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NEVER Forget The Lessons From The Bitconnect & One Coin Scams

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Coin One and Bitconnect Scam

Disclaimer: We are calling Bitconnect and One Coin as scams in this article as a matter of opinion based on how many people lost their life savings.  We are not in a position to determine whether or not these are indeed scams from a legal point of view.

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

There is a scene in the movie ‘V for Vendetta’ in which V says “Remember, remember, the fifth of November”.  

That whole movie’s premise was that people are generally courageous – they just need a way to remember what they have forgotten or grown numb to.

Crypto space is facing such an apathy and numbness to the scammers and shillers that sprout like the filthy fungi they are, everywhere.  

These filthy shitheads steal the money from hard working folk who come to Crypto as an alternative to the injustices of the mainstream, only to find out that the cure is worse than the disease.

For this very reason, remembering the past scams and how they were carried out will serve as a warning sign for the newbies and a friendly nudge for the crypto veterans.  

When we talk about the scams of scale in the crypto space then nothing really comes close in grandiosity and elaborate schematics than One Coin and Bitconnect.

We should forget the scams of the past but not the lessons they left behind.  In that spirit, this entire post is a recap of the two big scams that crypto verse has seen and the lessons that they left behind.  These lessons, if remembered, will serve everyone well.

Bitconnect scam in brief

Bitconnect Scam

Bitconnect’s lure was that investors could buy Bitconnect Coin (BCC) in exchange for their Bitcoin and other crypto (including USD stablecoins) and lock their BCC with the platform to earn a ridiculous amount of interest.  

For instance, they promised 40% per month interest and .25% daily interest on deposits exceeding $10,000.  

Essentially, investors gave up Bitcoin and real money in exchange for BCC in the hope of earning crazy interest.  One of their promises actually meant turning $1000 into $50 Million dollars within 3 years, if their compound interest model was to be believed.  

Another hallmark of this project was the ‘referral’ system where those who bring new investors will stand to gain a handsome 7% referral fees in addition to earning a cut from those referred by their referrals.  A classic pyramid ponzi.

Even with such ridiculous warnings on the wall, investors were blindsided by the FOMO and YouTube shillers they trusted.  

The elaborate scheme came to a screeching halt when the Texas Securities Board and North Carolina Board issued ‘cease and desist’ orders to Bitconnect.

The price of Bitconnect which was coasting at $377 on January 7th, 2018 came crumbling down to $8 by January 28th, 2018.  A fall of 98%.   

This left the investors in a shock.

Since the unfolding of this elaborate scam, the FBI has been investigating the Bitconnect.  They have issued a statement and soliciting information from the victims: “The entire market for BCC crashed in late January 2018, after two U.S. state-level securities regulators issued public letters warning investors of the Ponzi-type nature of Bitconnect. This led to Bitconnect completely shutting down its exchange for BCC, eliminating the market for the cryptocurrency and stranding investors with near-worthless cryptocurrency.”

Bitconnect’s scam had the hallmarks of a classic ponzi scam including:

  • Crazy rate of return without any actual product or service
  • Pyramid referral system
  • Lack of transparency about the core team
  • Lack of reliable backers or advisors on the platform
  • Too many shillers promoting the project for affiliate commissions

NOTE: If you are a victim of the Bitconnect scam, you can help the FBI with their investigation by completing a brief questionnaire.

One Coin scam in brief

One Coin Scam

OneCoin is one THE biggest exit scam in the crypto space costing investors an estimated $4 Billion.  Yet, the signs were not apparent with the OneCoin.  

OneCoin claimed itself to be a cryptocurrency that people could mine and use it as a payment system.  

Their official channel and the video is still available:

Because people were given the option to mine the coins, it was difficult to suspect a foul play.  However, the mining was not a Proof of Work where you use your computer to mine the coins, they used a Proof of Stake model.  

How do you stake if you don’t have the coins?

You cannot.  

Here is where the evil genius was incredible. OneCoin offered various packages with different staking output rates.

For instance, check the rate of staking output in below table:

One coin rate of staking output

Not just that, some packages were listed for insane price:

Coinone Package

Here is Ruja herself selling a package on top of existing packages as a ‘special time sensitive’ deal to the innocent investors.

“The bitch of Wall Street meets MLM”

The true success of OneCoin was clubbing the OneCoin staking model with a pyramid like Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) model. 

Dr. Ruja’s ingenious plan took a moonshot when she involved the who’s who of the MLM industry who were quickly lured into selling OneCoin to their network to tap into the insane gains.  Some of them even made millions in just commissions.

These MLM marketers then bought more OneCoin to qualify for a higher payouts and potential of minting millions when OneCoin hits €100.

She not only convinced the most successful businessmen from the MLM world to work for OneCoin, she even got them by the chops by luring them to invest their own profits back into the OneCoin.

Dr. Ruja referred to herself as ““the bitch of Wall Street, meets MLM”.   And she indeed was.

Evils beyond control of Dr. Ruja

The BBC expose describes that Dr. Ruja never wanted the OneCoin scam to grow as big as it did.  But once it did, she couldn’t stop it because she was not let to.  

BBC article reveals that “People involved at the early stages have told him it was never supposed to be a billion-dollar scam. She tried to close it down, he says, but the dark forces wouldn’t let her.”

At the end, Dr. Ruja’s brainchild helped many shillers, scammers and evil forces to become filthy rich while leaving many innocent investors who were looking to become rich with OneCoin were burnt and left to ashes.

Dr. Ruja’s brother was arrested in the US on money laundering charges.  Dr. Ruja is still at large. 

In summary, here is how OneCoin scam unfolded:

  • Dr. Ruja introduced OneCoin as the ‘bitcoin killer’
  • Investors were required to buy into packages to be able to mine OneCoin
  • Packages ran from €140 to €55000 (and more)
  • Investors inviting others to the platform were paid commissions
  • These commissions were paid in 60% cash and 40% OneCoin
  • Many people re-invested their commissions back into OneCoin in the hope of becoming millionaires
  • Dr. Ruja has been missing since 2017 although her brother was arrested in the US on Money Laundering charges
  • The total scam is estimated to be over $4 Billion although many people believe it might be in the ballpark of over $10 Billion

Lessons learned from One Coin and Bitconnect debacle

Every ponzi-pyramid-scam scheme has a few themes that can help you identify them before losing money or FOMO in.

Here are a few:

crypto Scam Alert

  • Salesmen or confidants?

One determining factor that seems to work almost every time is the gut feeling.   

Are you getting a sense of dealing with an old car salesman or are you feeling like you’re talking to someone who is passionate about what they are doing.  

This key distinction is what your gut is great at picking on.  

Do not ignore it.  

We run away whenever we are dealing with salesy folks, even if the project sounds ok.  Prime example:  

We stayed away from Bidao ICO project because of their salesy ICO structure.  

Don’t ignore your gut feeling, it is right most of the time. 

  • Too good to be true

If it is too good to be true, then it probably is a scam.  

While there are exceptions to this rule when it comes to Bitcoin and seed investment, they take incredible patience and they never promise anything.  Contrast to that, the ponzi-pyramid-scams all promise the sky and beyond.  If it sounds too good to be true – think again before handing your wallet over.

  • Stinks like a ‘get rich quick’ scheme rather than an investment

Retire within 6 months  |  Make a year’s worth salary over a weekend | This is next bitcoin, but better | Plug and play, watch your income multiply without any work | No work or experience needed, we will do it for you, just give us your money.

All of these statements are designed to do one thing and one thing only: separate you from your hard earned money.

  • No actual product or solution

If all you see in a business is a ‘promise’ to pay you exorbitant amounts of returns on your investment but they have no product or service in place, that is a clear indication that they are a ponzi.

Even if you do see a product or service and if that is mediocre at best or looks like it has been mashed up together to lure people – dig more before you part with your money.

  • Lure of Insider information

Crypto gurus are experts at this.  

Their pitch always starts something like “we have just uncovered this massive movement that no one is seeing, and this could turn your $1000 to $1 Million in 6 months” or something in those lines.  

If you read such hyperbole – know that they are out to get you.

  • Tier systems

Tier system: Invest $100 get 5% free, Invest $1000 get 15% free and so on, these are classic tier systems.  They also take shape of ‘invite 5 friends and get this benefit, invite 15 friends and become a VIP, etc.,’ 

Not all tier systems are a scam. Most are.

If the program structure is such that you get a cut from every new ‘victim’ you introduce then it is most probably a scam waiting to happen.

The people who get involved early in this pyramid scam do get money and that is why they honestly believe that they have discovered a gold mine and it is difficult for most of them to believe that they are innocently perpetuating a scam.  

This lure of making boat loads of money pushes them to pimp the project even harder making the inventors of the scam super rich.

  • FOMO offers

FomoInvest in the next 3 hours and get this bonus | Leave everyone behind by investing early |  First 1000 investors will be elite members eligible for special dividends | Difference between investing now and a month later is $150000000000 | and so on.

If the pitch is designed to appeal to your greed and instigates a Fear of Missing Out response, take a deep breath.  Are you about to take a plunge into scam-verse?

  • Glitter, lots of it

One of the hallmarks of an elaborate scam is the grand events and expensive venues.

Why not, it’s not their hard earned money that they are splurging.  

These events usually take place in grandiose settings, blasting music, food and beverages flowing freely and glamor is everywhere.  

People fall for the glamor in the hopes that they too will be living this shiny life themselves one day.  

That lure for glamor is the kiss of death for their hard earned money.   If you see too much glitter – run away before it sticks on you.

  • Lock in your capital, no thanks

One of the giveaways of a scam is the promise to pay you interest and your capital back after a specified term.  

For instance, a company could promise to return your Bitcoin with a 50% interest if you lock in for 6 months or a year or so.  

If they can convince enough people to do the same, they can just return the money from the people who invested after you to make the market believe that they are indeed paying the crazy interest promised and thus creating a FOMO in the unassuming investors.  

Once it scales – they can shut the door without raising the flags since everyone would be waiting for the time to lapse.  

  • Lack of reliable backers/advisors

You will not find people with great reputation involved in the projects.  The people who do lend their name or become part of the team will be the ones with hard to verify history or they appear on the world scene suddenly.  

If you think about it, we did not know who Vitalik Buterin was, however, we saw many reliable crypto industry veterans backed his idea and got involved with the project.

Bitconnect had no intellectual or upright backers. 

In fact, Vitalik called them out as Ponzi at the outset, albeit, his warnings fell on deaf ears.

  • FREE, Free, freeeeeee!

Free CryptoInvest today to get 50% free.  

Invite your friends and we will give 50% of their investment, for free.  

Share our news on YOUR social feed and we will give you XX for free.  

Email your friends about us and for every single email that gets read, you will get $$.  

The list goes on.  

Whenever you see ‘FREE’ offers to invite more people – it probably is a scam that is preying on greed.  

Run away at once.

Common factors in One Coin and Bitconnect scams

There were some striking resemblances between these two scams.  Look at the below summary table:

Warning signs
BitConnect
Comments
OneCoin
Comments
Affiliate commissions for bringing new investors
Yes
People were paid handsomely for bringing new investors onboard
YesPerpetual commissions were promised to 'shillers'
Tiered structure investment plans
YesPlans ranged from Euro 140 to Eur 55,000 or more
Yes
Interest based on investment amount from $1000 to $100000+
Too good to be true offers
YesSold on the hope of OneCoin reaching Euro 100 one day
YesPromise of interest of over 40% per month
Pyramid scheme
YesMLM combined with cryptocurrency
YesMulti-level referral system from commissions of .5% to 7%
Lack of experts and industry professionals
YesNo known experts were onboard
YesNo known experts were onboard

Why should you not trust influencers?

In the cases of Bitconnect and One Coin, the so called media influencers (bloggers, YouTubers, Twitter celebrities, Facebook groups, etc.,) have all been duped into FOMO and they in turn created a FOMO in their followers.  

It is not clear whether or not these influencers were actually aware of the schematics of the elaborate plan to scam people of their money, nevertheless, they have played a BIG role in people losing their hard earned money.

The entire crypto space is less than 10 years old.  It actually got serious followers in the last 5 or so years.  For someone to claim that they are experts in the field is utterly misleading.  

We have always been telling our readers – never trust anyone on the internet, especially shillers. Do your own research and use the information on the internet to gain multiple perspectives.  

Force yourself to search for the negative point of view when you are in the grips of FOMO.

That one strategy of forcing yourself to search for multiple POVs seems to work excellently from our own experience.

Are you FOMOing?  use our FOMO/FUD checker to find out!

Enjoy.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

Stay safe and healthy!

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

best Crypto Tax Software

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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Why this bull run has no precedence? ONE key metric to rule them all

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bull run 2020

Everyone is singing the praises for the bulls’ arrival in the crypto space.

Some say that 2020 will mark the biggest bull run in cryptos’, albeit short, history.  

We are already in October so we doubt any fireworks will take place now since there is a lot of uncertainty about the US elections.

Add the uncertainty around the stimulus bills, unemployment trends, soon to be lifted forbearances and the list goes on.

2020 still has another 2.5 months to go but most of these uncertainties will take a while to show their true impact.

For instance, what will a Biden presidency mean for the economy and cryptos?  

How many people will be forced to sell their homes once the forbearance’s are lifted?

What happens if the next stimulus bill does not pass through?

When will the vaccine become available?

These are some of the unique situations that we have no precedence for. Do not let anyone convince you that we know what’s going to unfold, because no one does.

Yes, everyone has theories, like the ones we are presenting here, but that is all they are: theories.

The BIGGEST metric that crypto community is not considering

We are no economists nor can we run any fancy charts to impress a point on you.  

We are just good observers and have common sense to deduce a few things based on data.  

For instance, between 2007 and 2010 consumer spending dropped by an overall .2% and we know what that meant for the economy.

Personal consumption expenditure

In 2020, people have literally cut down on their spending.  Some of it is forced due to the restrictions imposed by external forces and most of it is self imposed.

I am sure the spending on marijuana, liquor and food have gone up but what about other spending?

2020 also saw a spike in the savings balances.  

Economy is not stimulated by people hoarding their money. People need to exchange value for the economy to thrive.

What happens to the spending behaviors when the true stats around evictions, lost jobs (that are not coming back) and small businesses that are shutting down permanently are out?

Our guess is that people are going to be weary of spending money in the short to medium term. If we were forced to pick a timeline – we would say about 12-16 months (assuming we get a vaccine in Q1 2021).

When is the next bull run? 

Based on what we have seen in 2007 through 2010 and observing the consumer spending habits in recent times, we think that Bitcoin (and cryptos) will not find their true peak until next halving.

We know this is not what you came to hear.  

If the bull run in your mind is hitting the 2017 highs then we do not think you have to wait until the next bull run.

If the bull run means a $100,000 bitcoin then we stand by our opinion on when that is going to be.

A case for bull run

In spite of what is going on in the street, following factors are acting as strong bull market signals for the crypto space. 

Hype: Crypto space (specifically Bitcoin) has been gathering a lot of steam in terms of brand awareness and mass penetration.  This is great for the long game.

Adoption: More than ever, private and public enterprises are becoming serious about bitcoin and underlying blockchain technology.  What is good for bitcoin is good for blockchain and vice-versa.  MicroStrategy investment, Paul Tudor Jones getting involved with bitcoin are some examples.

Tech explosion: Crypto space is home to some of the brilliant minds in the tech space. Add Big Techs interest in the crypto space and you have a perfect recipe for monumental shifts in crypto perception. Tech giants like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Facebook are all getting involved with blockchain and cryptocurrencies in some shape or form.

Retail demand: More and more retail investors are looking for alternative investments and they are waiting on the sidelines to get involved with Bitcoin.  As soon as companies like Fidelity or other brands offer crypto investment through retirement plans – there would be a massive influx into this space.

DeFi: DeFi in its current state might be infested with shittty projects but as a concept and technological shift to turn the current banking system upside down – it holds great potential. Any demand to DeFi brings more demand to bitcoin, ethereum and blockchain in general.

Conclusion

The debate around when is the next bull run will hinge on how the market recovers from this pandemic. How soon will we get the vaccine and how many of the lost small businesses and jobs are we going to resurrect?

From a macro perspective, Bitcoin and few select cryptocurrencies will continue their upward trajectory so if you looked back to 2020 five years from now, you might think bitcoin was on sale.  

Question is: how many people have that kind of patience?

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

Stay safe and healthy!

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

 

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Is Cryptocurrency driven by fundamentals or hype?

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Fundamentals or Hype

During the early 2000s India experienced a massive real estate bubble. With a lot of western companies opening their outsourcing centers in India, the land prices shot up 2x, 5x, 10x, and even 100x.

You read that right. 

Have you heard about 100x in Real Estate?

To be sure, the demand was exponentially growing in the major cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc., which were quickly turning into back offices for the many western companies.

The hype in these cities was somewhat justified.

However, here is the kicker.  Many remote places which did not directly benefit from this influx of foreign direct investment started seeing their prices go up in similar fashion.

In a crazy case of trickle effect and super-hype created by the real estate agents, properties were just trading from one party to another for unbelievable markups and the prices constantly went up.

Today, that massive bubble is still intact minus the crazy multipliers.

The reason we like the comparison of what happened in Indian Real Estate market to the crypto is that a genuine need in a specific space has been exploited to translate that hype onto anything tagged with the name. 

In India that hype tag was ‘land’ and in crypto that hype tag could mean anything from ICOs to DeFi.

Ask any crypto enthusiast they will make you believe that crypto is all about fundamentals.  However, anyone who has spent even a few months in the space quickly realizes that crypto prices don’t follow fundamentals.  

This is one place where Crypto space shares its similarities with the stock market as well.

Stock market is completely distanced from the economy and it too acts irrationally, that is, when people are losing jobs and businesses are shutting down permanently, the stock market rallies higher and higher.

Similarly, crypto space, to its own detriment, is ignoring the projects that have amazing fundamentals while pumping other projects solely based on the hype.

Long term vs. Short term

Hype is short lived. Fundamentals are a long game.

That is why we emphasize that anyone interested in the crypto space does their own research in finding the projects that meet their fundamental criteria.

Once you know that a project has fundamentals (team that can execute, problem worth solving, solution that can solve, market demand, etc.,) then you just ignore the FOMO and FUD.

This will help you sleep better and use your spare time and energy in quality endeavors like taking care of yourself or spending time with family, etc.,

If you get on the hype train – it will be difficult to catch the right wave and this constant lookout for the next big thing is going to rob you of all the peace.

And, if you find yourself on the right side of the wave – you will be decimated and drowned.

DeFi defies all common sense

That is what happened with a lot of people who tried to ‘time’ the DeFi market.  

Don’t get us wrong. Many people made a ton of money (and good for them).  However, remember, crypto at this point of its evolution is a zero sum game.  That means, for everyone who made a million someone lost that million.

Unless you got on a project quite early keeping your risk level low or you have some insider information (not to mention this being illegal), you can generally not ‘time’ the market.

Many veteran traders have lost their shirts in chasing the market.

Conclusion: does this mean I should stay away from DeFi?

We cannot tell you that.  That is something you got to decide for yourself.

By market cap, Yearn Finance is considered one of the top DeFi projects. It lost over 67% in less than a month.   

Personally, if the top most project is still trying to find the ground while other projects are losing 99% of their value in a matter of a day, that means one thing:  the space needs time to mature.

We will continue to learn about DeFi. We will continue to invest what we can afford to lose when we find the right project that meets our fundamentals criteria.

That is our strategy at the moment. You have to find a strategy that suits you.

While crypto space is riding on the hype at the moment, we continue to believe in fundamentals.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

Stay safe and healthy!

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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Will India Ban Cryptocurrency Trading?

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Cryptocurrrency Ban India

India keeps playing with the emotions of the crypto community in India with constant back and forth of change in rules.

First it was a complete ban of crypto transactions. RBI forbids banks from serving any clients that deal in cryptocurrencies. Thanks to the Supreme court decision, RBI had to back off.

Now, there is a renewed effort to place a ban on crypto again.  

Is Crypto Ban a good thing for India’s financial future?

No, Cryptocurrency is here to stay according to many financial investors and billionaires. As nations prepare for a hyper-inflation cycle to sweep the world, Cryptocurrency can act as a hedge in addition to gold and silver.

If the government is concerned about illegal activities with cryptos then they can relax because most crimes happen in fiat cash transactions, not crypto which is traceable.

Crypto traders generally are not the ones that take part in illicit trades.  It is those who introduce illegal ICOs and OTC trades.

How about regulations?

Instead of banning crypto trades, how about bringing clear regulations to provide a framework for the crypto trading.

Such a framework should include stricter guidelines for ICOs and OTC trades.  

Crypto exchanges can relay the trading information directly to the tax authorities (instead of needing to be subpoenaed) so that there is transparency.

Will India Ban Cryptocurrency Trading?

That depends on whether India wants to be in the ranks of the United States, Switzerland, South Korea, etc., or if it wants to be counted among China, Russia and North Korea.

The United States, South Korea and Switzerland (along with other countries) are doing everything to stay ahead in the blockchain and crypto race.

Other countries we stated above are working to stomp on the innovation. 

A better question is: Can India ban cryptocurrency trading?  

The answer is NO.  

To ban cryptocurrency trading – India will have to shut down the internet.  

In the event of an actual law that bans Indians from participating in the cryptocurrency trading, the only people that will be impacted by those are the ‘honest’ citizens because the crooked ones will still find ways to trade using VPN or alias names.

For a country that wants to be at the forefront of technological revolution a ban would be a very backward decision.

We urge the Indian government to NOT punish the honest citizens by introducing a ban.  Rather, introduce a sensible legal framework for everyone to operate in.

This will bring more businesses to India and take India’s platforms to the world.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

Stay safe and healthy!

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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