The Bitcoin bubble is deflating, and there aren’t nearly enough suckers desperate to put their money into anything with the word “crypto” attached.
So for Synthestech’s ICO, they’ve decided to go big or go home:
DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION TECHNOLOGY FOR ARTIFICIAL SYNTHESIS OF PLATINUM
We are developing the most significant innovation of century. We use Cold Fusion phenomenon for transmutation of cheap elements into valuable elements and isotopes
Yep — it’s an ICO for alchemy.
Vladislav Karabanov and Synthestech
We have conducted few hundred experiments and received amazing results – we learned how to turn some elements into others. However, the research is not finished yet. The next step is to transfer our technology from the experimental to the industrial level.
BitcoinExchangeGuide has the only investigative coverage so far:
The creator of the company is Vladislav Karabanov. He is a real person and there is news of him attending to congresses and about Synthestech existing, so you can be sure that this company is not a scam (or, at least, it exists).
We have also found weird information about Vladislav Karabanov. A person also called Vladislav Karabanov has appeared on RT, a Russian TV network, claiming to have seen UFOs. He looks a lot like the pictures on the Synthestech sites, so we say it is probably the same person. Also, there is news about his company in a UFO’s site. Yeah, he seems to be a sketchy character.
I found the RT article from 2009 on Karabanov’s UFO encounters:
Vladislav says he might have already been in touch with visitors from outer space.
“If I’m not being mistaken, the mere possibility of seeing and filming these objects, the way they appear, and move, and finding where their portals are is considered by ufologists to be second-degree contact,” he says.
To get feedback from other UFO hunters, Vladislav has set up a website.
He is certain that the area around his home and the summit of Bytkha Mountain in Sochi is being used by extraterrestrials as some sort of a gateway between worlds. Vladislav says for centuries this area was considered sacred by the local tribes.
“The Ubykhs believed that mount Bythkha is a holy place, so they’ve built a sanctuary here. There seems to be some kind of different energy that can be felt, and it’s something that you cannot feel anywhere else,” the man explains.
And here’s his TV spot:
What is cold fusion?
Cold fusion is the fusion of small atomic nuclei into larger ones, without the heat of a star or a hydrogen bomb. It has the minor problems that it doesn’t work, it contradicts vast quantities of extremely successful and well-tested theory, and the claimed successes can’t be reproduced.
The term was popularised with the work of Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, who ran an experiment in 1989 that seemed to generate anomalous amounts of heat just from chemical reactions. This got tremendous publicity … but no other laboratory could reproduce it.
The banner was enthusiastically taken up by cranks, who follow in the footsteps of Pons and Fleischmann by publishing reams of further experiments that can’t be reproduced. They tend to euphemise it as Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (“LENR”). The worst claims include blatant fraud such as Andrea Rossi’s Energy Catalyzer. Cranks also believe there is a massive conspiracy to suppress the truth about cold fusion.
There are credible scientists working on how to fuse nuclei at temperatures of less than millions of degrees — e.g., with muon-catalysed fusion — but they tend to avoid the term “cold fusion.”
Transmutation in real science
Can you turn lead into gold? Sure you can! You put it into a particle accelerator, and you fire subatomic particles at it until you knock three protons off. Or fill it with neutrons until it turns radioactive and decays into gold.
This costs vastly more than the difference in price between lead and gold. Also, you’ll do much better starting with mercury. Also, the gold will probably be radioactive. But never say no!
Synthestech claim to have experimental results showing that transmutation of elements at low temperatures — and without a particle accelerator — is not only possible, but economically feasible, using bacteria to do the magic bit.
Synthestech’s one-page paper outlines their claimed experimental successes:
We have achieved phenomenal results in numerous experiments. In a matrix consisting of low-value elements such as iron, copper, tungsten, etc., as a result of processing, emerged new elements — the valuable ones among them were platinum, iridium, ruthenium, etc. In other words, artificial production of valuable chemical elements of the platinum group has been carried out.
The full white paper is substantially a detailed history of fabulously exciting, but irreproducible, scientific results in cold fusion and cold transmutation technology.
Karabanov announced his breakthrough in a press release and press conference in August 2016 — because science by press conference, rather than a published paper detailing an experiment and how to reproduce it, is standard in cold fusion:
The invention relates to the field of biotechnology and chemical transmutation. Radioactive feedstock containing radioactive chemical elements or isotopes, treated with an aqueous suspension of bacteria of the genus Thiobacillus, in the presence of variable valence elements.
As with KrioRus’ cryonics ICO CryoGen, Synthestech are seeking funding to try to develop their pseudoscience that can’t possibly work.
STT is a standard Ethereum ERC-20 token. Investors will share in a pool of 36% of the profits from Synthestech’s commercialisation of its technology.
The video pitch is that conventional investments aren’t giving good returns, and even the blockchain market is crowded, so you should invest in impossible magic beans. As the promotional video says (1:12 on):
The project Synthestech was launched exclusively with the commercial world in mind. So scientific theories were initially left aside.
So the blockchain in interesting, but not yet clear whether it's useful for anything. And investing in Bitcoin still looks a lot less reasonable than investing in cold fusion 12/
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) January 21, 2018
Here’s “Why You Should Buy “Synthestech” Tokens — STT”:
1. STT Tokens emission is aimed at creating real material values — precious metals, which will always be valued. While program codes might become useless, when better codes emerge. STT will give the right to receive profit from innovative technology that is unrivaled now and will remain so in the near future.
2. The STT token price, as the project progresses and capitalization increases, will grow tens and maybe hundreds of times.
3. The basis of the STT project and its revenues is the unique know-how and innovative technology known to a narrow circle of people. This is complicated knowledge that takes a long time to implement. Perhaps tens of years. This technology will permanently yield income. At the same time, cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency projects are also innovative, but many intelligent programmers create a lot of competing programs.
This is marketed explicitly as an investment — you put in money, they build a lab, you get returns.
We are happy to announce that we have raised enough money to equip the Materials Analysis Laboratory. By April 25, 2018, it will be completely ready for the pilot testing. Thanks everybody for joining our project and your great support. #LENR #ColdFusion https://t.co/j16UzDTqaf pic.twitter.com/TP2hxXTO56
— synthestech (@Synthestech) March 26, 2018
Synthestech also tout the medical benefits of their work — platinum has medical applications.
The project roadmap posits commercial Cold Transmutation technology by October 2019, with investors seeing dividends from January 2020.
The “press coverage” linked at the bottom of the ICO front page is entirely their own paid press releases and advertisements.
Crypto market reception
This ICO, that is selling literally impossible magic beans, had a successful pre-ICO sale of $300,000, and is currently into its main sale.
Synthestech publicly posted a bounty of STT tokens for anyone who joined in the publicity push, listing various promotional venues and what you’d get for promotion in each of them. That post is a good worked example of ICO promotion in practice. This is the ICO space, so openly paid shilling is perfectly normal.
There are several sites purporting to rate ICOs. This is how they rated an ICO for a product that can’t possibly exist:
- Foundico: Main info 8.5, Finance 7.5, Team 7.5, Marketing 10 and Product 6.6, for an ICO score of 8.0. (Note how little the product matters.)
- ICOBazaar: 3.5 stars out of 5, BBB
- ICObench: 3.6 — a number calculated by “Benchy,” their ICO analyzer bot.
My estimation of BitcoinExchangeGuide, however, just went up. I heartily endorse their assessment:
If you want to invest in this company, we urge you not to. Unless you really have strong reasons to believe that this cold transmutation process is actually true, chances are that you are being fooled or that you are believing in a madman.
Alchemy. Turns your gold into theirs.
— Rootless [But Very Stable] Cosmopolitan (@BrianBuchbinder) March 28, 2018
Thanks to Magrov on SomethingAwful for spotting this one.
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