Report of a Scam/Copycat Project Receiving Seed Grant - Negligent Due Diligence Process & Use of Foundation Funds

Hello Starknet Community,

I am Winnal Kuo, founder and CEO of Ender Labs, creators of the Ender Protocol. Please visit our Twitter and website to learn more about our work.

Today, I must bring to light a serious issue concerning a project by the name of Primis Protocol, a recent recipient of the Starknet Seed Grant Program—that has engaged in the unauthorized use of our copyrighted material, including IP and licensed code. Despite repeated attempts to engage with the Seed Grant Program’s administration, referred to us by CEO Eli Ben-Sasson, we have faced consistent neglect and non-responsiveness.

Key Issues

  1. Unauthorized Use of IP and Licensed Code:

    • Primis Protocol has been using our copyrighted material and licensed code without our consent. This constitutes a severe infringement of our intellectual property rights and poses significant security risks to public users who might interact with their platform.
  2. Fraudulent Claims and Metrics:

    • The project has deployed a non-functional testnet application using boilerplate templates and static, hard-coded values. They have been using these metrics to conduct a fraudulent token airdrop aimed at enriching themselves.
  3. Misrepresentation of Team Credentials:

    • The founder of Primis Protocol, Khoubaieb Blili, has claimed past affiliations with Meta, Blockfi, and Solana Labs, without evidence or references. Additionally, he falsely claimed to have worked at Ender Labs for two months. Our investigation, backed by substantial evidence, disproves these claims. His social media presence as a rapper and musician during the same timeframe casts further doubt on his supposed technical engagements.

Evidence and Attempts to Resolve

  • We have detailed video recordings and documentation of the IP and code theft.
  • Despite numerous attempts to engage with the Seed Grant Program and its representatives, our concerns have been consistently ignored.

What’s at Stake?

The unauthorized use of our code not only infringes on our intellectual property rights but poses a significant security risk to users. Primis Protocol has misrepresented itself through social media and testnet applications, displaying falsified metrics and functionality to attract unwarranted attention and potential investment. Their actions suggest a pattern of deceit, aimed at enriching themselves through fraudulent airdrops and promotions.

The Issue with Due Diligence

Alarmingly, Primis Protocol received a Seed Grant of up to $25,000 with apparently no thorough vetting of its team or founders. The founder, Khoubaieb Blili, has falsely claimed past affiliations with Meta, Blockfi, and Solana Labs—a claim we have found to be entirely unsubstantiated. Mr. Blili previously applied for a position at Ender Labs, and after we identified several red flags, we chose not to proceed. Regrettably, he then exploited this interaction to misappropriate our work and initiate a competing, illegitimate project.

Further Concerns About Integrity

Mr. Blili’s professional background raises significant concerns. He claims to have been associated with well-known entities such as Meta, Blockfi, and Solana Labs. However, we have not found any references or concrete evidence to substantiate these claims. This lack of verification, combined with his verified false claim of employment at Ender Labs—where he reported working for two months, which is unequivocally untrue—casts serious doubts on the validity of his entire professional narrative. During the period he alleges to have been employed at these companies, his social media profiles prominently feature his activities as a rapper and musician, which contradicts the likelihood of simultaneous full-time employment at these companies.

Technical Inadequacies of Primis Protocol’s Testnet

The concerns extend beyond just qualifications; they manifest starkly in the output of their projects. Primis Protocol has deployed a testnet application that is ostensibly non-functional. The application uses boilerplate templates and static, hard-coded values that simulate functionality which in actuality does not exist. This completely fake application lacks critical features that would be present in a genuinely developed protocol, such as the capability to claim rewards from bonds or stake these rewards. Since we are the real and original developers of the project and application, we can pinpoint exact and core functionalities that are completely missing, and they are just faking it by showing an incomplete product in hopes that nobody notices.

Negligent Due Diligence Process & Use of Foundation Funds

A critical aspect of this situation that must be underscored is the apparent negligence by the foundation overseeing the Seed Grant Program. The fact that Primis Protocol was able to secure up to $25,000 without adequate background checks on the team or the viability of their project is alarming. This lapse has not only enabled the misappropriation and misuse of intellectual property but also represents a serious mismanagement of foundation funds, which should be allocated to foster genuine innovation and development in the blockchain space.

The foundation’s subsequent non-responsiveness to our repeated attempts to address these issues further exacerbates our concerns, suggesting a dismissive approach to accountability. This lack of engagement and oversight raises profound questions about the foundation’s commitment to upholding the standards and values expected within the Starknet community. It is imperative that the foundation re-evaluates its due diligence processes to prevent similar occurrences in the future and to restore trust among developers and investors who rely on its governance and integrity.

Call to Action

  1. Immediate Investigation:

    • We urge the foundation to conduct a thorough investigation into Primis Protocol’s activities, their unauthorized use of Ender Labs’ IP, and Mr. Blili’s background.
  2. Revocation of Seed Grant:

    • Given the fraudulent foundation of their project, we request that the Seed Grant awarded to Primis Protocol be revoked.
  3. Public Accountability:

    • We call upon the foundation to address this issue publicly, ensuring transparency and accountability within the community.
  4. Review and Improve Due Diligence Processes:

    • We strongly recommend that the foundation review and improve its due diligence processes to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

This behavior is not only unethical but also detrimental to the integrity and safety of the blockchain community. We have gathered substantial evidence, including video recordings and detailed documentation of the infringed works, and are prepared to pursue all necessary legal avenues to address this infringement.

We urge the community and the administrators of the Seed Grant Program to take immediate action against such fraudulent practices to prevent any further harm to unsuspecting users and investors. We are ready to provide all necessary evidence to support our claims and assist in any investigations.

Commitment to Legal Action

Ender Labs is prepared to pursue legal action against Mr. Khoubaieb Blili and Primis Protocol for their unauthorized use of our intellectual property, misrepresentation, and fraud.

We hope that the foundation will take immediate action to address these serious concerns and uphold the integrity of our community.

Thank you for your attention to this critical matter. We are ready to provide all necessary evidence and cooperate fully to resolve this issue. We stand ready to defend our work and ensure the blockchain ecosystem remains a safe and honest environment for all.

Winnal Kuo
CEO, Ender Labs

We appreciate you raising your concerns. We take our grants programs seriously, and stand behind our decisions in offering seed grants to selected projects under the program. We cannot comment on your claims above - this is a private matter that does not involve the Starknet Foundation.

However should you wish to discuss an application for our grant programme, we would be happy to discuss with you separately.