With each company trying to stand apart from the pack, many in the blockchain industry have turned to unique marketing techniques. There are countless ICOs taking place on a daily basis, with each vying for investors’ attention. Rather than taking money from investors, what better way to pique their interest than giving them money in return?
Unfortunately one of these publicity stunts has just taken a turn for the worse. With an upcoming ICO, the Ukrainian company ASKfm decided that they wanted to do something unique. They decided to hire a team of Sherpas to transport a hardware wallet, preloaded with $50,000 worth of their token to the peak of Mt. Everest. The tokens were free to take by the first individual brave enough to retrieve them. In the process of this endeavour, Lam Babu, a 45yr Sherpa well versed with the mountain has died. It is believed that he had succumb to exhaustion on the descent from the mountain. To date, at least 300 people are known to have died trying to conquer Mt. Everest. The last year with no recorded deaths was 1977. The mountain is treacherous to say the least.
Other companies, such as Decred (DCR), have released multiple puzzles in an effort to promote their coin. At the end of these puzzles lays a sum of DCR waiting for retrieval. DCR in particular has gotten quite creative with their puzzles. For example, they have released a .GIF, with .zip files imbedded within. These .zip files then contain folders with seed password. To unlock the folders one must complete tasks like convert forms of data to binary code, etc. These challenges require someone to think outside of the box, have decent detective skills, and be technologically adept. A walkthrough of a few of the challenges created be DCR can be found in the links below.
Video game companies have tried to capitalize on the blockchain craze by incorporating BTC prizes upon completion of their game. Most recently, the game MonteCrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma, was launched on steam. The game offered a 1 BTC prize to the first person to complete the game after purchase.
We have even seen groups and individuals not affiliated with any particular company promote the blockchain through art. Just a few months ago, a famous painting released in 2015 with 5 BTC encoded into it was solved. It took 3 full years and a number of very intelligent people to finally solve the piece of art. The image titled ‘The Legend of Nakamoto’, was created by @coin_artist and is shown above.
The point of this is that we are likely to see even more outlandish, unique, and intriguing processes for creating awareness of the blockchain industry. The most recent events that have taken place on Mt. Everest are sad and unfortunate. A mountain that claims the lives of many every year, should never have been used as a publicity stunt. As shown by the other examples here, there are plenty of ways to raise awareness for your company without involving such dangerous tactics. Do not expect this to slow companies down however – ASKfm will probably now receive more attention than ever before.