What is Vaporware?

Vaporware, also known as vapourware or vapor software, is a term used to describe a project or product that has been advertised but never released. In the blockchain world, vaporware often refers to initial coin offerings (ICOs) which are announced with promises of delivering revolutionary products and services that ultimately fail to materialize. The key difference between vaporware and scams is that vaporware generally involves honest intentions by the promoters, who usually lack the technical skills needed to carry out their plans. As such, they can be seen as unfulfilled promises rather than malicious intent. Vaporware can have serious implications for investors who may invest large sums of money in these projects before realizing that they don’t exist. To avoid becoming a victim of vaporware, potential investors should do their due diligence and research the project thoroughly before investing. This involves evaluating the team behind the project and assessing the feasibility of its goals. If there is not enough information or evidence that a project will be successful, it’s probably best to avoid investing in it.

Ultimately, vaporware can lead to financial losses and should be avoided. By researching projects thoroughly before investing, potential investors can help protect themselves from such outcomes. Investing in blockchain projects is risky, but with careful research it’s still possible to find valid opportunities that offer good returns on investments. With the right approach, one can benefit from these innovative technologies without having to worry about falling victim to vaporware.

Simplified Example

Vaporware is like a toy that you see advertised but never gets made. Just like you might see a toy advertised on TV or in a magazine and get excited to buy it, but when you go to the store it's not there because it never got produced, vaporware is a product or service that is advertised but never gets made or delivered to the customers, it's just a concept or a promise.

Who Invented Vaporware?

The term "vaporware" originated in 1982 within the context of Microsoft's Xenix operating system, with its earliest known appearance in print in the May 1983 issue of Sinclair User magazine. Coined by a Microsoft engineer, the term gained popularity among industry writers as a descriptor for products perceived to have prolonged release timelines. Its prominence was further elevated when InfoWorld magazine editor Stewart Alsop humorously bestowed Bill Gates with a Golden Vaporware award in 1985 for the delayed release of the first version of Windows. The term was first reported in 1982 when Microsoft engineers John Ulett and Mark Ursino confirmed to Ann Winblad, president of Open Systems Accounting Software, that development of Xenix had ceased, characterizing it as "vaporware". This term conveys the notion of selling a product that might not receive continued support, akin to "selling smoke."


Duke Nukem Forever: Duke Nukem Forever was a first-person shooter video game that was first announced in 1997. Despite numerous promises from the developers, the game was repeatedly delayed and remained in development for over a decade. When the game was finally released in 2011, it received mixed reviews and was widely criticized for its outdated graphics and gameplay.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play: The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play was a mobile phone that was first announced in 2010 and was touted as the world's first "PlayStation Phone." Despite numerous promises and demonstrations, the phone was repeatedly delayed and never reached the market.

Microsoft Courier: Microsoft Courier was a dual-screen tablet computer that was first rumored to be in development in 2009. Despite numerous leaks and rumors, the device was never officially announced or released by Microsoft. The company has since shifted its focus to other tablet devices such as the Surface.

  • Initial Coin Offerings (ICO): A form of crowdfunding that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

  • Scam: Any fraudulent or deceptive activity that is aimed at exploiting individuals, businesses or organizations for financial gain.