Bitcoin developer Udi Wertheimer has taken a swipe at CNBC Crypto Trader and its host Ran Neuner for unwittingly promoting an ICO which is claiming the impossible on the September 17 episode of the show.
Wertheimer claimed that one of the featured crypto businesses in the episode, an Israeli startup called Dotplay is marketing fake technology and looking to use the nonexistent tech as a pretext to raise a large amount of money in a fraudulent ICO.
Dotplay’s Claims and CNBC Feature
Dotplay is an Israeli startup that claims to possess a file compression technology that can compress a two-minute video to a mere 472 bytes. Featured in the latest episode of CNBC Crypto Trader, Dotplay founder and CEO Shai Shitrit claims to be able to compress a 2-minute movie trailer into a data file so small, even a small text file is bigger.
Neuner also promoted the claim in a post on his Twitter account:
This week. See a compression technology that will make you believe Pied piper is real!See the new @SIRINLABS cell phone with a built in hard wallet and meet @orbs_network - the biggest project in Israel.
In a detailed twitter thread Wertheimer appears to have comprehensively debunked Dotplay’s claims, referring to the Israeli startup as “a group of blockchain-based liars, raising $50m in an ICO”. Describing Dotplay’s extreme compression claim as “impossible”, he used the case study of a 140-character tweet converted into a compressed video file to illustrate why the claim is fundamentally unworkable from a mathematical point of view. In his view, Dotplay’s attempt at an ICO scam is very easy to detect and take apart, even without having much of a technical background in mathematics.
In his example, if a video is made of each character in a 140-character tweet showing just one character at a time for one second, the resulting video would be 140 seconds long, or 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Noting that Dotplay’s allegedly compressed video was 2:23 minutes, Wertheimer then explains that it is mathematically impossible to compress such a video into 472 bytes without reusing an already existing byte combination.
In essence, if Dotplay’s purported compression technology actually existed, it would distort any video into a mathematical conundrum, as there are simply not enough 472-byte permutations to cover all unique frames in a video file. Even worse he said, the video used for the demonstration was not a video of a 140-character tweet, but the movie trailer for The Incredibles 2, which only further underlines how fraudulent and impossible Dotplay’s compression claims are.
Concluding the thread he said:
So far the scam has nothing to do with blockchains, but... they also claim to use a blockchain for DRM (digital rights management). Which is ridiculous, but this thread is already too long. The scammers' website is dotplay(dot)co, and there's no info there. They're looking to raise $50 million USD in a token sale.
A visit to the Dotplay website appears to corroborate Wertheimer’s claim, with the homepage simply showing a “coming soon” banner. A number of reactions to the tweet thread and the CNBC Crypto Trader video have suggested that Dotplay may in fact be marketing a file shortcut system with an unclear segue into blockchain technology as a “file compression” system, while it is in fact nothing of the sort.
At press time, Neuner was yet to respond to Wertheimer’s thread. However, Cointelligence reportedly spoke to Neuner, where he stated that:
My role as a journalist is not to do tech due diligence but to ask the company questions, and let the viewers make a call and direct them to a place where they can read more.
On Yavin, CEO of Cointelligence, has publicly scrutinized his response stating:
How can anyone just allow the team of an ICO to make outrageous claims and not question or challenge them? Do you not care about investors’ well-being, or about the future of the crypto economy? At the very least, one would expect a journalist like Ran NeuNer to care about his own reputation, and that of CNBC Africa. A news show can lose the trust of its viewers by appearing to tacitly endorse such an ICO scam by featuring it on their show without questioning the legitimacy of their impossible claims.