Honest Hamster Marketplace ICO review

Golden Borodutch
Published in
13 min readAug 20, 2018


Source publication date: December 29, 2017.

This English translation of the Russian Hamster Marketplace review was made by the request of those in need. I know English so-so, and probably there are a lot of mistakes in the text. Please, send me comments on spelling and grammar on Telegram. I will be very grateful for any editing help :)

Welcome, dear friends. You’re reading the «Honest Review» for the Telegram channel Golden Borodutch. Today we will try to objectively tell you about the strengths and weaknesses of the Hamster Marketplace ICO.

ICO is somewhat like IPO with the grain of the Blockchain technology. IPO stands for Initial Public Offering when big enough companies (Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) start to sell the shares. ICO is almost the same but instead of buying a share of the companies control and receiving dividends, investors either pre-order goods and services or literally, receiving a speculation tool that may (or may not) rise in price over time.

The review will be divided into five parts: the product, the advisors, the team, the legal part and the conclusion — for the convenience of the reader. We have simplified the work to the ICO team, highlighted all the specific issues in bold. We expect the Hamster Marketplace team to answer all the mentioned questions from this review in a complete official response. If any issue is ignored — investors have every right to believe that ICO team has hushed the issue and doesn’t want to answer it. Let us begin!

Worth noting that everything written below only represents the personal opinion of the author, which fully complies with the Fair Use laws and the First Amendment. It’s is in no way trading advice, and all the information was gathered from public sources.


Hamster Marketplace (HM) — is something between Amazon (without Jeff Bezos) and Kickstarter. It consists of the following products:

  1. The decentralized trading platform that focuses on the selling of indie electronics, DIY-systems, handmade products and innovative gadgets for real currency and cryptocurrency. ICO team plans to shift platform towards democratic self-governance using blockchain and machine learning by 2020. Until 2020, the platform will take 20% fee.
  2. Hamster Marketplace Tokens (HMT) — digital Ethereum smart-contract tokens. Tokens are issued in the amount of 20 million for the price of $2 per token and qualify as the Utility type. Purpose of tokens:
    — For the organizers of the ICO — crowdfunding way to raise funds;
    — For producers of goods — sales without commissions and access to the marketing functions of the platform: banners, search priority, email-mailings and etc.;
    — For buyers of goods — discounts on products, access to exclusive products, access to information about the projects that have not yet entered the market, as well as access to sales statistics on the platform (can be useful for IT-journalists).
  3. Price auto-parsing tool — a software price monitoring tool for a number of selected sites, including the manufacturer’s website. The price on the HM adjusts to the lowest, as shown by the parser. Fraud protection measures are provided, including a manual price moderation.
  4. Defect accounting tool — a software accounting defect products percentage. All records are maintained in Emercoin Blockchain, as a ratio of proved claims to the volume of sales. Thus, everyone can see the genuine goods defect statistics.
  5. Logistics — goods delivery service, collecting delivery speed data.

We have carefully read the entire White Paper (WP), all posts on Habrhabr, VKontakte and Facebook, but have not found the detailed plan for the technical implementation of the project. So the following issues arise:

1: Decentralized trading platform

  • Where and how exactly will the manufactures be involved in Hamster Marketplace?
  • According to the White Paper, buyers will be attracted through various start-up sites (Kickstarter, Indiegogo). How are you going to do this?
  • How will you maintain the checking process of the manufacturers quality?
  • How exactly will self-government of HM go after 2020? Is there an outline of a democratic structure?
  • Who out of the project team will be responsible for machine learning? What experience does this person have, which pinnacles achieved, and which machine learning projects of their work can we see?
  • Is there an outline of the structure of the machine learning used? What types of neural networks will be used? Has the development of this part of the project already begun?
  • Which technology stack will be used to decentralize the site? Is there a decentralized structure sketches?
  • Who will pay for the domain hosting and other costs after the removal of the fees in 2020?
  • Are there any plans to continue the development after 2020?
  • From a technical perspective, how will you fight the prohibited and illegal goods?
  • Will you offer support in connecting production facilities with sellers? If so, how?
  • How will be seller/buyer conflict regulated?
  • How will you fight against organized fraudsters? And how will it be organized technically?

2: Tokens HMT

  • Is the scenario of tokens being unavailable possible? In that case, what security measures will be taken?
  • Regarding the terms, for the entrance to the marketplace, the seller pays $25,000 per year or 20% from each sale. Will those conditions remain after 2020?
  • How do you forecast the exchange rates of growth in demand for the token?
  • What exchanges will HMT tokens be available on?

3: Price auto-parsing tool

  • Who will do the manual price moderation of goods after 2020?
  • Which platforms will the auto-parsing program monitor?
  • If the product is handcrafted, isn’t it unique? How will auto-parcing tool deal with unique items pricing?
  • How will the technical parsing of different sites be implemented, from the technical point of view? Machine Learning? Are there any AI structure drafts?
  • How often will the prices in the database be updated?
  • Will the program catch sale deals like “Black Friday” and how will it handle them?

General issues about the project:

  • Who is responsible for Web, Android, and iOS development? Is it possible to look at the completed projects and work of those people?
  • Is there a working prototype of a website or a mobile application?
  • Can we see a detailed estimate for each instrument? How many programmers, marketers, managers, designers will be hired? What about the salary each employee is going to get?
  • Please provide us with a link to a smart fund-raising contract, to confirm that the amount of money collected is not just a fictitious number.
  • Why was Emercoin platform chosen, rather than Ethereum?
  • Are you ready to develop the project transparently, in an open source repository?
  • Do you already have a business plan? Can you show it to us?

We hope that the HM team will give us full, detailed answers to all the issues presented to them, with links and evidence in a separate public document, so that investors won’t have any additional issues and we don’t have to write the answer on the HM team response.

Hamster Marketplace is positioning itself as a competitor to Amazon, eBay, and Aliexpress, and aim to stand out by using blockchain transparency and the lack of fees. If everything is clear with blockchain, then why the other sites have such a large fees? For example, Amazon takes 30%, but it’s understandable. You’re paying for two-day shipping, warehousing, and packaging of the goods.

Just a simple thought — look at the last file of Amazon annual report. Earning 135,987 billion of revenue, Amazon has undergone through 131,801 billion of maintenance costs. Of these, 88,265 is the cost of sales, 17,619 is the logistics costs, as well as 16,085 for the technologies (neural networks with contextual advertising). 135 earned — 131 spent. And it’s only Amazon alone, not talking about eBay and Aliexpress. And the Hamster Marketplace sets investment cap at $28,000,000, limiting it’s resources to satisfy over 3,800,000 projected customers.

Now let us look at Table of predictions from the White Paper HM:

As it turns out, 1 customer click costs only $7.3? That is some fantasy over there. In the US, considering some niches, 1 click sometimes can cost as high as $20.

How Hamster Marketplace with a commission of 20% or $ 25,000 per year of fixed payment, is going to make the project profitable? Could you provide us with your calculations?


Let’s look at the project’s advisors. We reached out to all the advisors on Facebook and some on LinkedIn to confirm their participation in ICO HM and find out, what they are really doing in the project.

As soon as responses are received, this review will be updated.

  • Kilian Kaminski [fb] — is the CEO of the Austrian marketplace for refurbished devices — Refurbed. He worked in the Amazon program as a director of the German gadget refurbishing. He quickly responded to a LinkedIn message. He advises HM on doing business in the market of electronic commerce, as well as strategic planning and marketing vendors in Europe.
  • Stanislav Polozov [fb] — is the head of the development department of the Emercoin platform.
  • Oleg Hovayko [fb|git] — CTO Emercoin. Stanislav and Oleg answered on Facebook. They advise HM on integrating Blockchain Emercoin into marketplace tools.
  • Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov [fb] — deputy director Internet Initiatives Development Fund of marketing and strategy. We reached out to him on Facebook. Still waiting for an answer.
  • Nodari Kolmahidze [fb] — chief investment officer at the ICO Cindicator, oriented finance in addition to the hybrid intelligence. Based on the HM representative response Nodari consults project on finance and Investor Relations department.
  • Christopher Cowles [ln] — served as lead analyst for business processes in Amazon, for one year, and responsible for the development and implementation of tools to improve the efficiency of operations. I hit him up him on LinkedIn. Waiting for an answer.
  • Rinat Arslanov [fb] — is the CEO of the ICO Revian (arbiter between customers and companies to store messages in the smart-contracts). Wrote him on Facebook. Waiting for an answer.
  • Michael Inoma [fb] — worked at eBay from 2007 to 2016, was director of business areas in the department of policy and operations. Advises HM in planning work with in the electronics buyers.

Michael and Nodari asked us to question HM representatives directly, as any discussed information can be confidential. It is worth noting that Dmitry, Rinat, and Christopher have not yet responded to us.

The HM project lacks machine learning and technical advisors, which is very important for a decentralized platform.

Is this all of the advisors? Maybe someone wasn’t mentioned on your list?


Let’s dig deeper. Information about HM team experience on the site and in the White Paper is very short, but we have Google!

  • Denis Bulavin [fb|vk|ln] — Hamster Marketplace CEO. He has been in business since he was 18 years old. After graduating from the University of Economics, he has founded 4 businesses. Co-owner of the electronics production manufacture Hamster Robotics, where he created a brand of children’s tablet PlayPad. This is all the information on the Internet about the experience of this person. There is an interesting analysis of its tablet from Dmitry Potapenko. Can we see the list of businesses that Denis was engaged in? Can we see evidence of the existence of these businesses?
  • Egor Kotkin [fb|habr|ln] — HMs COO. Writes and translates articles, deals with the marketing of the project, wrote White Paper, recorded video and presents the project at conferences. Has previously written and translated several articles for the ICO Polybius. He has extensive experience in copywriting.
  • Xenofon Kontouris [tw|ln] — HMs CMO. CEO of firm Aeroship, engaged in international shipping service P2P. YouTube channel of the company is not sophisticated. Why CEO of another company became a CMO in this ICO? What are his responsibilities at HM?
  • Arina Shlaeva [ln] — HMs CPA. She engages in accounting and works as a tax superviser. Her partner, VRCG, — three project consultants on legal and accounting issues. She is competent in economics.
  • Valentin [ln|fb] and Evgeny Savchenko [fb] — marketers communicate with investors. Co-founders of WinWin Solutions. What are their responsibilities at HM?
  • Chris Lovell [ln] — Partner Communications. Works at IT department since 2013. Is the manager of Helium Pay.
  • John Pavin [fb] — just a manager. What exactly does John Pavin do at the project? And what’s his experience?
  • Johannes Kanter [ln] — SEO Specialist. He worked with startups such as Fleep and Click & Grow. Co-founder of digital marketing of WINK agency. Is there any evidence that the Johannes is the founder of WINK agency? What merits does this company have?
  • Nikolay Zaitsev [fb] — ICO analyst. He finds and attracts manufacturers. There is no information present about his experience. How exactly does Nikolay attract manufacturers? And what is his experience?
  • Sofiya Romanovskaya [ln] — relations manager with the community engaged in a bounty program. Based on the information on LinkedIn, has experience of hotel and brand management.
  • Nurlan Abdrassilov [ln] — Head of Public Relations. 4 years of work in the company ZOOM International, where he was engaged in routine work with documents.
  • Artur Saakov [fb|insta] — UX/UI designer. Experience working about 6 years in the design. Based on the information in WP, Arthur worked with companies such as VTB 24, Tesla Karting, Vaenga Music. Can we see the links to the work of Arthur within VTB24, Tesla Karting, Vaenga Music?
  • Artur Gromadin [ln] — designer, art director. A long and serious work with graphic design. He has a chair in Mail.ru Group as senior designer/art director and has previously worked at BBDO GROUP as an art director. Is there any evidence that Arthur Gromadin works at Mail.ru Group?
  • Kirill Pyzhyanov [ln] — Investor Relations Officer. Questions and tokenization of ICO, cooperation with the exchanges. 1 year of working in the company ZOOM International software engineer. Currently works at specialist technical support in the company Sonus.
  • Alexander Afanasyev [fb|ln] — HMs CTO. CEO Appgranula. Since 2016 is the manager of Yandex mobile applications. CEO of another company, a manager in Yandex — what’s his deal in HM? Part-time work much? Is there any evidence that Alexander Afanasiev is a manager of mobile applications Yandex?

The online-bookstore Amazon has a story about how Bezos created it. The first people, whom Jeff Bezos hired, were not marketers, but developers. Hardcore, talented developers, as Bezos knew perfectly well that the whole point is in the technical implementation of the smart selection of goods, based on customers interests. Programmers — are the most important part in the implementation of the idea, without them, nothing will work.

There are only two technical specialists at HM — Alexander Afanasyev and Kirill Pyzhyanov — first being CTO, which is not the same as the “talented developer”, and the other is not responsible for programming in this project.

Who will develop mobile applications?

And where are the people who will be directly involved in the implementation of the platform? Will you involve freelancers?

I have a feeling that those individuals were hired just to fill up the team section.

Legal part

ICO is registered in the British jurisdiction — Companies House.

The HM team stated that the security function of the token does not exist, and no one can provide a document confirming this because it is not a priority task to request a legal document for the status of the token.

“To obtain such a document — it must first be sought from the jurisdiction, to begin with. We thought about doing this before the ICO at least in the US, even though other ICOs won’t. But as for now, we have more important things to do”
— Egor Kotkin (Chief Operating Officer)

The fact that the HM team is now omitting the legal part is severely bad — there are no risks on the shoulders of the funders, they can literally take the money and disappear. Of course, in the WP they promise to return the money if the ICO does not collect the minimum capital of $ 2,000,000. But those are just words that aren’t backed by legal guarantees on paper.

Are you sure you want to have business allegations with such a company?


At the moment, the image of the “Special Marketplace” looks just like a naked idea. An interesting one, but without even the simplest prototype. According to the materials provided by the HM team to investors, one can only look at hypotheses and comparisons with other ICO/Marketplaces. In general, there is an emphasis on the token purchase.

It is impossible to give a final assessment of the project without solving the following 4 problems:

1. There is no technical implementation or even machine learning drafts.

2. There is no information on the main programmers (no programmers at all).

3. There is no information on technical advisors.

4. Legally nothing is ready — tokens can become illegal at any time.

I hope the HM team will respond adequately and promptly to all the issues highlighted in this review, and that all my concerns — are banished. Hope is that HM team has a dozen super-cool programmers in their hand reach, CEO has a few good projects, and Legal papers are all legal and have already been verified. Well, we’ll wait for answers.


Nikita Kolmogorov — Thank you for the foundation structure of the review, an example, and editing. As well as the opportunity to participate in the contest to anyone who did not pass the selection of applicants for the position of Auditor ICO.

Danil Badretdinov — Thank you for the detailed opinion, inconvenient for the project team questions and comparative analysis of the Hamster Marketplace with competitors.

Demetrius Marsh — Thank you for correcting the text errors in the English translation of the review.

Chat Avocado Approves — Thanks for the support.

Thanks to all those, who corrected my prejudice and pointed out spelling mistakes.

I would also like to praise the ICO HM organizers because every day they try to allocate an hour of his time to answer questions from investors in their official group Telegram. Well done!

You can donate to the authors through BTC Wallet:

Thank you!

Update from January 6, 2018:

HM’s chief operating officer, Egor Kotkin, promised in the next 2–3 weeks to release a number of publications that will answer some of the issues in this review. We are waiting for a separate document with answers to all issues.

Update from January 12, 2018:

Chief Executive Officer of HM, Denis Bulavin, promised to publish a document with answers to the questions from this review on the evening of January 13.

— Would you be able to provide us with an approximate date for posting the answers?
— Probably, we will have time tomorrow evening.

Update from January 13, 2018:

The HM team postponed publication of the answers until January 15.

— We have a proposal — we can post the publication of the review in Borodutch on Monday, so that it does not go unnoticed on Saturday, and we in turn will show exclusive information that has not been published anywhere else, including our resources)

Update from January 15, 2018:

HM Team has recently published the answers to our “Borodutch Honest Review” (Russian language).

Nikita Kolmogorov has responded with an official review, regarding those answers (Russian language).