to work, producers would have to mark the products with radioactive tracers.
  4. WorkFlow — same thing as the first one but with a more complex document exchange system for companies internal usage with variable access and authorization levels. Can be used in a product delivery chain.

All the databases will be stored in a cloud blockchain storage that will be hosted by validators, therefore decentralizing the data storage. Validators community will be organized using the DPOS consensus algorithm.

Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) is a project token voting system to select validators who will receive the flow of transactions. Voting users receive a portion of the validator reward.
Validators are the guys like miners, also known as master-nodes or delegates who simply check, approve and put transactions into blockchain in exchange for tokens, therefore sustaining the blockchain.

ENDO protocol is being built on top of Graphene at the moment (a tool to create new blockchains). Team promises to add support for EOS and Hyperledger in the future to cover wider markets.

Platform will take fee for each token transaction. Users will be able to get paid in tokens for providing the access to their personal data to whoever wants to reach them.

Aside of the 4 services mentioned, ENDO plans on launching a data truth verification mechanism by the end of 2018, as well as Reviews and Base apps in 2019. But there is close to no information about these services in the White Paper.

We have waited for 4 weeks while ENDO was updating their draft White Paper and was publishing their technical papers, but we couldn't wait anymore and decided to go on with our review. Let's get to the product questions we have that ENDO team should answer to.

1, 4: Documents verification and multisignature

  • Will all the users see the history of who viewed the documents before?
  • Will it be possible to view the annulled or deleted documents? If so, won't it breach the right of oblivion? How so?
  • How will you verify the identity of a person signing the document?
  • What will be the limits for the amount of storage of the documents?
  • If a company that hires a person won't have enough tokens to pay for the employment contract verification, where can it get more tokens? How will these expenses be legally documented?
  • What are the legal risks for you as a company that acts as a middleman in the users' personal data trading?
ENDO Documents MVP is available in the test network of the ENDO Platform. 50 companies are already integrated to ENDO Documents and create over 7000 documents a month.
— ENDO White Paper
  • Can you provide us with the names of the companies that already use ENDO? We will reach out to them and verify your claims.
  • ENDO Documents Demo is at the prototype stage. Why do you call this an MVP?
  • How do you technically onboard new companies to this service?
  • What will be the legal status of the digital blockchain signatures?

2: KYC aggregator

  • On what grounds will existing KYC companies share their users' data with ENDO?
  • Services connected to the aggregator via API will be able to fetch users' data automatically? Won't it be a confidentiality breach?
  • Who and how will verify the authenticity of KYC information uploaded by the aggregated companies?
  • How will KYC info be technically secured?
  • What will be the legal risks for you as a company that handles KYC data?
  • Where and when will you incorporate the company that will legally be allowed to handle users' data verification?
  • How will this service be monetized?

3: Products verification

  • What will be the options to identify the products aside of the radioactive tracers?
  • How will it work on the mass serial production?
  • How will soil, trees, stones, etc. be verified? How will things that have no owner be verified?

General product questions

  • What fee will ENDO charge per transaction?
  • When will companies' contracts with ENDO be published?
  • When will you publish a thorough financial and marketing development plan?

Vitalik Buterin mentioned the drawbacks of the EOS DPoS consensus on Reddit. In short: semi-dececentralization, non-universality, low voters turnover, exchange votes centralization, lack of the validators fairness motivation, voting mechanism dependency and all the consequences of it in the form of speculative voting.

  • How will you solve the issues of the DPoS voting system?
  • What will be the validator limits at ENDO?
  • Did you think through the validator reputation list control system? How is the infrastructural validators qualification structured?
  • How is the fee formed that is granted to the validators per block?

A bit about the Scoring mechanism that is poorly described in the White Paper.

  • Tell us about the technical part of the data truth verification mechanism. WIll it be automatic? If so, what criterions will you use? How will they be evaluated? Will you use Machine Learning?
  • How will you guarantee the absence of error?
  • Will the verification data be publicly available?
  • Where will we get the verification data?
  • Will it be possible to spam the company ratings? If not, how will you prevent it?

ENDO claims that they cannot provide us with the crowd sale smart-contract because their sale is centralized and organized in multiple currencies with single wallets generated per investor.

  • Why didn't you pick decentralized crowd sale way and instead decided to go with unverifiable centralized crowd sale?

The main focus of ENDO is that they are open source. But the project repository wasn't updated for the last several months. And it has no value at all even though they call it an MVP. Currently it's just a wrapper around the Graphene fork.

  • Why do you call a slightly modified Graphene fork your MVP? If you're forcing open source strategy, why didn't you update your repository recently? Don't you work on the code at the moment?

Possibly, the ENDO team got angry when they've read the review title because they don't call their crowd sale an ICO, but just a token sale. We used Crypto Fox article that compares ICO's to token sales.

According to the comparison, ENDO crowd sale is an ICO and not just a token sale byt two criterions: the sale is public and ENDO product is only based on the concepts and ideas, not a working product. Also ENDO is listed in the ICO ratings [1|2|3].

  • So why do you confuse investors claiming that you don't conduct an ICO?
  • And what changed since June 20, formal start of the "token sale"? Tokens are still being sold publicly, not privately — just the bonus went down.

Advisors

At the moment of writing, ENDO didn't publish their advisory board. They don't distinguish between advisors and team members claiming that they don't need pepople who sell their names. We picked two consultants from the team and reached out to them to verify their role in the project. Review will be updated upon receiving the answers.

  • Kohei Shinoki [fb] — marketing consultant. Kohei experience isn't clear. ENDO website claims very general things about him like "led development of the social networks opinion leaders search platform" — what is the name of this platform?
  • Gainor Jungkyu Park [ln] — engineer-consultant. Director of several Korean financial companies. Reached out to him on LinkedIn, waiting for answer. Gainor has already been removed from the website — team claims that it happened due to some internal moments that are not for the disclosure.

Did we mention all the advisors?

Team

At the moment of writing, ENDO has 23 people on their team as published on their website. As usual, we'll begin with the experience of the founder and CEO — Yan Palmachinskiy [ln|fb|tg].

  • "Blockchain advisor of the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation" — no information of such advisory position at PFRF can be found on the Internet. As well as there is no mention of Yan Palmachinskiy on the advisory board there.

Are there any proofs that Yan is an advisor at PFRF? What exactly does he advise PFRF on?

  • "IT entrepreneur and the founder of the international IT company Take IT Easy" — there is no information about this company on the Internet. Link on the LinkedIn leads to site that no longer exists. On the same LinkedIn page Yan is the only employee of this "international" company.

What does Take IT Easy company do? Can we see its website, portfolio and the link to the company registration?

  • "Creator of SAAS services using AI: GoFocus, PiperCat" — these projects look good from the outside: first is a semi-working habit and task manager that has less than 700 hits a months; second is a platform with website, bots and marketing stuff constructor. Yan writes in his LinkedIn that PiperCat exists since 2016 but according to the social networks and website audience analyzer it is active since March 2018.

How many active users do Yan's products have?

  • Founder of the development agency specializing on the business automatization — "Magnetar", website of which does not work. Only LinkedIn, HeadHunter and registry have info about the company. In one of the videos of summer 2017 Yan claimed that Magnetar developers use PHP. And according to the White Paper Magnetar developers now work at ENDO.

What technology stack does ENDO use?

In the same video Yan promised that company would not be closed in a month. It was though. Why did Magnetar shut down?

Did Magnetar develop any blockchain services? If so, please provide links.

  • Also Yan is an advisor at currently shut down ICO Bitproperty [cache], which lost all of it's tokens to hackers and then recovered almost all of them.
  • Yan have been a cofounder of the cloths retailer Eazzzy Wear and cloth photo-printing service Print420 for 3 years.
  • 2011-2015 he directed currently not operational pharmaceutical company Universal Group and since 2016 he directed Giraffe company that does no one knows what.

What does Giraffe company do?

Did we mention all the experience of Yan?

Yan is followed by the CMO — Vladislav Utushkin [ln|fb|tg].

  • Has been the CEO of marketing platform RVR Project from 2013 to 2017, website of which isn't visited that often (2440 people per month) as for a successful marketing company that has major car companies among clients.
  • Vladislav has been a marketing manager at Mark.Space ICO, that has closed its first stage of token sale in the beginning of 2018 and will launch the next one in the beginning of 2019. Mark.Space develops a VR-project constructor. Their MVP at the moment is just a selection of panoramic photos with the focus not on the platform development but on the VR-regions launch. Vladislav has left Mark.Space in May 2018 but is still mentioned in their White Paper.
  • Vladislav is also a managing partner at Avivi — website development studio. In 2015 has founded a non-commercial cats hotel — KotBegemot.
  • "10+ years of active sales experience at one of the three largest banks of Russia" — which bank is that?
  • "Successfully managed the token sale that raised $12.000.000" — singlehandedly managed? If you meant Mark.Space ICO, then nobody knows the actual number about how much money they've raised. Where did you get the information about raised $12 000 000?

When we tried to conduct a small and, unfortunately, unsuccessful interview with the ENDO team, Vladislav sent us a pretty unprofessional voice message following the question about the centralized crowd sale.

For people who don't understand Russian: the message consists of several relatively rude expressions including explicit content

Do you think this is a professional behaviour?

According to the voice message, Vladislav also acts as a developer at ENDO?

Next, let's get to the system architect — Nicolay Berezowsky [ln|fb|tg].

  • Nicolai has empty bitbucket and github, where he just uploaded a small repository of his personal page. Haven't worked as a blockchain-architect prior to ENDO. Nicolai has no verifiable experience.

What projects did Nicolai develop?

  • Nicolai has mentioned relatively small experience on LinkedIn: 3 months of web-development in the Chinese company Mulan Information Technology, that develops an app to find services and professionals; 6 months of backend development and another 5 months of business-system analytics at the Novosibirsk company Buben Guru, that develops websites.
  • "5 years of commercial development" — where are 3 more years of Nicolai's experience?

Mikhail Plyaskin [ln|tg] — COO. Has only mentioned on his LinkedIn that he has been selling sport inventory since 2013. ENDO White Paper claims:

  • "Large land properties projects coordinator" — where, when and what are the names of the projects that Mikhail coordinated?
  • "Founder of the centralized organization group providing telecommunication services"what is the name of this group?

There is no more information of the Mikhail experience.

Where did Mikhail get COO experience?

  • Andrey Veselov [ln|vk|tg] — investment manager. No experience mentioned on LinkedIn. Has mentioned in personal messages that he was a cofounder of the transport company VECTOR, that manages customs clearance and logistics.
  • Kirill Khristenko [ln|vk|tg] — legal and financial analytic. 3 years and 4 months he have been a legal advisor at Novosibirsk companies Zolotoe Sechenie and SibTrans, websites of which are beyond ugliness, especially the second one. There is no further information about Kirill's experience.
  • Boris Baranov [ln|fb|tg] — head community manager. Worked as an English translator since 2005 in various Russian companies (up to 10 000 people), freelanced and worked as a community manager at Mark.Space September 2017 to April 2018.

Almost all the team members have been reviewed by now, except developers — we will leave them till the end of the section. Now to the rest of the team.

  • Valentina Boltenkova [fb|inst] — lead UX/UI designer. ENDO has a relativelly good website design. Here's her portfolio with 6 works.
  • Yaroslav Karpov [ln|fb|tg] — business development director at Japan. 2 years of economist work at the Russian Trade Mission in Japan, 4 years at Japanese company Itochu and 2 years of sales at Hitachi. Half a year spent as a community manager at the familiar Mark.Space ICO. No proofs of any of this information can be found.
  • Darya Kolessova [ln|fb|vk] — business development director at China. Marketer or community manager (as mentioned differently on Facebook and LinkedIn) at Mark.Space ICO since September 2017. Darya works as a brand-manager in two more companies at the moment [1|2], but we haven't found proofs of it.
  • Julia Stafford [ln] — head of digital advertising. Just like her colleagues worked at the Mark.Space ICO as a head of digital advertising. Worked at two advertisement agencies before [1|2].

Experience of the following people cannot be found on the Internet.

  • Zara Kachaeva [fb] — head of HR. No experience traceable. Andrew Veselov claimed in private messages that she worked as an HR manager at the World WiFi ICO, but we haven't found any proofs of it.

Why does the person responsible for HR at the tech-oriented project ENDO has no relevant experience? If there is experience, please, provide proofs.

  • Andrey Rodionov — business analyst. We could not find Andrey on the Internet as well as there is close to no information about him on the ENDO website and in the White Paper — no social networks links were provided.
  • Anastasia Pakhomova — project manager. Exactly the same situation as we have with Andrey Rodionov. No information about Anastasia on the Internet.
  • Dmitrii Remnev [tg] — community manager.
  • Kate Ten [ln|tg] — community manager.

Unfortunately, developers are also like ghosts. ENDO has mentioned only 3 programmers whose experience isn't verifiable and they are not known in the Novosibirsk developers community. However, White Paper claims that "they have over 10 years of experience in Backend, Frontend, Blockchain and BigData analytics experience". Let's see what we've got.

  • Vadim Snopkov [ln|vk|tg] — blockchain developer. Develops ENDO MVP. No personal blockchain projects on GitHub. Started as a full-stack developer at the Novosibirsk company Sibwaypro that makes websites right after university graduation in 2014. However Vadim cannot be a full-stack developer if he only knows backends on PHP and C++. There are 3 small worthless PHP repositories on his GitHub. Then, as he claimed, he worked as a backend developer at the studio called inCode. Worked at Airws since 2016.

4 years — is this all the Vadim's experience? Did Vadim work with blockchain before ENDO?

  • Alexey Kurganskiy — backend developer. Please, provide us with the link to his GitHub, portfolio, previous projects. What does he develop at ENDO exactly?
  • [Name removed on request] — frontend developer. Asked us to delete info about them because they wish no connection to ENDO.
  • [Name removed on request] — QA specialist. Asked us to delete info about them because they wish no connection to ENDO.

In one of the ENDO's videos, Andrei Veselov mentioned that there are 14 Novosibirsk developers working on the ENDO platform.

Why did you show only 2 developers?

When exactly will you show the names and proofs of experience of all the developers?

Does ENDO have any experienced blockchain developers or at least a CTO?

Why did most of the ENDO team decided not to mention any experience on LinkedIn?

All of it raises the questions to the HR of the project that gathered people without experience; and to the marketing department that allowed the company to look like it hires ghosts and not real people.

As ENDO claims, their development team is already seasoned and experienced by working together on GoFocus and PiperCat at Magnetar. If so, this is a good sign. At least ENDO promised to correct the issues with developers experience by the end of the token sale.

ENDO is registered at Singapore by the business number 201815388E. Company is consulted by legal advisory of GMT Legal.

  • What licenses did you already obtain? Can we see them?

ENDO claims that their EToken is of utility type and promises to publish Legal Opinion from the official financial regulator of Singapore — MAS.

"Of course. We are waiting on research from the regulator. Even more, we are going to submit docs to SEC"

What documents are you going to submit to SEC? When and why?

How long should we wait for the regulator research results?

If regulator proclaims that EToken is a security, what will be the legal consequences for the founders and team in general?

Even though ENDO team claims that their token is of Utility type, marketing manager Vladislav Utushkin openly claims that the token is going to be listed on cryptocurrency exchanges right after token sale and sees no legal risks for investors and project in general.

"Strange question, we would like not to do this but everybody would want to sell in the first day as always))) they want "x"s, so yes, we will"

On the other hand, lawyer Kirill Khristenko and head of community management Boris Baranov claim that Vladislav meant listing on decentralized markets without any of the project participation.

"As I wrote before, the fact that token is going to be listed on the exchanges goes against ENDO concept but rejecting the fact that token is going to get to the markets is foolish"

ENDO doesn't promise token listing in the White Paper

So will EToken be listed on the markets or not? Why don't you give us a direct answer?

Conclusion

For the complete implementation of such a product one should get onto the global market, even though the world is pretty conservative. It will be great if ENDO doesn't repeat the mistakes of Mark.Space which first developed worthless services instead of development tools it promised.

ENDO has a lot of uncertainty around it: ICO or token sale, MVP or prototype, will token be listed or not. We hope that the ENDO team will give full and public answers. As we were pointing out weak spots in the project, they promised to get better. We'll see how it goes.

And here goes the comment by Nikita Kolmogorov:

This one is extremely simple. Large ambitions and wishes of founders, unrealistic, uncertain and worthless notions (radioactive tracers, yeah), lack of MVP, lack of experienced developers, lack of the team experience, existence of previous ICO that doesn't follow it's promises, bad attitude from the team — I believe it's enough.

My personal opinion: don't invest in ENDO — too many red flags were found. No VC's would even consider answering an email with such a pitch — why should you?

Updated on June 28th, 2018:

Two ENDO ex-employees asked us to remove mentions of their names from the review.