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  • Three blockchain experts linked to an illegitimate startup called Prodeum told Business Insider they have nothing to do with the organization and are victims of identity theft.
  • The startup, Prodeum, raised $11 in an online fundraiser before disappearing on Sunday.
  • Prodeum’s website went blank late Sunday aside for the text “penis” in the upper-left corner.

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Three blockchain experts linked to a bizarre cryptocurrency startup that sought to raise $6.5 million before vanishing have told Business Insider that they are victims of identity theft and have nothing to do with the company.

The startup, called Prodeum, had billed itself as a developing a system to use blockchain technology for agricultural commodities, like fruits and vegetables.

But Prodeum caused waves online Sunday evening after trying to sell tokens to investors through a risky fundraising technique and subsequently disappearing from the web, leaving only the word “penis” on its homepage.

In the end, the company appears to have raised only an almost comical grand total of $11 from investors in its initial coin offering, or ICO. But the bizarre incident highlights the chaos and risks lurking in the unregulated world of cryptocurrencies, as well as some of the unexpected dangers that are likely to become more common as interest in cryptocurrencies continues to surge.

Darius Rugevicius, Vytautas Kaseta, and Mario Pazos were all listed as team members or advisors on TokenDesk fundraising page for Prodeum.

While fake founders are a common trait among questionable cryptocurrency startups, Rugevicius, Kaseta, and Pazos all actually work with blockchain startups. All three expressed concern to Business Insider that the Prodeum scam could have an negative impact on their reputations.

Their photos and names were posted on the original website, along with links to active LinkedIn profiles. A fourth team member, Petar Jandric, does not Read More Here