- Šarūnas Černiauskas & Ernest Naprys
- Original article in Lithuanian | 15min.lt
- Posted: October 20, 2017 09:01 Updated: October 23, 2017 14:00
Ambitious goals, fresh cryptovaliuta and colossal turnover in just a few years. It is promised to its customers by the Lithuanian project “TokenDesk”, former flagship member of the Seimas Gintaras Tamošiūnas and long-time mayor of Vilnius and former member of the Seimas Artūras Zuokas. But the reality of promises can vary greatly.
At least that is what a foreigner who has pretended to be forced to pay not to crypto-writers, but … to a spice-trading company, feels like a TokenDesk client. In addition, the TokenDesk account was limited by the payment operator Paysera.
Paysera does not hide the fact that TokenDesk has not been given the kind of activity that has been done. But that’s not all. It turns out that there are shadow players in this business. For example, Vytenis Mažiulis, associated with “vocals” by the famous Balsas.lt group.
Another personality not seen in the TokenDesk project – entrepreneur Arūnas Miknius, as well as a link with the Balsas.lt group and has participated in a sharp fiasco banking project in Russia. The TokenDesk executives categorically deny Mr Michael’s participation in the project, but he is confirmed by another person – A.Zuokas who had just started the project.
The cyber-cryptic fever of the world has not spared Lithuania. TokenDesk, an initiative born in Lithuania, announced its intention to become a major player in this rapidly growing, but skeptical, criticism of the market. For its customers, TokenDesk offered “tokens” or “tokens” – a major part of the global marketplace for encryption. There is only one “but” – “tokens” distributed for several weeks, but no crypto cards have been bought. At least for now.
Simply put, TokenDesk sells a promise. Clients pays money to the pioneers of the Lithuanian cryptic currencies – when paying in virtual or real currency – and in return receive the right amount of tokens that TokenDesk will release into circulation at the beginning of next year.
TokenDesk did not lack publicity. The Lithuanian company tried to sound both abroad and in Lithuania, where the audience was probably attracted by one message. At the end of September, it was reported that not anyone, but “legendary mayor of Vilnius Artūras Zuokas”, joins the TokenDesk team.
But just a few weeks after the launch of the famous cryptographic deal, TokenDesk has serious problems. Not only because of the Paysera solution – those who trade in their honor deny themselves the words of one another, do not respond to very specific questions, and refuse to discourage facts by refusing to answer questions.
Arūnas Miknius: a man who is not. But is
Several sources that are completely unrelated to each other 15min reported that one of the key figures in the TokenDesk project was Arūnas Miknius. This entrepreneur is neither an elite party lion nor a frequent guest on magazine covers. However, he has been linked to the Balsas.lt group more than once in the media, and last year he had a strange history of Lithuanian banking in Russia.
A.Miknius was one of the main Lithuanian investors in the Russian bank Kapitalbank, to whom the Russian central bank canceled his license last year and introduced a temporary administration. The motive behind the decision is large bank investments in poor assets. Due to this type of operations in Lithuania, even several credit unions have been suspended in recent years.
Shortly after central bank intervention, Russia’s Kapitalbank asked for bankruptcy. At the time, there were no shareholders in A.Mnik’s shareholders structure, but Lithuanian investors still figured in the bank.
When 15min was interested in the peculiarities of Lithuanian banking in Russia, former member of the Seimas G.Tamošiūnas was also mentioned – he declared he worked for the Russian company Bėkšta. The owner of this business and A.Miknius’ partner – Russian entrepreneur Vytautas Bėkšta – told 15min last year that G.Tamošiūnas advised his business.
Now, as a pioneer of the crypto board, G.Tamošiūnas categorically denies any involvement of Miknik in the TokenDesk project.
“I do not know such people in this project,” 15am said T. Tamošiūnas, asked about the contribution of V.Miknius and former Balsas.lt shareholder V.Mažiulis to TokenDesk.
Tomas Mičkauskas, one of TokenDesk’s CEOs, gave the same position – only in writing – 15min. “I do not know such a person,” said T. Mikiuskas.
The former mayor of Vilnius A. Zuokas gave a completely different truth. “I shared with many. Of course I and Gintaras [Tamošiūnas] know well as a former municipal worker. (…) First of all, he is the contact person who is trying to find new opportunities in this topic. There was no doubt, after that, with more team members. Also with A.Miknium, ”said A. Zuokas.
Asked to clarify Michael’s role in the TokenDesk project, the politician said he was not aware of his exact status. But, unlike G.Tamošiūnas and T.Mičkauskas, he approves of A. Miknik’s participation in the project and does not hide it convinced personally.
Mr Zuokas says in the project he is involved in “educational reasons” and “TokenDesk” as an advisor without any reward. He confirms Michael’s participation, but he does not see anything bad – as in the poorly-invested investment by Miknik in the Russian bank.
“Whenever necessary, we judge all Russian decisions as subjective or initiated for one or other reason. When we need it, we judge the opposite. I would not be able to comment on this case, ”said Zuokas, recalling Michael’s investment in Russia.
Zuokas is not going to retreat from the TokenDesk team.
“All the innovations, all new initiatives are inevitably associated with a certain risk,” the former mayor was philosophically in the news.
Cryptovaleute with spice
An alien who asked for his identity and tried to experiment with the TokenDesk company turned to 15min. Using a false profile and fancy American identity, Ron Conway contacted TokenDesk as a potential investor. What TokenDesk executives Tomas Mičkauskas sent him was a big surprise.
“Client” 15min sent a tripartite contract template sent by T.Mičkauskas. It states that the purchaser must pay for the tokens not to the officially designated recipient, just a few weeks ago to the UK company TokenDesk Ltd, but to another legal entity. This legal entity is Tavlinas.
You probably don’t hear this name. But the other one you probably know. This is Saldva, a well-known brand that purchases a number of buyers across the country to label spices.
Vytenis Mažiulis, owner and manager of the company, a few years ago in the history of the famous “Balsas.lt” portal in the “vocals” scandal. The same V.Mažiulis, whose participation in the project is denied by G.Tamošiūnas – will soon be denied by T.Mičkauskas.
As evidenced by the copies of the 15min sent correspondence, T.Mičkauskas, representative of TokenDesk, presented V.Mažiulis as the head of one Lithuanian bank. And this is almost true – Mr Maziulis is also the head of Rato’s credit union, which has recently announced that it is aspiring to become a bank.
However, T.Mičkauskas categorically denies not only the involvement of V.Mažiulis in the project, but also the sending of letters.
Initially, when 15min called him, the crypto-pioneer pioneered the handset as soon as he heard a question about a spice company. He then did not answer the call for a while, but then picked up the handset – and assured him that the conversation had stopped because he was at the meeting.
T.Mičkauskas answered the questions. Only in writing. Here’s his answer about the participation of V. Maziulis company Tavlinas in TokenDesk:
“I hear about this company for the first time. No other company is involved in our business as an intermediary. We have various companies as partners, for example, in the context of the development of IT products, but there is no connection between the marketing of spices and our activities.
A person with such name and surname [i.e. I don’t know Vytenis Mažiulis. This person is not specifically involved in TokenDesk activities. ”
Then we sent 15 copies of the correspondence and the draft of the tripartite agreement, which shows both the name of V.Mažiulis and the name of Tavlino. All of this was called by Teikkauskas a fake.
“I could not comment on the falsified information,” T.Mičkauskas says in a shorter answer that abandoned Lithuanian letters.
With the help of OCCRP specialists from the International Center for Investigative Journalism, we analyzed the metadata of the letter sent to Tavlin. Later, we compared them with the metadata from the emails that Mr Mikkauskas really sent 15min – from the same email. mail, which is also indicated by a foreigner pretending to be a buyer. Metadata analysis shows that both letters are sent from the same IP address in Vilnius. There is also a lack of data indicating that the client’s fake alien is probably not a fake letter.
On Thursday, he was asked by phone to comment more on his accusations of counterfeiting of e-mails, T. Mikiuskas said that he would do so only in the event that an alien who sent 15min correspondence would also be present.
“If you have any questions, you can meet that person and see what’s wrong,” he said.
Asked to explain why both letters – both genuine and the “falsified information” mentioned by him – came from the same IP, T. Mikiuskas refused to answer the following questions.
“You know, I’m busy now – the first thing. The second thing I answered to all of your questions, “he said, asking for a meeting with the sender. Recalling that the IP addresses of his true letter and the “falsification” coincide, he remembered again at the meeting.
“Now I can’t speak. I am in a meeting ”, said T. Mikiuskas, suggesting to write another email.
There was another question that was not answered by T. Mikiuskas. We asked what the origin of the money used to start the TokenDesk was. Originally, the TokenDesk spokesman stated that “all funds collected during the current ICO will be used for project development”. After clarifying that he was not interested in using the funds collected during the distribution of the “tokens”, but the origin of the money used to raise these funds, T. Mikkauskas did not provide the answer.
Added on 23/10/2017 Tavlinas denies contact with TokenDesk and is making a claim to this company
After 15min, Tavlinas, a Saldva spice company, sent a letter stating that it had nothing to do with TokenDesk.
Maziulis says that “neither personally nor through third parties is related to the project” TokenDesk “; “UAB Tavlinas does not have, did not have and will not have any financial or other agreements with TokenDesk LTD, no revenue related to the project was received in UAB Tavlinas account. We are determined to provide this information in official documents.
Mr. Maziulis assures that UAB Tavlinas requires TokenDesk to deny untrue and compromising information in the media and to explain how and why UAB Tavlinas’ requisites appeared in their documents and to compensate for damage to reputation.
Paysera has restricted the account
TokenDesk offers a number of payment methods – not only orders to the spice-trading business account of V.Mažiulis. For example, a 15min journalist who joined the TokenDesk system received an invoice template that identifies Paysera’s account in Poland, and the purpose of the payment is defined by the abstract term “IT services”. There is no need to specify the cryptographic commands or the tokens for the purpose of payment.
15min by contacting one of Paysera’s CEO Costa Noreika, he informed that the TokenDesk account has been limited for some time.
“We have now limited our account to this company because our internal rules say that currency trading and ICO distribution is an unacceptable activity for us,” Noreika said.
According to him, Paysera became aware of the TokenDesk account by visiting a cryptographic pioneer event.
“I was gone, I listened exactly what they were doing there. I told you about your prevention [i.e. Prevention Department specialists], prevention then discovered everything. And we appreciated it wasn’t right for us, ”continued Noreika.
In addition, the interlocutor does not hide the idea that billboards generated by TokenDesk provide incorrect or even false information.
“They say in the instructions – look over and write for” IT services “. And that is completely wrong. (…) Falsely presenting this – it was not acceptable to us, ”said Noreika.
Having learned about the distribution of crypto boards through a spice company, the entrepreneur did not hide his surprise. “I don’t know why they did it,” Noreika said.
G.Tamošiūnas with T.Mičkauskas does not deny problems with Paysera. Both TokenDesk representatives assured that some of the operations were transferred to another bank. According to T.Michkauskas, in the UK.
Offering to overtake the proposal
According to G. Tamošiūnas, Paysera is likely to be followed by a recommendation of the Bank of Lithuania on the distribution of crypto currency. However, Paysera’s representative, K. Noreika, did not hide that the decision on TokenDesk was taken before the Bank of Lithuania issued a notice on the subject of cryptographic rulings.
Marius Pareščius, a 15min-speaking IT security expert, did not recommend taking part in this distribution. Because it distributes “air” – no tokens (“Tokens”) reach customers’ wallets, and they are only expected to be transferred in 2018. early in the year. This means that even the technical part of the project has not been implemented – people are invited to pay money for the promise that they will sometimes get virtual tokens of uncertain value.
“Do not deal where you are at high financial loss. Unfair Token Distributors in the world are already deceiving tens of millions of dollars. Whether this is the case, it is difficult to say, but it is not even the tokens that are currently being distributed, but the promise to transfer them. Whether such an investment will pay off, it is very difficult to assess, and only rely on the information provided by the organizers. It is necessary to take into account what kind of people are organizing the distribution, ”said Mr Parščius.
He explained that in the normal case, buyers of “chips” get instantly through a smart contract – “chips” are attributed to the buyer’s electronic currency purse.
15min tried to buy a minimum of 1 chips. Its price with 55 percent. a discount of 0.0045 for the Ethereum currency – about € 1.12. There was a record on the Distributors’ website that the amount paid was received, and the chips and smart contract did not smell. The tokens are promised to be transferred in 2018. January 22
“When SpectroCoin distributed” Bankera “tokens – they reached the wallet instantly,” Pareščius shrugged.
Intelligent contracts that are usually concluded by distributing new cryptographs or “tokens” are usually made immediately.
TokenDesk announces that it has already distributed nearly two million “chips” – if this amount is correct, it has attracted around $ 2.16 million from investors. EUR.
G.Tamosone agrees with the smart contract and assures that this method TokenDesk will be. Only after all the money has been collected.
“In our case, the smart contract will be completed by the end of the distribution of tokens. Because we do not know the exact quantity – how it will be distributed, ”explained a former member of the Seimas.
According to him, such a technical solution – to apply smart contract only after collecting all possible money from investors – is safer. This is how cryptographic buyers are protected from the depreciation of their investment.
“If you want to sell that token at a nominal value, then the developer will have a really large amount of it and will be able to sell it down the counter at a price. The value of this token would be greatly impaired. To prevent this from happening to us, our project, we have determined that by January 22, say, after the end of the distribution, (…) we program a very precise amount of tokens, as far as we are actually selling, into a smart contract – and people are protect against inflation. From the devaluation, ”said Mr. Tamošiūnas.
Promised profit – almost like all Lithuanian banks
15min contacted TokenDesk Customer Service to assess what promises are being shared with customers – whether there are any price predictions.
“It will depend on the market. We expect around $ 15 (€ 12.75) after the chips are listed on stock exchanges, ”Victoria said. It is disappointing that without the “chips” of January, it will not be possible to sell or transfer.
2018 is expected to earn $ 0.18 million, and in 2021 – Already 216.8 million EUR. The platform hopes to distribute electronic currencies (ICOs) for $ 5.63 billion in that year.
So it is promised that the value of the “chips” will increase 11 times – and the “chips” on the stock exchanges are planned for next February.
The TokenDesk White Paper explains that the TDS tokens they distribute will in the long run gain in value as the company will allocate ever higher amounts to their repurchase market.
“Chips Repurchase Program is a way to reward the TDS community. TokenDesk intends to allocate 12 percent. our net profit to buy TDS tokens. This will gradually increase the value and liquidity of TDS tokens. Redeemed chips will be burned in a smart deal, ”promises in the White Paper. There is also a possibility to get 5 percent. from every acquisition of another buyer.
However, net profit forecasts are extremely optimistic. If 2018 is expected to earn $ 0.18 million, which is 2021 – Already 216.8 million EUR. The platform hopes to distribute electronic currencies (ICOs) for $ 5.63 billion in that year.
By comparison, all banks operating in Lithuania combined earned LTL 252 million last year. Euro profit.
Even here, mathematical mistakes have been made, as TokenDesk sales are projected to be 10 percent. from 563 billion new currency sales, but the estimated turnover is only 5.6 billion instead of 56.3 billion, or 1 percent. 15min has no ability to evaluate how realistic the scope of such new cryptographic distributions is.
Tens of millions are planning to start
We need to attract at least 50,000 to develop the TokenDesk platform. ETH (EUR 12.4 million). This investment is needed to develop the TokenDesk platform with minimal features. For the beta version and maximum features, TokenDesk will need 100,000. ETH (€ 24.8 million) ”, says the platform’s White Paper.
The maximum amount of 20 million chips to be released is expected to be distributed. If it were to be distributed at published prices, the platform would attract some 38.15 million. EUR. True, 30 percent The chips company is going to keep themselves.
Asked to evaluate the ambitious TokenDesk plans, the project face G.Tamošiūnas not only assured him not to be worried about the projections, but also stated that these predictions might have been too modest.
“Our optimism is based on statistics. Comparing 2016 to 2017, as I have mentioned, the ICO mode is fairly new and it is only gaining popularity in the last few years. Comparing 2016 and 2017 this growth was more than 4 times, so roughly such forecasts were made by some economists that around the year the market is growing.
This is our forecasts based on the statistics of 2016. and 2017 As will be the case in the future, there are more and more data that we can base on. Now it is very growing, perhaps the projections were even more pessimistic at the beginning of projects. Currently, if you look at all of the ICOs in the world – it’s really more than 4 generations (growth). I think that when 2017 will close, will not be 4 generations, but will reach 10 times ”, prophesied
Bank of Lithuania: You take all the risks yourself
Vytautas Valvonis, Director of the Supervision Service of the Bank of Lithuania, warned that electronic currencies, their chips, settlements are not regulated and buyers themselves assume full risk and responsibility for possible losses.
“We have repeatedly warned users that virtual currency or virtual currency chips are unmanaged and unregulated. Persons who buy or use such currencies or tokens assume all the risks and responsibilities associated with them in terms of possible losses, ”V.Valonis said.
The Bank of Lithuania has also recommended credit institutions, payment institutions and electronic money institutions to refrain from buying, holding or selling virtual currencies, in accordance with the recommendation of the European Banking Authority.
“Considering that the value of virtual currencies can change significantly, t. y. The European Banking Authority advises consumers to think well before buying these “currency” units, both decreasing and increasing, as well as the fact that criminals can be crushed and emptied by virtual “wallets” and other major risks. .
At the same time, the European Banking Authority has called on financial institutions to refrain from acquiring, holding and selling virtual currencies.
The European Banking Authority advises consumers to think well before buying these ‘currency’ units.
As virtual currencies are easy to exchange for normal money, the European Commission is concerned about the possible use of virtual currencies for criminal – money laundering and terrorist financing purposes.
“Therefore, in 2016, an initiative was introduced to apply the requirements of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Directive to virtual currency changers. This initiative was also supported by the European Central Bank. At the same time, he stressed that the legislators should be cautious and should not encourage the use of virtual currencies, as such alternative means of payment are neither legally established nor a legal tender, which is allowed by central banks and other authorities, “explains V.Valonis. .
October 11 The Bank of Lithuania has issued its official position on the distribution of cryptographic currencies. Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, emphasized that the distribution of cryptographic currencies is an extremely risky investment and that Lithuanian financial institutions “must clearly distinguish their activities from such measures”.
The central bank of the country, TokenDesk, has not specifically named it, but in the report it has highlighted the activities that this company is currently engaged in:
Confirming its position, the Bank of Lithuania has also provided an explanation for the recent popularity of the way in which money is drawn – virtual currency chips (ICO).
“Despite the fact that this activity is not regulated, it is essentially about collecting money from investors, often unprofessional, to finance a certain activity. As the risk of loss of investor funds and other risks is extremely high, our position is that such distribution should be subject, in certain cases, to the requirements and limitations of investment laws, ”says Jurgilas.
For example, when tokens have securities features, they should be bound by a prospectus approved by the regulator and other requirements of the Securities Act. Depending on the nature of the distribution, the legislation governing pooling, collective investment, the provision of investment services, the secondary market or the formation of a financial market participant would apply by analogy.
If at least one of the listed regulatory features is applicable to a particular virtual currency chip distribution model, supervised financial market participants should not be involved or provide services related to virtual currencies and should follow the aforementioned disconnection policy.
Bank of Lithuania warnings G.Tamošiūnas accepts with sadness. In his view, a central bank could be more open to innovation. It is not only TokenDesk that this approach to foreign lawns.
“I appreciate as much as two – on the one hand, it would be fun if the Bank of Lithuania supported such initiatives and Lithuanian business would be able to raise money and create new products here in Lithuania. Really like that. On the other hand, at least there is some clear position that in Lithuania they do not want to recognize other crowdfunding ways. This is a signal to other project developers to choose another country. And we have chosen London in this case, ”said a former member of the Seimas.