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The Alieno Unum is purported to be a 5,221-horsepower EV funded by its own crypto. We tried to get to the bottom of this $2.7 million hypercar.

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The first Rimac Nevera was delivered to a customer last month, marking a historic moment in electric vehicles. The Croatian hypercar takes the crown as the most powerful (1,813 horsepower) and fastest (258 miles per hour) production car in the world. A Tesla
TSLA,
-2.51%

Model S Plaid seems lame in comparison.

But right behind the Nevera is something even more sinister: the Alieno Unum, a 5,221-horsepower monster capable of topping out at 363 mph.

The car seems almost too good to be true. And that just might be the case.

Unum is the second hypercar designed by Alieno, a virtually unknown Bulgarian company. In 2018, 3D renderings of its first model — Alieno Arcanum — were unveiled, but the car still hasn’t seen the light of day. The Tuhovishta-based company near the Greek border mentioned it was “laying foundations” for its factory that same year, but nothing has been built yet. That’s a red flag.

At the moment, Alieno has no concept car or a real-world model. Instead, it has 3D renderings, which look as if they were taken from a racing game.

As for details, vital car-design elements, such as A-pillars, are missing, and the project also suffers from seemingly random spec designations. For example, there is something called an “Octopus Synergistic System,” which facilitates “The Rocket Successor” (TRS) power output variant based on cold-air thrusters mounted on grills. In addition to the TRS, Alieno Unum has a THF (“The Heavenly Founder”) power output variant, which is “driven by, controlled by electricity.”

In case the Unum ever falls into deep water, the TRS system promises the car will remain buoyant by using compressed air to keep the cabin pressurized. That’s some James Bond stuff right there.

Alieno Unum has not one, not two or even four, but rather, 24 electric motors — six on each wheel powered by a battery as large as 180 kilowatt hours (kWh), allegedly capable of up to 633 miles of range.

In an interview with Australian magazine Drive in 2021, Ahmed Merchev, the founder of Alieno, insisted that the company was on track to deliver cars in early 2022.

“We have overcome all technical difficulties and are already accepting preorders,” Merchev told Drive earlier this year.

Fast forward to July 2022, and the dates moved to “no earlier than 2024-2027.”

Merchev is still adamant that things are going according to plan, and he invites investors to put in $911 and claim a 0.001% stake in Alieno. The total he’s looking for is $9.1 million, which would amount to a 10% stake in the company.

To make investing even easier, the company has started its own ALIENO token. According to its website, “ALIENO token is a cryptocurrency and a multichain token, integrated into the ecosystem of ALIENO — developer and manufacturer of the ALIENO electric hypercars.”

The token’s whitepaper claims that, “[i]nitially, 1 billion ALIENO tokens were issued … given the expectations that ALIENO will become a company unicorn with a valuation of over $1 billion, but only the necessary amount of ALIENO tokens will be put into circulation periodically to support the activities of ALIENO.”

I’ve sent the whitepaper for evaluation to Juan Villaverde, a senior crypto analyst at Weiss Ratings.

He found numerous issues with what he calls “a very generic light paper,” but for the sake of brevity, here are the most glaring ones:

“The fact that it’s only listed on a DEX (decentralized exchange) is a red flag because you don’t need permission to list on a DEX,” Villaverde says.

Then there’s the issue of price. In the whitepaper — if it can be called that — the gradual price increases are mentioned, which is probably against the law — you can’t guarantee returns. It’s also illogical because the company basically says it’ll be selling tokens at $1 until they are sold put, though prices will “gradually increase.” That makes no sense.

The paper also claims that “[t]rade with the ALIENO token, as well as all other activities related to it, are carried out by and at the expense of EDNORO Ltd., a company from the ecosystem of ALIENO.”

Again, an illogical statement. If it’s a token and it trades only on DEXs, then there’s no company involved in trading or settlement. This sentence appears to be thrown in there to give it an air of legitimacy, but in doing so exposes the whole thing as something else.

Another oddity: “With certificate number BB-39 from 10.12.2021, EDNORO Ltd. is entered by the central office of the NATIONAL REVENUE AGENCY (NRA) of Bulgaria, in the Public Register of the legal entities, which by occupation provide services for exchange between virtual currencies and recognized currencies without gold plating, and of the providers of wallets, which offer custody services.”

Again, a weird claim. This company apparently offers custody. Custody of what? The token is on the blockchain, therefore there is no need for custody. This isn’t how crypto assets work. And you don’t need a company to provide either custody or wallet services.

To sum it up, we have an unknown company with a yet non-existent factory and two non-existent cars with seemingly no real funding. We also have some PC-game-quality car renderings and a questionable crypto token that does not exactly instill confidence.

To the more optimistic out there, despite all the red flags, it may seem that Alieno is simply amassing capital to release what could be one of the most amazing hypercars of this century. To others, including myself, the entire project may seem like a kickstarter-type campaign by founder Merchev, with many issues to be resolved before we can see anything real coming out of it. The term vaporware comes to mind.

I have reached out to Alieno, asking the company to address the pressing production and funding issues outlined in this article, and received no feedback after more than a week.

If you still believe the Alieno Unum is a viable project and you want to be a proud owner one day, here is how much this privilege might cost you: 2.7 million euros ($2.7 million) for the RP5 version with 5,221 horsepower and as much as 4.5 million euros a version of the TRS designation.

What’s your take on Alieno Unum? Let me know in the comments section below.

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