Update: The sardines are, in fact, real. A journalist at Coindesk tracked My Sardines down at CES 2020 and examined the product. And, suprisingly, they were juicy, fleshy sardines. Who would have thought?

It may be only January but, apparently, it’s time for April Fools already. That’s according to one strange email that bounced around the inboxes of various crypto journalists yesterday. While it may have flummoxed one hack, the ingenuity and dedication that was put into the ruse deserves a little appreciation.

The realistic-enough press release, sent by a “Teena Touch” helpfully gave us a heads up that, at CES 2020, there was to be an important announcement. “My Sardines, a leading Luxembourg start-up focused on stable coins on the blockchain, today announced their public ICO of SARD2020 to take place today at 3pm during the CES conference in Las Vegas at the Luxfactory (Luxembourg National Booth) at Eureka Park,” she wrote, with surprising detail.

The rest of the release provided a bunch of details, ranging from the ability to redeem the cryptocurrency for a 2020 vintage can of sardines—if you excuse the oxymoron—to the proper storage environment of said sardines (safe storage is actually quite important in the crypto world).

But, would you believe it, the madness didn’t end there. My Sardines has, not just its own website, but an entire whitepaper dedicated to the bizarre concept. And if you look closely, you might notice that its ICO (a legacy form of funding in the crypto world) ends on April 1. As though it wasn’t clear enough the project is a joke. But to offset the stress of an impending World War 3—which appears to have diffused now—we went through the resources and found some highlights. Cheer up as this fishy mystery continues to baffle crypto journalists around the globe.

A fishful of coins

The overall gist of the supposed-Luxembourg startup’s whitepaper is relatively clear. The company plans to issue an Ethereum-based, ERC-20 stablecoin that is pegged to a physical commodity. In this case, “2020 vintage cans of sardines.”

The resulting token will be dubbed SardinesCoin—obviously—with a price ticker of SARD2020, celebrating this wondrous year. The price of each coin will always be exactly one can of sardines, making it a stablecoin, like the US-dollar backed stablecoin Tether. But with a fishy tang.

The company also promises the total number of SARD in circulation will always be equal to the amount of cans stored, and token holders will be able to exchange their coins for sardines at any point in time. Which is actually more than you can say for Tether, which hasn’t always let you redeem your US-dollar coins for actual US dollars.

For that reason, it is promised that an external firm will perform an audit of the stock twice a year. Again, something that Tether promised, but never delivered upon. At this rate, we’ll be seeing 74%-backed sardines before we know it.

Canned sardines will also be “insured at the ICO value for the 10 years of the duration.” Which seems pretty bold.

Not your keys, not your sardines

Interestingly enough, the startup has nothing to do with sardines currently, judging by the whitepaper. One might think that such an ICO is most appropriate for a company that is already involved in some part of the fishing industry, yet My Sardines explicitly states that it will use the funds raised during the initial coin offering to buy the respective number of cans on free markets.

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Why sardines then? The whitepaper explains:

“Vintage canned sardines are easy to store, they can last more than 15 years for consumption and at least for hundreds of years as a collectable, in general they don’t lose value, they actually take value over time, like good wine, preserve value from inflation and in complicated times they tend to increase in value even more.

“Moreover, the production of vintages SardinesCoins is limited every year which gives them more value. And what’s more valuable than nutritive (sic) food full of omega3?”

It’s hard to argue that one.