Evaluating Gladius Network
In this report, we won’t spend too much time looking at things such as token metrics or the stated purpose of Gladius Network, because those details are not necessarily relevant to what we’re looking at in this report. This is not a token review.
Rather, we’re going to review the structure of the project and investigate the claims of numerous investors over the past few weeks that report that they have been scammed by Gladius Network.
As mentioned above, the SEC put out a press release in February 2019, stating that Gladius Network must reimburse investors from the illegal token sale.
Thus, this report will look into the (numerous) claims of investors that have made it overwhelmingly clear in the months since that decision was made, that they have not received a refund.
Gladius Network ANN Thread
A common tradition in the cryptocurrency sphere is to post an ‘ANN thread’ on the website, bitcointalk.org, before launching a project.
Bitcointalk.org is a website that was originally designed by Satoshi Nakamoto (founder of Bitcoin) for the purposes of creating a central (no pun intended) online location for users to discuss any and everything related to Bitcoin.
Since then, it has become tradition for projects to post what is called an ‘ANN thread’, which is essentially an ‘announcement’ post that summarizes what a project is, how it works, terms of ICO, team members, etc.
Gladius Network’s ANN thread can be found here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2217711.0
Gladius Network ANN Thread Publisher, ‘KryptoKash’, Marked With ‘Scammer’ Label
Immediately upon clicking the link, the following is shown:
In case the picture above is not visible enough, the message in the red box at the top of the page states:
“Warning: One or more bitcointalk.org users have reported that they strongly believe that the creator of this topic is a scammer. (Check their trust page to see the detailed trust ratings.) While the bitcointalk.org administration does not verify such claims, you should proceed with extreme caution.”
This disclaimer is fairly remarkable because there it is rarely assigned to accounts on Bitcointalk.
To put this in perspective, there are still individual accounts on Bitcointalk that are associated with massive frauds and exit scams that have not received this label. For example, Mark Karpeles, whom goes by the name of ‘MagicalTux’ on Bitcointalk, was at the head of Mt. Gox when it collapsed in the beginning of 2014, in an event that is still widely considered to be the single biggest heist in Bitcoin history with losses estimated to be somewhere in the ballpark of a staggering $500 billion at the time the theft was revealed to the public. Mark Karpeles was subsequently found guilty of embezzlement and falsifying electronic records, per a Japanese court that ruled on the matter.
Yet, despite everything mentioned above, even Mark Karpeles has managed to avoid receiving the ‘scammer’ label on Bitcointalk.
Thus, given the fact that the threshold for receiving such a label on bitcointalk.org is obviously fairly significant, we’re going to take some time to look into this user.
Who is ‘KryptoKash’?
In reviewing the bitcointalk.org account, ‘KryptoKash’, it does not take long to see why this individual(s) was given the ‘scammer’ label.
Promotion of Clear Pyramid/Ponzi Schemes
Curiously, the title of the thread contains the name, ‘Bitfinex’ — a cryptocurrency exchange that is currently involved in a several-month long legal battle with the New York Attorney General over charges of fraud associated with none other than Crypto Capital Co and their use of a token called, ‘Tether’ — which has also been widely criticized as a ponzi scheme (most notably by the New York OAG themselves), and, at the very least, an unregistered security.
Perhaps what makes things even more interesting is that the coin was listed on Bitfinex. Below is an entry on Bitfinex’s website detailing how the coin works:
The link to that entry on Bitfinex’s website is still live at the time of writing.
This is worth noting because ANN threads are made before projects actually go live (i.e., before they’re launched). Hence the term, ‘ANN’ thread, with ANN being short for ‘announcement’ (i.e., announcing a new project that is being launched).
The ‘Bitcoin Interest’ ANN thread was no exception to this rule. At the time that the user ‘KryptoKash’ had posted the ‘ANN thread’ for ‘Bitcoin Interest’, the project was not active. Without being too technical, ‘Bitcoin Interest’ was advertised as a planned ‘fork’ of Bitcoin — so we can cryptographically validate on the blockchain that the ANN thread was posted before the project went live because the block height where the fork was activated at occurred at a later date and time than the ANN post itself.
All of the above was mentioned to yield the conclusion that the only way this user would have been able to confidently assert that the coin would be listed on Bitfinex is if they had already made prior arrangements with Bitfinex.
Of course, this is significant due to the enormous connections between Bitfinex and Crypto Capital Co., which were shelled out above. Active readers that have been paying attention up to this point most likely remember that Crypto Capital Co. is a criminal organization that is attached to Crypto Capital AG/Trilliant AG and that a core group of individuals from that organization make up nearly half of the executive structure of Gladius Network (the ICO that defrauded users out of $12.5 million that the SEC let off the hook).
Now, we are reviewing Gladius Network to see where things went wrong and it turns out that the user that posted their ANN thread (remember, ANN threads are significant for a project) is a prolific spammer, according to the broader cryptocurrency community. In addition, it appears that this same user, whom is responsible for posting the Gladius Network ANN thread, is also responsible for posting the ANN thread for a project called, ‘Bitcoin Interest’, a clear ponzi/MLM/pyramid scam — which can be seen below in an excerpt from the thread itself:
Thus, when tying everything together, the obvious connections between the above-named entities is almost impossible to ignore.
Going back to the project, ‘Bitcoin Interest’, a cursory glance at the last two pages of that ANN thread shows users that have been unable to retrieve their money for months, in case the blatant pyramid scheme being advertised was not a significant enough example of fraud.
No information could be gleaned from the ‘Bitcoin Interest’ block explorer because it simply wasn’t syncing:
As one can see above, the actual code for the blockchain explorer was clearly copied (without any deviation) from the popular Bitcoin block explorer site, blockexplorer.com:
Notably, the footer of both websites are exactly identical except for the social media icons and ‘Terms of Service’ and ‘Conference Schedule’ links in the latter site’s footer.
A simple comparative analysis of the actual code embedded in each site makes it clear that the same packages/code was used in each:
The only difference is that there is more content on blockexplorer.com than what can be seen on the ‘Bitcoin Interest’ block explorer (explorer.bitcoininterest.com).
Upon visiting the GitHub where all of blockexplorer.com’s code has been hosted (open source), it becomes immediately apparent that ‘Bitcoin Interest’ simply used the code, without modification, to quickly paste a website together.
It appears that ‘Bitcoin Interest’ pursued the same strategy for their wallet page.
Below is a snapshot of that wallet page:
The site above is located on a subdomain of bitcoininterest.io, called ‘wallet’.
It is a direct clone of https://coinb.in , see below:
The ‘coinb.in’ website is open source. So it appears that this is how the individuals behind ‘Bitcoin Interest’ were able to manifest this page as well.
The website analysis above was done to simply illuminate another characteristic of ‘Bitcoin Interest’ that is inherent in a number of fraudulent schemes in the digital currency space — a propped up website that is either a mirror of a former fraud or simply a clone of some open source technology that already exists.
The goal is to defraud individuals quickly, then exit.