The Causa Envion: Why ICOs are so dangerous

Germany’s most successful ICO-financed start-up Envion is currently making the rounds in the media landscape. At the time of the all-time high of the Bitcoin course, a lot of money was collected, which is now considered lost. The background.

It is the end of 2017. We remember: The Bitcoin course climbs to undreamt-of heights, the often quoted bubble begins to lose air. Meanwhile they are shooting out of the ground everywhere – the ICOs. An ingenious way to collect a lot of money in a short time. Or to lose a lot of money in a short time. It is the spirit of Satoshi that dances with the ghosts of decentralization. Especially in the world of ICOs.

There it is above all the Envion story that is currently making the rounds in the German-speaking world. A lot of money seems to have gone down the drain. The idea was not bad at all.

The Bitcoin revolution: Mobile Bitcoin Mining

So-called “Mobile Mining Units” were the Use Case. In other words, mobile Bitcoin miners that use surplus green electricity. It was the surplus energy from solar, wind or hydropower plants that was to be used for Bitcoin revolution mining. At a Bitcoin revolution exchange rate of up to 20,000 US dollars, this was not a bad deal.

The virtual IPO was not far away, an ICO was needed. According to the Handelsblatt, the Envion team around Michael Luckow teamed up with Matthias Woestmann from Quadrat Capital to raise even more money for the project.

And suddenly the money was gone
By January 2018, Envion had succeeded in collecting a total of 100 million US dollars from 30,000 investors. However, as the Handelsblatt continued to report, there had been neither business operations nor turnover. The Berlin public prosecutor’s office in turn called this into question – it is now investigating computer crime, among other things.

There was also a disagreement within the team – Matthias Woestmann is said to have increased his share of the company from 31 to 81 percent through clever share transactions.

Little to no actual use with a high marketing share – this still seems to be the recipe for success for many ICOs. Separating the wheat from the chaff is not always easy. But who was responsible for all the clever marketing? This is where another German company comes into play – Paranoid Internet.

Paranoid Internet: The Bitcoin loophole

Paranoid Internet took Envion under its wing. According to its homepage, the agency makes sure that the ideas of its customers “come into the limelight” and offers them “solid economic knowledge” as well as “business intelligence”. In addition, they promise their Bitcoin loophole clients to understand the current “digital transformation” in its context and to integrate “modern technologies” into their clients’ business models. In short according to onlinebetrug: FinTech-Marketing at its best.

On the private homepage of paranoid Internet CEO Dennis Weidner, he explains that he wants to give us an impression of what it means to be a founder. Now he could feel that in all hardship. Because the investigations are currently going in all directions – paranoid internet has to be careful. However, Dennis Weidner distances himself from the events at Envion in relation to BTC-ECHO:

“The employees of Paranoid Internet had no insight into internal processes at Envion. Paranoid Internet supported Crypto PR & Marketing as an agency until the end of 2017. Envion AG and Paranoid Internet have not maintained a business relationship since the conclusion of the contract. Our employees work daily with passion for the success of a customer campaign. As an agency, you depend on the truthful gift of information from your clients. Nevertheless, we find the circumstances disappointing for the scene. However, we do not want to allow ourselves to judge who has pursued which goals here. […]“