A ridiculous forum in Boao mirrors the chaos in Chineses blockchain industry

Scam alert

Blockchain is one hell of a topic in China nowadays. No matter who you were, you can transform to a thoughtleader in China by wearing a coat of blockchain expert. No matter what your company business used to be, you can throw a blockchain summit party simply by spending a huge budget, getting as many media as possible onboard and inviting those so-called blockchain experts who have never been heard before.

Despite of the ridiculous logic, it is true in China. The blockchain farce just got even more ridiculous on May 28th in a blockchain forum held in Boao, a town located in Qionghai City, Hainan Province.


A copycat forum

Bo’ao is famous as it is the permanent headquarter for a continental forum called Boao Forum for Asia. National leaders in Asia will gather every year to talk here. This famous forum has been the target of copycat of all areas, blockchain included.

The farce on May 28th is called Boao Blockchain Forum for Asia and it will naturally lead people associate with Boao Forum for Asia, however, the official committee of BFA has formally clarified that they have nothing to do with this blockchain forum.


Disrespect to former national leaders

You may not believe this, but being a copycat is nothing compared with what the forum organizer did next.

They have invited Xu Guoxiang, a typecast actor, to play as Mao Zedong, founder of People’s Republic of China, and give a speech as the nation founder. During his speech, the actor said, “I hereby thank you in the name of Mao Zedong, and wish this forum fulfilling and successful!”

The marketing strategy of using deceased national leader is rather low and disgusting, not to mention that regulators have made it clear in 2007 that commercial promotions using national leaders are strictly forbidden.

Organizers might still be proud of their “brilliant” ideas of inviting the “founder” of the country to the forum. But most of the media managed to keep a clear mind and soon released announcements to distance themselves from this forum.

Funny thing is, some partner of the forum is so eager to survive this potential media disaster, they even tried to rip their logo off from the forum board.


When tide is coming, everyone is eager to rush forward and get a cut without thinking through. And when the tide goes out, it leaves a bunch of naked swimmers desperately embarrassed.

ETH price dropped more than 8% in OKEx as the matter is getting more and more heated in blockchain community in China.


Organizer – a professional fraudster?

The organizer and main sponsor of the forum is called Chudong Group, it is suspected to be a company of pyramid scheme. A pyramid scheme (commonly known as pyramid scams) is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services. As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible, and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal.

A lot of blockchain project in China also belongs to pyramid scheme, promising their investors with something may never be realized.

Chudong Group was also been tagged as badly-operated company by Administration for Industry and Commerce of China, as they cannot be contacted through their registered workplace.


A tip of the iceberg

This farce in Boao is only a tip of the iceberg for the chaotic situation of blockchain industry in China, as more and more fraudsters want to make quick money through all kinds of forms related with blockchain.

Fraudsters will orchestrate schemes like holding a conference and issuing useless tokens to make money. They don’t care the technical details of blockchain, all they care is how to tell an attractive story to draw public’s attention.

Even people who is really devoted to blockchain, can be blindly confident about themselves. I saw someone who usually sell classes about blockchain in Wechat turned into developing a bitcoin wallet. What he did is great, however, he seems to be obsessed with cryptocurrencies and has been constantly bragging about his wallet app and criticizing any comments against cryptocurrency.

I loathe fraudsters and blind braggers. They are motivated by the profits in front of their eyes. They did not, probably could not look at the bigger picture. Blockchain, as an emerging technology, may have the potential to disrupt certain industries, but it has not delivered much yet.

If you believe in blockchain, I think you should either be contributing to an applicable use case to help improve industry efficiency and security, in this way you would be more convincing when advocating for blockchain. Or, you can quietly invest in your portfolios and timely share your plan with friends, in this way you would look more like a successful investor.

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Zarc Gin is an analyst for Warp Speed Fintech, a Fintech, especially InsurTech-focused Venture Capital based in China.

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