Sparkster, the Ian Balina-backed ICO that had been hyped up to deliver multiple returns, crashed on takeoff, dumping 92% on its IDEX listing. This was after Sparkster CEO promised the platform would be “life changing” and that it would “deliver 300x”. Life changing it certainly was, with every $100 invested instantly being worth only $8, leaving a trail of wrecked investors furious at the reversal of their anticipated fortunes and another lesson in buying into the hype.
Crash and Burn
Sparkster, which promises to be a decentralized software platform, conducted an ICO in June 2018 after hiring former ICO magnate Balina to build awareness of the project (i.e. shill it), which he did, stating in videos that he didn’t know how the token would perform on launch but that “if it can do a 5x or a 10x…oh man”. The tokens were locked up for a year, and closer to the launch date, having failed to land a high-volume exchange, Balina was more circumspect, stating that “I’m just hoping I don’t lose money on Sparkster to be honest”.
Clearly, Balina could already see the writing on the wall, writing which may as well have said ‘this coin will dump because we don’t have a decent exchange’. This didn’t deter the Sparkster moon boys however, who predicted nothing but huge gains come launch day:
These investors got a rude awakening however when the token promptly fell from the ICO price of $0.15 to $0.012, firmly grounding the moonboy brigade and turning the excitement into rage:
Balina’s Reputation Takes Another Battering
The ultimate irony is that Balina rated Sparkster as his number 1 ICO on his famous spreadsheet when he became involved in the project in 2018, affording it a 90% rating. Sadly for Sparkster investors, 90% is now more representative of how much they have lost rather than how good the project might be. Balina’s response to the crash was largely dismissive, stating that it was “disappointing to say the least” and that he would write off the loss to counter his tax bill. He ends the message with a trite summary:
“We learn most from our mistakes. On to the next.”
For people like Balina who have made huge sums over the past two years there is a ‘next one’, but for those who put everything into Sparkster on the back of the hype drummed up by people like him, they are sitting on a worthless investment, very much like those who lost out in the BitConnect scam.
Of course, investors are not blameless in situations like this, as it is crucial to conduct your own research and not buy blindly into the hype, and it is still somewhat surprising that after everything the space has experienced over the past two years that there are still huge swathes of people who haven’t yet seen behind the Ian Balina curtain and still think that he has investors’ best interests at heart. He is, and always has been, out for himself, and makes sure he does not lose in situations like this. On to the next indeed.