‘Every time you do a good deed, you shine the light a little further into the dark,’ some say. And every time you do a bad deed, that dark becomes a little deeper, I would add.
Right now, that mantle of dark covers mankind, and if we pull it, we might not like what we see. Crime is everywhere. It is big business. Bad deeds rake in millions every day, to many unscrupulous people. We have become so accustomed to it that we hardly pay attention anymore. Even when we shop, either online or in-store, we risk falling foul of the very people who make that darkness grow thicker.
Shopping online is a risky business at the best of times. Credit card theft, parcels lost, lacking customer service, or counterfeit goods are all inherent to the online shopping extravaganza.
Counterfeiting in particular is rife, especially when dealing with remote, discount retailers sited in south east Asian countries. Illegal, but well-organized operations, trade in imitation goods at high prices, exploiting the vulnerable, and making a neat profit in the process. Modern day piracy, if you will.
StopTheFakes.io has emerged as the first decentralized service that intends to detect and eradicate counterfeit goods and copyright infringements, using the blockchain as its field of operation, and relying on the assistance of law-abiding consumers to help combating the counterfeiting scourge. These consumers will then be rewarded for their help.
This piece is a full disclosure about Stopthefakes.io’s value proposition. It is intended as a statement of facts, with no intention of endorsing its product.
Stopthefakes: The global, decentralized fight against counterfeit goods and copyright infringement
StopTheFakes aims to detect counterfeiting and the theft of intellectual property via a blockchain, decentralized service riding on the Ethereum network.
The counterfeiting of consumer goods is a worldwide phenomenon. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that $461 billion of such illegal goods will be sold during this year alone, and some think that this is a conservative estimate. It is a particularly big and bad deed, amounting to about 2.5% of all imports worldwide. The proceeds from such global crime feed the ranks of organized crime, trafficking, etc. It is not a victimless crime.
Global Counterfeit Market: Facts and Figures https://t.co/YhdEb7dRPq #StopTheFakes, #ICO, #blockchain, #ethereum, #copyright
— StopTheFakes (@StopTheFakes_io) October 28, 2017
The StopTheFakes project is a pioneering one, tapping into the ever-increasing reach of the blockchain to find a cohesive solution against piracy. This solution aims ti bring together both retailers and consumers, hoping to form an alliance that the fraudsters cannot hope to fight against.
Many business areas will benefit from such alliance, from brand retailers, to musicians, movie studios, video game creators, and many more. In real terms, anyone who may hold rights over an intellectual property may see advantage of a decentralized service to combat IP theft.
How the decentralized service works
StopTheFakes will rely on Requestors and Doers to form a network of counterfeiting trackers and detectors, so to speak. The Requestors will issue requests on the blockchain, and the Doers will search and track any possible violations of the Requestor’s requests. The Doer will receive a reward for this service, in the form of tokens.
I just published “StopTheFakes.io: The Doer’s Perspective” https://t.co/QnaA485T2U
— StopTheFakes (@StopTheFakes_io) October 25, 2017
StopTheFakes facts and figures
As with every other ICO, StopTheFakes has a human side driving the project. The website lists 9 core team members plus 5 advisers.
Every member of the team features a short bio. There is a lot of technical knowledge among the team behind StopTheFakes, with more than one PhD listed there, which is commendable.
Overall, the team appears first-class and able.
A well laid out, informative, comprehensive White Paper is a must for any ICO, if they are to be taken seriously. Documentation is sometimes treated as an afterthought, leaving many companies open to some criticism.
The first I noticed about the White Paper is that it’s quite long, but upon closer investigation, the font used is rather large, which probably made the paper unnecessarily long too. In any case, it is colourful and thorough, and it’s nicely broken up by pictures, schematics, and other graphic imagery.
The paper does a good job of transmitting the main concept across, and there is a lot of background information to provide a backdrop to the reasoning behind this project. And it is actually well written, which may sound like stating the obvious, but many White Papers out there lack in grammatical quality, to say the least.
It is worth noting that there is a shorter (one-pager actually) document on the website, essentially explaining the problem and the solution proposed by StopTheFakes.
— StopTheFakes (@StopTheFakes_io) October 21, 2017
Website quality & layout
StopTheFakes’ site is certainly colourful, with big, prominent lettering and fonts. It is eye catching and it is secure, with a valid SSL certificate.
The site contains a lot of facts and figures too, much like the White Paper. These illustrate the case at hand, and why a solution is needed.
Interestingly, the website features a section with the code for its Smart Contract, extracted from Github. This is rather unusual, and the first time I’ve seen such a move by an ICO. There is a link to StopTheFakes’ Github page also.
Overall, the website is easy and pleasing to navigate. All links work, it is well written, and did I say it’s colourful?
Social Media Presence & Digital Footprint
“About StopTheFakes.io” https://t.co/TnJk0x1tRH
— StopTheFakes (@StopTheFakes_io) October 26, 2017
StopTheFakes does not have many followers on Social Media, but then again, most ICOs don’t. This ICO does have a presence on Reddit though. This suggests the team spent time thinking about Social Media, and how to expand the company’s reach through as many outlets as possible.
- Twitter – 385 followers
- LinkedIn – 93 followers
- Medium – 79 followers
- Facebook – 364 followers
— StopTheFakes (@StopTheFakes_io) October 21, 2017
If there is one criticism of this entire concept, it’s the name itself. StopTheFakes sounds somewhat amateurish and unprofessional. Maybe the team took the ‘does what it says on the tin’ approach, but the name doesn’t work for me. However the idea behind the proposition is certainly worthwhile, the entire proposition hinges on the availability and willingness of people to dedicate extra time and effort to either request, or do, according to the roles explained earlier. Some may see the value in that.
The bottom line is, if StopTheFakes helps to reduce the bad deeds, its value proposition may catch on.
Consult StopTheFakes’ White Paper for more information.