European cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex International has scrapped its first “initial exchange offering” (IEO), just hours before the RAID crypto token sale was scheduled to commence.
The cryptocurrency exchange announced the halt to the sale on Twitter, explaining that it made the decision to boot RAID from its platform after the project made “significant, last minute changes.”
RAID had become embroiled in controversy in the hours leading up to the March 15 token sale.
RAID marketed itself as a way to “give data ownership back to users using blockchain technology,” specifically through a “decentralized game data ecosystem where data can be freely exchanged amongst users.”
“[B]y leveraging the game data ecosystem, we are planning to promote and develop new businesses such as advanced game marketing, game data analysis and game distribution platform.”
RAID touted its relationship with “core partner” OP.GG, an e-gaming data analytics company that boasts nearly 500 million monthly page views, according to its website .
“OP.GG provides insights to gamers for League of Legends, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Overwatch and eSports. We are building a platform where gamers can express and share their game identities and experiences.”
In fact, RAID’s founders, Cheonwoo Park and Taesung Kim, are listed as the CEO and CSO of OP.GG both on the RAID website and their LinkedIn profiles.
However, shortly before the IEO, OP.GG issued a statement distancing itself from the RAID project:
“OP.GG has stopped all potential business discussions related to RAID project and there will be no economic and technical cooperation with RAID coin.”
“In addition, OP.GG has no intention of developing any blockchain related business utilizing RIOT GAMES data.”
“OP.GG will take all possible legal measures against individuals or organizations disseminating false facts related to this.”
The whole incident is more than a bit ironic, given that Bittrex International had touted its new “IEO” platform as a way for crypto investors to achieve “peace of mind” when participating in blockchain token sales.
As Bittrex International’s Bill Shihara said in a press release announcing the RAID IEO:
“Now our international users have direct access to blockchain projects with the peace of mind that comes from Bittrex International regulated in Malta. We are excited for this IEO and look forward to helping similarly innovative teams connect with users to build their platforms for the future.”
Update: Bittrex International published a full statement addressing the RAID token sale:
“Bittrex International has cancelled the initial exchange offering (IEO) of the RAID token. We apologize for the inconvenience, but also wanted to provide a more fulsome explanation to our users”
“Trust and integrity are our most valuable assets. Part of earning your trust is to be as transparent as possible, so we want to let you know what happened. We decided to cancel the IEO as a result of significant changes in the business status of RAID. Specifically, a few hours ago, OP.GG terminated its strategic partnership with RAID, which was a vital part of the RAID project. When Bittrex International became aware of this significant event, we did not feel that it was in the best interest of our customers to move forward with the IEO.”
“Bittrex was started with a simple vision: to help advance the blockchain industry by fostering innovation, incubating new and emerging technology, and driving transformative change. As part of this vision, we want our users to know that Bittrex remains vigilant to ensure the integrity of our markets. One of the hardest challenges we face in advancing blockchain adoption is to avoid the rampant fear, uncertainty, and doubt that is everywhere in this industry. When we become aware of significant events, we respond quickly to protect our users.”