In what seems to be a fascinating world-first for the crypto space – a new treasure-backed ICO might be on the cards.

Shinil Group, a Korean company claiming it has discovered $133bn (150 trillion Won) worth of gold in the wreckage of a 113 year-old Russian cruiser, has said it is launching an ICO.

Hitting news all over the world last week, the Seoul-based treasure-hunting company released submarine footage of what it believes to be the Dmitrii Donskoi – a Russian ship that disappeared in 1905 off the Korean island of Ulleung during the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-5.

Estimating that the ship may have contained 200 tons of gold, Shinil Group originally said that half the gold would be returned to Russia and have now said that they are launching their own cryptocurrency to be called “Shinil Gold Coin.”

Although no details or plans for the coin have been released, the treasure aboard the ship will act as collateral and reportedly one Shinil Gold Coin will be worth 10,000 Won ($8.90) – with the ICO sale set to commence on July 30th.

Scepticism about Claims

Shinil Group’s claims however, have been strongly contested.

Significantly, the government-run Korea Institute of Ocean and Science Technology (KIOST) have challenged the company’s claims to have found the Dmitrii Donskoi – telling South Korean Media that the institute itself found the wreckage in 2003, while Russian academics have thought it unlikely that Russia would have stored so much gold in one vessel. 

With a South-Korean construction company also claiming to have previously found the ship and similar decades-old claims used by companies to artificially inflate their stock prices – it is understandable why sceptics abound.

With as yet no whitepaper nor an explanation of how the new coin will be used – shrewd ICO investors for now will likely wait for further confirmation of the claims as this intriguing story develops.