$50 million dollar raise unexplainable, unethical, and unbelievable if it is only a white label product from AlphaPoint.
After hearing about the new HybridBlock Exchange being the “Coinbase of Asia”, AND led by Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno, we were excited. We quickly learned they have completed their raise with a hard cap of 50 million dollars. That should build one heck of an original, “game changing” exchange! After checking out www.hybridblock.io and the white paper, we quickly registered for an account before launch. After all, who would doubt a decorated Olympian Apolo Ohno, a shiny website and highly polished videos promising an incredible new modern exchange.
Unfortunately, things are never as they seem. After joining the HybridBlock Telegram group we quickly noticed a propensity for frequent delays — launch dates were never met. User frustration was clear but strangely there were very few comments; only a handful per day, compared to the 29,000+ members showing in the Telegram group. Are they real users? Not likely, as old messages indicate users were obtained via click rewards ($1 for signing up etc.). Our guess is that around 15,000 to 20,000 are likely not vested, or interested, community participants.
When it came to complaints, the few hardcore optimistic users argued that building an exchange from scratch is a huge endeavour and delays are bound to happen. Sure, that is a fair argument for delays when building an original exchange “from scratch”.
As the simulation environment, www.hybex.net, was released it was clear something was wrong. The “Coinbase of Asia” simulator was poorly designed and “clunky”. Simply, the interface had nothing original or intuitive about it, not to mention, it had nothing in common with anything even close to the Coinbase UX. If anything, it was a step backward for exchange user experience. Once again, the excuse that it is “just” a simulator and learning environment and real work was happening elsewhere, “behind the scenes”. Why launch a simulator that helps one learn about the exchange functionality and get familiar with the features if it will not be similar to the final product?
Following the www.hybex.net simulator launch, www.hybex.io went live as the portal to the exchange and promise of exchange features going live soon. Upon login, it was identical to the simulator and in addition to still lacking any new or unique features, it was slow. We decided to take a look under the hood. Maybe they allow public code review? Indeed they do…
The primary functionality of HybridBlock is located in www.hybex.io/js/app.js . After scrolling through, the reference to AlphaPoint kept coming up. What is AlphaPoint? A visit to www.alphapoint.com provided the answer. Simply, AlphaPoint will sell you their exchange tech and put your logo on it. Best of all, they promise a 90 day turnaround. A quick look and search for “AlphaPoint” in app.js returns 105 results. Based on the functions, app.js indicates that HybridBlock developers are only working on integrating with AlphaPoint, not building an original exchange. It is unlikely that there is any original work when it comes to key exchange functionality. So, we come back to the key question, what is the $50 million for?
The config.js file at www.hybex.net makes numerous references to AlphaPoint as well and includes an email function, which was disabled for the simulator, that emailed an AlphaPoint team member for manual KYC review. If your KYC personal docs are or were being emailed, it is a serious security concern and breach.
Finally, taking a look at www.alphapoint.com and www.hybridblock.io, we see that www.HybridBlock.io borrowed one AlphaPoint’s images and simply replaced the logo.
Based on all of the above, there are serious concerns about HybridBlock’s raise of up to 50 million dollars and leading investors and users to believe they are building an original product. Do your research! It is still the wild west when it comes to crypto!