White paper writers are earning up to $50,000 per job, according to a Decrypt investigation published on April 22— but the freelancers involved have accused some startups of misleading investors.
The writers told the website as part of its two-week investigation that completing a paper can take up to eight months and cost between $1,000 and $50,000, with most of the work found via platforms such as LinkedIn and Upwork. Many of those interviewed alleged they were “constantly required to fabricate and exaggerate facts.”
Adefemi Yusuff Adegoke, one white paper writer, noted that some startup figures amount to fraud — with miscellaneous budgets actually going into the pockets of top executives. He added:
“A project that can be executed with $180,000 funding budget can be padded up to $450,000. And they won’t report the total amount realized during ICO.”
Volodymyr Malyshkin, a Ukrainian white paper provider, revealed he had been asked to include fake numbers in documents. He also claimed many businesses had little understanding of what blockchain involves, and simply want to include the buzzword in order to attract investment. In some cases, Malyshkin said writers faced the task of inventing entire business models for their clients.
An anonymous white paper writer in the United States added that copyright infringement is rife in the industry, with startup executives ordering writers to include details of patented technology belonging to rival companies.
On the other hand, most of those interviewed reported a recent uptick in demand for white paper writing, suggesting the crypto slump is nearing its end, Decrypt notes.
Accusations of white paper fraud are nothing new in the industry. Last October, Ethereum network developer Joey Zhou alleged that the white paper for petro, Venezuela’s state-owned cryptocurrency, was a “blatant Dash clone.”
And in January, Simon Morris, former chief strategy at BitTorrent, reportedly left the company after confronting Tron CEO Justin Sun about alleged plagiarism in the platform’s code and white paper. BreakerMag reported that Sun said: “We have come to consensus that this did not happen. And we have moved on.”