NEKOIN Founder is First to Go Through Fledgling Citrust Verified Process
Citrust was created to enhance trust within the Algorand ecosystem, to help both new and experienced investors find and research projects, and to reward community members for participating and sharing their knowledge.
One of the challenges somewhat unique to the crypto space is that it is not uncommon for projects to launch with an essentially anonymous founder or team members. People might choose to keep their identities hidden for many good reasons. Not wanting to rock the boat with their current employer or having non-compete clauses or other restrictions in place that put intellectual property or livelihood at stake is a compelling reason for someone to avoid disclosing who they are in “real life.”
The popularity of nicknames and using NFTs as a profile photo make it easy and seem normal to not know someone’s name or what they look like. This is also common among most online circles and even certain niche hobbies in real life like Roller Derby, where nicknames are common. That’s actually where my own nom de plume comes from. In most cases, it is a harmless way to provide some distance and separation between our public professional personas and our personal hobbies and interests.
The darker side of this is people obscuring their identities to make it easier to take advantage of others and avoid consequences.
We’ve seen this too many times already just within the Algorand community. A new project emerges, gets really popular, and there’s a sense of excitement and urgency. People feel like they connect with and “know” the folks in charge, so they ignore or forgive the fact that they can’t look them up on LinkedIn. Money is invested, along with time, hopes, and dreams. Then, the worst happens and the funds — along with the founders — disappear.
For small investors, it’s an insulting betrayal, a brutal reminder that even those who seem like friends might be scammers. For some, the financial loss and the shame of being duped can be devastating.
Docs = Dox
The term doxxing, or having one’s true identity (documents/documentation) made known, originally came from malicious or revenge-based hacker attacks where people’s personal (and in some cases very private) information is published widely on the internet against their wishes. Today when people choose to document and share their real identities, they might also say that they are “doxxed.” For example, the majority of the team working on Citrust are doxxed, in that our real names and photos are on the website and you can find a digital trail of who we are and what our past experience, education, and interests are.
Akin to outing a person’s sexual preferences or gender identity, it is all about consent. If a person decided to come out, that is something to be celebrated. If someone publicly reveals that kind of information about another person, it is at best a sloppy mistake or at worse an intentional attack.
While we support the right of founders and other project contributors to maintain a sense of privacy, we also strongly believe in transparency and making the Algorand community a safe and positive place. Additionally as part of featuring, interviewing, reviewing, and assisting projects, people often ask both KryptoNurd and Citrust staff about the people involved in various projects and whether they can be trusted.
I think it is safe to say that we never truly know what lies in the hearts and minds of anyone else, even our closest friends, family members, and lovers.
Endorsing a virtual stranger on the internet can feel like a minefield.
You don’t want to vouch for someone and then have them rip off a bunch of people who trusted your assessment.
Sometimes there can be a bit of backlash toward un-doxxed projects, especially when there has been a recent well-known rug pull. A situation like this led to KryptoNurd and Citrust Founder, Sundance “Monty Allen” Brennan to make a somewhat off-the-cuff offer on Twitter asking people to reach out if they need to stay anonymous for some good reason, but also want to prove their good intentions to the community. That Tweet led to a process that we are initially calling Citrust Verified.
“We are aiming to provide the best of both worlds at Citrust,” said Brennan, “Blockchain has a strong history of protecting identities and providing trustless systems that protect end users. Unfortunately, blockchain also has a history of bad actors taking advantage of those with less familiarity and knowledge. Citrust aims to provide anonymity with a safety net to ensure accountability. Peace of mind starts here.”
We certainly can’t promise that anyone who we talk about or work with won’t make any missteps or cause people to lose money, we do want to offer a way to bridge the gap between privacy and transparency.
We worked with Carlos Crameri and the other experts at Global Background Screening to create our initial process, but then we needed someone brave enough and willing to test it out.
Enter “Max” from NEKOIN as our proverbial guinea pig.
(Side note, I am going to suggest that they work with an artist to create an adorable guinea pig NFT series that will benefit a guinea pig rescue to make up for me using that very animal unfriendly term here.)
“Given previous bad actors in the Algorand space, we understand the hesitation in trusting anonymous teams.” said NEKOIN Founder, Max, “As a result, we jumped on the opportunity to help provide more confidence for our platform with Citrust.”
Max has valid reasons not to reveal their identity or the identities of their team at the moment, but they also want the AlgoFam to get excited about their forthcoming cause-focused NFT platform and feel comfortable using it. They reached out to us and asked if we could help.
For the first step, we scheduled a video chat in order to just get to know them, let them get to know us and see each others’ faces.
Next, we sent them a link to our Citrust Verified portal, powered by Global Background Screenings. All of the selections are optional with each person choosing which reports they want and paying for them out of their own pocket.
If you’ve ever had to do background checks in any capacity before, you know that these things are not cheap and can add up fast, especially when a person is from somewhere other than the US or has lived and worked in multiple states or countries. Some locations charge a lot more to provide access to the information.
For US individuals the cost is currently about $100-$250 with only those who have lived inside the boroughs in NY reaching the highest amounts. For outside of the US, the full package will run between $200-$1000 depending on the countries involved. When requesting a report, an estimate is provided at the time of the order and then GBC will reach out to confirm before continuing with additional charges.
Background Check Results
When the background checks are completed by GBS, Citrust can view the reports only with certain identifying information redacted, such as the person’s social security number. They help alert us to red flags so that we can have a conversation with the person about those circumstances and whether they are inaccurate, explainable, etc.
In Max’s case, they passed with flying colors:
- Criminal Record Provided — No Red Flags ✔️
- Education Verified ✔️
- Most Recent Employer Verified ✔️
- High-Level Global Crimes and Sanctions — No Red Flags ✔️
(200+ Global Databases Including Sanctions, PEPs, OFAC, FINRA Barred and Disciplinary Actions, Money-laundering Task Force, Wanted Persons Lists, Medical Sanctions)
To the best of our ability, they do appear to be who they say they are, which is awesome news, because their Paw Prints cause-focused NFT Marketplace is getting closer and closer to launching.
After the whole experience was complete, Max said, “Citrust is perfect in maintaining the anonymity that some of our team members require to continue working on the project while also providing assurance to the community that this project is not a rugpull.”
Paws for a Cause with NEKOIN
After launching their NFT Marketplace on testnet (read about a first timer’s testnet experience with NEKOIN here) the team has been moving forward, albeit not without setbacks. Every single member of the team has experienced significant downtime due to illness, which has pushed back a few timelines.
However the NEKOIN team is now on the mend and currently working on an updated shuffle mechanism for collections that will be available for review in testnet in the next few weeks. They have really put a lot of thought and work into making Paw Prints’ new logic for shuffles safer and closer to “random.” You can find a full breakdown here. The team is also coordinating with their partners and artists and once they gather important user feedback in testnet, NEKOIN will be ready to launch Paw Prints in mainnet!
- Algorand, like all blockchain communities, needs more trust and transparency to keep people safe from scams.
- Citrust is working on an identity verification service for founders and team members not ready to fully dox publicly.
- NEKOIN Founder Max is the first to achieve Citrust Verified status.
- Paw Prints has some awesome updates to their shuffle logic and will be available on mainnet soon.
The Usual Contacts
Citrust.io official website.
Register your project with Citrust.
Citrust on Twitter, Medium, Discord, YouTube, TikTok, and LinkedIn.
KryptoNurd official website.
KryptoNurd and RealMontyAllen on Twitter, Telegram, and YouTube.
Find out where to buy $NURD, stake $NURD, and receive air drops.
AlgoFund Launch Pad.