You may have seen, in almost every crypto news outlet, the announcement of Polium One: a multi-chain Web3 gaming console. Cointelegraph’s piece is the one doing the rounds and the below tweet has seen some real traction. So, why do I think the announcement has been disastrous so far? It is a sea of red flags.
— Polium (@Polium__) July 2, 2022
I will caveat this article by saying I’m not suggesting Polium is a rug pull, but rather their announcement and initial step into the public eye has been filled with the red flags I associate with untrustworthy projects. Here is a list of concerns so far:
- Twitter link to their website is dead/incorrect
- There is no information about the company behind the project. There is also no information about the people behind the project; no names, not even pseudonyms
- There are no listed partnerships with companies or the chains they purport to support with the console. Those chains are: ImmutableX, Solana, Ethereum, Polygon, BNB, EOS, WAX, and Harmony
- There are no listed investors or backers
- At the time of announcement, there isn’t even a working prototype visible, just a 3D render you could pay someone on Fiverr to create
- There is no spec, just a vague promise of a “high performance console” with 4K and “up to 120 fps” (every number from 1 to 120 is up to 120)
- No games are currently partnered despite the graphic on their website showing several on a UI mock-up; Polium is “in talks with multiple game developers” and will list the games in the launch library in Discord, which currently has nothing in the channel
- The Discord is a disaster. Everyone can use the @everyone and @here commands and many are using it to post sexually explicit material and racism. There is no control or server management at the time of writing this. This is something I wouldn’t expect to see in a project as high-stakes as the development of a console
- The console is allegedly “safe to use” because it will have a fingerprint scanner, which misses the point that most scams would be just as effective whether you had to scan your finger before signing a transaction or not.
- All dates are vague, even the “functional prototype” will be “in a few months”; the time that was written is unknown
- The first port of call for Polium is to sell a Polium Pass which claims a console if and when they go on sale, frontloading money for a project with almost no information. This is in the Polium Discord FAQ: “Yes, you can claim your free console if you still hold a Polium Pass once the console is released. You will have to pay for shipping. We will announce the shipping information close to the console’s release date. ” Liberal use of the word “free”
- They don’t have a whitelist, they have an allowlist, which might be the strangest and potentially smallest red flag I’ve ever seen
- Mint day, mint price, and maximum mints per wallet for the Polium Pass are all “TBT”. Not TBC, “TBT”. I have no idea what the second T stands for and Google couldn’t answer it. Please tag me if you know the answer
- To the question they asked themselves in the Discord FAQ, “Will there be more consoles in the future?” they answered, “Yes, in 2025, our goal is to manufacture and sell over 1 million consoles.” This doesn’t answer the implied question and is the most ridiculous answer to it I could imagine — void of useful information
- The whitepaper is self-described as “non-technical” and so absent of useful information on the console
- The only information on the console’s built-in wallet is a flowchart that tells you nothing
- Polium’s anticipated problems for the console are Ethereum gas fees and Solana’s outages, nothing in their own hands
- A project as elaborate and ambitious as a gaming console is going to require some serious cash, even if they only plan on making 10,000 to begin with (perhaps especially if they’re only making so few.) There is no indication of where the money is coming from
- Finally, there is no indication of any experience in blockchain gaming, console development, or really any industry as the people and company behind Polium are anonymous
I will reiterate this point first: I do not know if this project is a rug pull. When I saw Cointelegraph’s article about a Web3 console, I enthusiastically clicked the link and then went about my usual checks for Web3 projects, only to be met by almost every red flag I’ve ever listed. If this project is legitimate — and I hope it is — they need to hire people to present it in a far better light than this.
Without knowing anyone behind Polium and their relevant experience, any investors (if they have any), or any concrete details other than they plan to sell 10,000 NFTs in the near future, I’m unsure how anyone can get behind the project.
I hope they prove me wrong and in 2024 I’m sitting here playing on my Polium One between bites of humble pie — really I do — but that announcement and the available information has me on red alert.