Fool Me Once … Top 5 Bitcoin-Related Scams for 2015
Cointelegraph is always keen to bring to readers’ attention anything suspicious in crypto-industry. We’ve been surprised by the sheer audacity of some rogue players still playing a major role in today’s market
Cointelegraph is always keen to bring to readers’ attention anything suspicious in crypto-industry and beyond.
We’ve been surprised by the sheer audacity of some rogue players still playing a major role in today’s market, so read on for our pick of the very worst.
Don’t forget to leave your opinion beneath the article – debate helps pressure bad actors into explaining their actions and showing their true colors.
Cointelegraph previously ran an expose about OneCoin, the global ponzi scheme seemingly able to fool everyone from the Economist to the hoards of trolls who took to our comments section following publication of the article.
Far from dying out, OneCoin continues to spread, despite the comprehensive list of discrepancies – some of which are even shocking in their carelessness – which are freely available for discovery in its own marketing material.
Stunts such as calling a paid advertisement in Forbes Bulgaria as a genuine interview and mismatching information about the founders and their qualifications are complimented by bizarre charity spin-off websites and some of the most incomprehensible English usage imaginable.
Add to that repeated claims of partnerships in which the “partners” deny any knowledge of OneCoin, and a user agreement seemingly copied from dating websites, and it becomes clear that legitimacy is not on the operation’s list of priorities.
Rather than throwing up your hands in horror, Cointelegraph recommends that readers join the debate in our expose’s comments section to see professional trolling in action and examine a constant reminder that fraudsters know no boundaries.
MMM Global describes itself as a “mutual-aid program” consisting of a “community” in which donations are exchanged on a P2P basis.
MMM’s website, mmmglobal.biz, contains reams of information describing how the scheme functions, none of which appears to make verifiable logical sense. (It is, however, mercifully written in better English than that of its likely inspiration, OneCoin.)
The website states that MMM makes use of an internal “conventional currency unit” called the “mavro” to facilitate P2P funds transfer. The mavro, which is named after its founder Sergei Mavrodi, is said to “profoundly differ” from cryptocurrency as the latter is a “speculative tool.”
“[...] It’s much easier to participate in the Community than to deal with crypto-currencies. You won’t need any stock knowledge to open a bid, to pay fees to stockbrokers, etc. Everything is as simple as possible: enter the personal office (PO), indicate what amount you’d like to grant or accept as a gift. Both a recipient and a sender of help are chosen automatically, you transfer and get funds – and that’s it!”
MMM takes pains to point out that it is not a business. Explanations vary from matter-of-fact on its website:
“MMM isn’t a company, organization or any kind of business. Being not as such, MMM Community doesn’t, accordingly: possess a personal account, render any services and enter into legal relations with anybody.”
...to bizarrely agitated on its social media pages:
“WE cannot SCAM, because we are :
NOT a BUSINESS ...
NOT a COMPANY.....
NOT a HYIP...
We are an INTERNATIONAL social-financial COMMUNITY based on both ONLINE and OFFLINE connection worldwide. We HELP each other to reach a BETTER financial condition. TODAY you HELP, IN 30-DAYS you will be allowed to GET HELP with 30% ADDITION from your amount of HELP...
Our membership is FREE for everyone in”
Nonetheless, MMM gives us all a reason to trust, even addressing the taboo issue of “Could I lose my money?”
“Since MMM is neither the bank nor the investment project, then, strictly speaking, losing your donated funds is impossible...,” they explain. “But it is possible that you have given help worth more than received. Therefore, in the interests of psychological safety, it is necessary to give help in the amount that you are willing to give gratuitously.”
BTCC CEO Bobby Lee was unconvinced, urging consumers to stay away.
Cointelegraph similarly recommends steering well clear of MMM Global as a more reliable guarantee of readers’ “psychological safety.”
The “bank” intends to corner the Bitcoin-friendly bank market by operating worldwide in 50 languages – all with a US$25 million dollar investment. This, Dinbits points out, is ostensibly impossible to pull off.
Technicalities are where NextBank slips up. Its website was only registered October 20, making the entire operation 9 days old operating legitimately. This perhaps might explain why its website security is sorely lacking, featuring only a username and password for user accounts with none of the 3-Factor authentication mentioned in the marketing literature.
This lack of security alone for Cointelegraph is the deciding factor in determining our advice to stay away from NextBank, despite the many more believable – even well-written – promises it makes all over the internet compared to the other operations mentioned in this list.
Whenever a player appears offering BTC at a significantly more “advantageous” rate than the market rate, everyone should get suspicious. Yet, those who begin to read the reasoning behind such offers still regularly buy into the sales pitch and come unstuck in the process. Why?
In the case of the latest scheme from the shapeshifting team at BTC Flap, it would appear to come down to a combination of an unassuming press release and an eerily straightforward trading platform. Never mind the fact that the language used on the supposedly USA-based website is barely comprehensible English – those looking to make a quick profit on investment eat with their eyes.
This allegedly Estonia-based yet now 100% Russian language (check the Soviet Union domain name) outfit advertising “mining done right” does little to cover up the jokiness of its USP: mining Dogecoin.
Cointelegraph previously ran an expose on Cointellect.com, a domain still advertised on Cointellect.su but no longer actually working. The lack of transparency and presence of malware in the company’s product rang alarm bells, and the reincarnation of Cointellect in a reduced form with markedly less functionality should only serve to make the community even more wary.
Honorable mention: U.S. Democracy
As ZeroHedge points out quoting P. Diddy’s rather apathetic comments at the recent Revolt Music Conference, international governments are hardly any better, really.
Diddy was the figurehead of the “Vote or Die” movement, encouraging young people to engage in democratic voting process. It would, appear, however, that he has become somewhat jaded – to the extent that he considered it necessary call “Scam!” on the whole sordid phenomenon. He stepped down from the position earlier this week.
“See the things [sic] that’s tricky about politics is there’s so much bullshit with it. We started Vote or Die and […] and from the community we’re in, we’re not with hearing too much of the bullshit [...] the whole shit is a scam.”
Cointelegraph advises everyone to stay away from the schemes listed above as well as from any entity offering bitcoin exchange services below market price.