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Breaking: TaaS team has strong links to suspected Ponzi Scheme
UPDATE: Due to overwhelming community demand, we have decided to release the entirety of the TaaS report for free to further substantiate our findings. You can download it here: https://www.icoalert.com/special-ico-alert-report-taas This is going to be a long post, but the information contained within is of great importance to the cryptocurrency community. My name is Rob, and I'm the Founder of ICO Alert, a comprehensive list of all active and upcoming cryptocurrency Initial Coin Offerings. You may know me from my posts about the launch of ICO Alert, or about that time someone accidentally sent 32 ETH to the ICO Alert donation address. We recently launched an ICO Report feature that provides in-depth analysis of upcoming ICOs so that you can determine which are worth investing in. During our analysis of TaaS, a tokenized closed-end fund, we stumbled upon some shocking connections. We found that many of the TaaS team members are directly linked to Bitup, a suspected ponzi scheme. In addition, we found huge holes in the cryptographic audit TaaS plans to employ that could jeopardize the sustainability and solvency of the entire fund. We usually charge a small fee (0.2 ETH / $10) for our reports, but decided that we cannot in good conscience keep the most shocking revelations from the TaaS Report behind a paywall. We believe it is our obligation to the community to distribute this information since the entire TaaS fund may be a scam. You can still purchase the 32 page detailed report here if you'd like, but many of the main revelations are posted below: The TaaS team and their links to Bitup, a High Yield Investment Platform (aka Ponzi Scheme) Our research has identified deep connections between the four founding members of the TaaS project — Ruslan Gavrilyuk, Konstantin Pysarenko, Maksym Muratov, and Dimitri Chupryna — and the #bitup investment platform. Several aspects of the Bitup platform resemble strongly characteristics and activities of High Yield Investment Platforms, more commonly known Ponzi Schemes. Bitup advertises fixed daily returns that are not dependent on market or investment performance; users are also offered a percentage of the total investment deposited into the fund by new users they refer. These are the typical characteristics of a ponzi scheme. Individuals who have been involved in the cryptocurrency space for any meaningful duration will quickly identify the Bitup platform as one of many HYIP (High Yield Investment Programs) Ponzi Schemes developed to defraud new entrants into unregulated markets. Konstantin Pysarenko Konstantin Pysarenko, the Vice President of the TaaS project, lists experience in founding ‘several startups around the world in food manufacturing, geological oil and gas surveying, and international aviation sales’. Our research struggled to verify these claims as only previously discussed Geo–Earth Resources and Bitup were listed on Mr. Pysarenko’s Linkedin page; deeper inquiry, however, did yield some further information regarding Mr. Pysarenko’s previous work experience. According to both Mr. Pysarenko’s profile on the TaaS Executive Team and Linkedin page, Konstaintin graduated from the University of Buckingham in 2011 with a degree in Entrepreneurship. Leveraging this information, our research uncovered two profiles of Mr. Pysarenko that appear to align with his given educational timeline and stated work experience5, both written in the first person (indicating Mr. Pysarenko himself prepared the profiles) — one while studying at the University of Buckingham, the other subsequent to the completion of his studies. Here Mr. Pysarenko indicates that his experience includes publishing, perishable import/export, printing services, cigarette manufacture, and some involvement with aviation sales via his father’s business. Food manufacturing, as stated in Konstantin’s TaaS bio, appears to consist of flour exports and tea imports to and from Africa; no mention is made of experience in geological oil and gas surveying, and international aviation sales appear to be based on involvement with Mr. Pysarenko’s family business. No verifiable indication is given that any of these positions were held at any point in the past or currently in the capacity of a founder, and in the case of aviation sales we believe there is a strong indication that Mr. Pysarenko was explicitly not a founder in any capacity. Ruslan Gavrilyuk Mr. Gavrilyuk’s bio on the TaaS Executive Team indicates experience ‘found- ing and managing projects in geosciences, mobile money solutions, oil and gas operations, precious metal mining, sports and fashion’. Our research has been unable to verify any of these assertions; Mr. Gavrilyuk’s LinkedIn page indicates (excluding TaaS) only founding involvement with Geo–Earth Resources and Bitup that are not indicated on either organization’s website or anywhere else. We find the total lack of verifiable connections between any of Mr. Gavrilyuk’s stated experience or credentials to be one the most alarming revelations uncovered from our research. Bitup Financial Analysis In July 2016 Bitup began publishing reports outlining their portfolio alloca- tions, trading activities, and general analysis of the cryptocurrency space. These documents list the coins on Bitup traded on the Poloniex market, and some (not all) give the opening and closing dates of particular trades. Documents also list the total monthly portfolio allocation for each coin traded. Our researchers analyzed the daily volume in BTC for those coins on trades where entry or exit dates are provided and identified those dates on which volume was so low that calculations for the total value of the portfolio allocation for a particular coin could be calculated by generously assuming the full 24 hour daily volume17 represented only the trade conducted by Bitup. This calculation does not give an accurate estimate of the actual AUM of the Bitup trading portfolio, but it does enable us to understand (assuming the portfolio allocation statistics are correct) the maximum possible value of the portfolio on a given date. Deeper analysis of the Bitup Financial statements can be found in the full report under Appendix B: Bitup Financial Analysis. This analysis indicates that as late October 9th, 2016, Bitup had no more than $60,000 AUM across their entire trading portfolio. In particular, a trade opened by Bitup traders on Nautiliscoin (NAUT) on October 9th accounted for 20% of the total portfolio allocation for the month of October. Volume on Poloniex for the entire 24 hour period of October 9th was 18.82 BTC, and the Bitcoin closing price was $614.62. Attributing all trading volume for the 24 hours of October 9th to Bitup (a wildly generous assumption), the total daily volume USD equivalent comes to $11,567.15. If this value represents 20% of the Bitup trading portfolio, the total value of the portfolio can be calculated at $57,835.74. Again, this uses a nearly impossible assumption of attributing all of the day’s volume to one trade, so the true AUM is very likely substantially less than what has been calculated here. If the four founding members of the TaaS platform are as deeply involved with the development and operation of the Bitup platform as our research suggests, at the very least questions are raised about the ability of the Bitup, and therefore TaaS, trading team to manage investments and trading strategies involving 1,000 times the AUM they managed at Bitup, as they will be at TaaS. More broadly, any one team member’s involvement with this type of cryptocur- rency HYIP Ponzi scheme should be cause for concern. With four co–founders involved, it is difficult to deny at very least the appearance that TaaS is an extension or evolution of the Bitup project, with remarkably higher AUM and the substantial investment management challenges that entails. Risks of slippage on trades (when acquiring large positions rapidly drive up the price of the asset, limiting potential profitability) and a simple lack of liquidity sufficient to exit positions at profitable prices represent just a few of those challenges. Trading Methodology & Cryptographic Audit Our analysis revealed several inconsistencies and very few indications that the author of the TaaS white paper or the TaaS team at large have an understanding of the challenges associated with successfully investing millions of dollars of AUM. Our analysis leads us to believe that the Cryptographic Audit technology be- ing developed by TaaS is being leveraged to obfuscate and deflect questions regarding the true nature of the TaaS trading methodology, while also representing a grave risk to the profitability of the fund. Nevertheless, we believe the Cryptographic Audit technology is the only software actually in development by the TaaS team and represents the only value investors can realistically expect to gain from the TaaS project. The Cryptographic Audit section of the TaaS whitepaper very strongly appears to have been prepared by a different individual than the rest of the document; the formatting is substantially improved, the charts and diagrams are filled with information (in contrast to the glaring lack of information in the ‘Trading Methodology’ section), the English grammar and vocabulary are substantially improved, and the use of footnotes is liberal and meaningful. We believe the proposed Auditable Exchange Accounts development and implementation represent extraordinary risks to the success of the TaaS trading methodology and the project as a whole. A system that reveals to anyone, at any time, the specific trading actions being performed by any investor or fund with a substantially large portfolio is nothing short of an invitation for every enterprising individual investor, other trading outfits,experienced algorithmic trader, or youngster with a Poloniex bot and copious free time to create trading strategies developed exclusively to siphon money from the TaaS fund as effectively as can possibly be devised. The risks of front running predicted positions, pumps and dumps during accumulation, or any number of other actions competing traders can use to negatively impact the TaaS methodology (whatever it turns out to be) are dangerously and shockingly amplified if every detail of every trade is made available in the way being described in the Auditable Exchange Accounts implementation. Leaving aside any other improprieties identified through our research, this oversight alone indicates to our analysis a risk so great to invested capital and the project as a whole that we could never in good conscious recommend purchasing TaaS tokens or becoming involved with the TaaS project in any capacity. Closing While this is obviously a tremendous amount of information to process and digest, there is a significant amount of information not included here, but included in the full report, that further substantiates these claims and also links the TaaS team members to a mysterious Geo-Earth Resources based in Lagos, Nigeria. The implications of this report are shocking, and one that we do not take lightly. We have completed this report as quickly as possible due to the severity of the matter, and have decided to release this significant portion of the report to the community, as we believe we have an obligation to do so. Relevant Links: https://www.icoalert.com/ https://www.icoalert.com/special-ico-alert-report-taas Sources: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruslan-gavrilyuk/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/konstantin-pysarenko-b1a40b51/ http://geo-earth.biz/index.html https://bitup.io/ https://www.sec.gov/investoalerts/ia_virtualcurrencies.pdf https://bitup.io/faq https://bitup.io/terms https://www.linkedin.com/in/nixoid/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/andriydubetsky/ http://idcee.org/p/andriy-dubetsky/ http://en.pcg-conference.com.ua/speakers/view/65/
The premise of cryptocurrency is simple, a new ICO launches, claiming to offer lucrative returns for investors. Investors can’t believe their luck and clamor to buy in. The business runs for some time on the back of the invested capital, but, sooner or later, disaster strikes and the company shuts down, often with no explanation. After a while, it becomes obvious that the company is gone for good, along with the invested funds. The poisoned chalice of crypto’s decentralized nature often means that investors are left in the dark when trying to recoup or trace their pilfered funds.
How to spot an exit scam
Many exit scams have tell-tale signs that investors should look out for. The financial content site Investopedia has a handy list of key characteristics. First, exit scams often have inconsistent or misleading information about the team behind the project. When scouting potential investment opportunities, investors should scour for information on key members of any ICO. It’s important to remember that online credibility can be faked by purchasing likes, profiles and followers on social media. Celebrity endorsements with verified accounts could also ring alarm bells for investors. A fake Twitter account purporting to be Elon Musk, with a supposedly verified twitter account, raised over $155,000 as part of a 2018 Bitcoin scam. Investors should verify the credentials of backers, team leaders and promoters of cryptocurrency projects. Although individuals may seem to be legitimate at first glance, brand new social mediaprofiles and few followers or connections should raise eyebrows. The most significant characteristic unifying exit scams in cryptocurrency is the promise of a huge return on investment (ROI) — chances are that it’s probably too good to be true. Investors should always look through even the smallest details of what they are required to invest and what the company purports to be able to give back to them. ICOs usually come with a white paper, setting out the design details of the project along with a business plan and other information. Investors should pursue all available information for ICOs, as any vagueness in the white papers should signal a big red flag. When investing in an ICO, it’s vital to get an understanding of the business model. Investopdia writes that anything powered by concept alone should be a warning to anyone tempted to buy in. Although cryptocurrency projects can and do launch off the back of technological advances, investors should be wary of projects looking to gather millions of dollars before taking a sober look at the project’s ability to return the investment from the published information. Heavy promotion of an upcoming ICO can also be a sign of an exit scam. Past scams have employed bloggers to promote via numerous forums. Ads both online and in print media could also be suspicious.
$2.9 billion PlusToken scam could be largest exit scam ever
A 2019 report shared with Cointelegraph by the cryptocurrency and blockchain forensics company Ciphertrace dubbed 2019 the year of the exit scam and highlighted the billions of dollars stolen in multiple scams this year alone. The report shines a light on what, if confirmed, could be the biggest crypto scam ever, with an estimated loss of around $2.9 billion after Chinese police uncovered an alleged Ponzi schemeinvolving the South Koreanwallet provider and exchange PlusToken. Although more is being uncovered about PlusToken, mystery still surrounds the key events. Ciphertrace reports that the platform has enshrouded several Chinese nationals, the government of Vanuatu, the Chinese police and the company’s co-founders — a South Korean man operating under the alias of “Kim Jung Un” and a Russian known only as “Leo.” The alleged PlusToken scam centers around an app with which the wallet provider claimed investors could invest in PlusToken (PLUS). According to the report, the firm claimed that the token, based on the Ethereumblockchain, was developed by a major technology company. PlusToken is also said to have falsely stated that it could deliver wallet holders an ROI of between 8% and 16% per month, with a minimum deposit of $500 in crypto assets. Ciphertrace also reported that no verifiable source of revenue existed other than the proceeds from new membership. Those were onboarded per the traditional method of a Ponzi scheme, which require a constant stream of new investment in order to support its semblance of growth. Investors were incentivized to recommend new users with an invitation, which was the only way to join. Although this was enough for some members to dismiss the legitimacy of the project outright, Leo, the company’s co-founder, published a press release that claimed he had met with Prince Charles, the future head of the English royal family, providing photos as proof. Ciphertrust reported that it had contacted the Prince Charles Foundation, which confirmed that Leo had indeed attended the event, but would not provide other information about the individual due to European Union General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. PlusToken’s fate was seemingly sealed on June 28, after members of the Chinese police touched down in Vanuatu, detained six people involved with the project and extradited them back to mainland China. Ciphertrace reported that the so-called “PlusToken Six” were either Vanuatu citizens or applying for citizenship at the time of their arrest. Soon after, PlusToken members found that they were unable to withdraw funds from their accounts. Customers were informed that withdrawals via the app were frozen due to “technical difficulties.” By June 20, the PlusToken app had ceased operations due to purported system maintenance. For investors, there seems to be no secure lead on the final resting place of the allegedly billions of dollars of stolen funds. The Chinese government has yet to comment. A July 12 post from PlusToken stated that the six Chinese individuals were simply service users and not actually involved with the running of the company itself, stating that users should ignore the rumors and not try to log in until they receive confirmation that the servers are back online.
On April 9, 2018, two ICOs — iFan and Pincoin — operating under the umbrella of company Modern Tech based in Vietnam, went silent after reports outed them as scams that had scalped 32,000 investors out of an alleged $660 million in tokens, according to Tuoi Tre News. Victims claim that the damages amount to roughly 15 trillion Vietnamese dong ($660 million) in token sales. Angered investors held a demonstration outside Modern Tech’s Ho Chi Minh City headquarters on April 8. One of the initial characteristics that could have alarmed investors was the fact that Pincoin offered service users bonuses for successfully bringing other people on board. Pincoin did initially pay out cash until January 2018, when the company switched to iFan tokens, TechCrunch reported. The owner of Modern Tech’s office building said that the company left its offices in March and that no one knew their current whereabouts. The firm left behind only an incomplete website that is now inactive. Modern Tech initially tried to pass itself off as a mere representative of both coins in Vietnam, prior to media reports confirming that seven of its Vietnamese executives were in fact behind the projects. TechCrunch reported that the ambiguous mission statement from the then-functional site is typical of the vague and jargon-filled copy used by exit scammers:
“The PIN Project is about building an online collaborative consumption platform for global community, base on principles of Sharing Economy, Blockchain Technology, and Crypto Currency”
Financial scam directory Behindmlm released a report in February 2018 that found its buy-in method was typical of an ROI Ponzi scheme. Pincoin’s website is currently down, though iFan’s is still online.
QuadrigaCX — regulators catch on
The death of 30-year old Gerald Cotten shook the crypto world — not only because Cotten was the co-founder and CEO of Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX, but also because his control of the passwords and keys to accounts rendered all the assets on the exchange forever inaccessible after his death. Cotten took over $195 million of stolen cryptocurrency with him to the grave. Related:QuadrigaCX Users Lose $190M as Speculations Over Cotten’s Death Swirl Commenting on the May 9 Ernst & Young report, Ciphertrace said Cotten had played fast and loose with customer funds for many years in order to support a lavish lifestyle for both himself and his wife. Cotten allegedly exercised complete control over the exchange and used his position to perform “unsupported deposits” — i.e., fabricated transactions not represented by either fiat or cryptocurrency. Cotten also used significant volumes of customers’ cryptocurrency via transfers from the platform into other exchanges he controlled. As per the EY report, Cotten shifted significant amounts of fiat and cryptocurrency between alias accounts, although less than 1% of these transfers was supported by documentation. Ciphertrace notes that as the admin, Cotten was in a perfect position to hide his fraudulent activities. In a pattern that may now seem familiar, Cotten used customer funds to pay for QuadrigaCX operating costs after the company suffered liquidity issues due to his reported fraudulent use of user deposits. As QuadrigaCX began to struggle to stay afloat, EY reported that Cotten gambled customer funds in off-platform margin accounts to meet margin calls. The report also states that Cotten traded unsupported deposits for legitimate funds thereby generating artificial trading markets, abused his position to override Know Your Customer requirements and hoarded all passwords:
“The Monitor understands passwords were held by a single individual, Mr. Cotten and it appears that Quadriga failed to ensure adequate safeguard procedures were in place to transfer passwords and other critical operating data to other Quadriga representatives should a critical event materialize (such as the death of key management personnel).”
As of April 12, EY estimated that Quadriga held around $20.8 million in assets and around $160 million in liabilities. The debts and assets are spread over three subsidiary companies, 0984750 B.C. LTD. (the “Quadriga Estate”), Quadriga Fintech Solutions and Whiteside Capital Corporation. On July 31, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia approved over $1.6 million in fees for parties seeking remuneration from the exchange, according to court documents.PDF) seen by Cointelegraph.
CFTC action launched after $147 million BTC scheme
On June 18, 2019, the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) initiated a civil enforcement action against now-defunct Control-Finance Limited for a scheme involving $147 million worth in Bitcoin. It is alleged that Control-Finance Ltd. defrauded over 1,000 investors by laundering around 22,858 Bitcoin. In mid-September 2017, its website was abruptly taken offline, payments to clients were suspended and advertising content from social media accounts was deleted. The firm initially said that it would reimburse customers by late 2017. However, the company allegedly began transferring laundered Bitcoin by using the crypto wallet service CoinPayments. According to Ciphertrace’s Q2 2019 Anti-Money Laundering (AML) report, the CFTC complaint charges the company and its founder Benjamin Reynolds with:
“Exploiting public enthusiasm for crypto assets by fraudulently obtaining and misappropriating at least 22,858.22 Bitcoin from more than 1,000 customers through a classic high-yield investment (HYIP) Ponzi scheme called the Control-Finance Affiliate Program.”
Per the CFTC, the company claimed that investors who buy Bitcoin through the firm would be guaranteed daily profits thanks to their team of expert cryptocurrency traders. The complaint also stated that the firm falsely claimed market volatility would ensure funds invested through Control-Finance would result in profit. The CFTC also alleged that Control-Finance misleadingly promised that it could earn customers a 1.5% ROI daily and 45% monthly. Control-Finance is also reported to have sent partial amounts of new clients’ BTC deposits to other customers, which were disguised as profit from trading, a tactic typical of Ponzi schemes. The legal action seeking civil monetary penalties and permanent trading bans continues.
Co-owner of Bitmarket found shot dead after alleged exit scam
On July 8, the Poland-based exchange Bitmarket shut down, citing liquidity issues. According to Ciphertrace’s Q2 2019 AML report, the shutdown cost users around 2,300 Bitcoin, approximately $23 million. Users attempting to log on to the site were met with the following message:
“We regret to inform you that due to the loss of liquidity, since 08/07/2019, Bitmarket.pl/net was forced to cease its operations. We will inform you about further steps.”
Ciphertrace reports that Bitmarket had a history of partners pulling out. In 2015, the firm lost payment processors CashBill and BlueMedia after the companies' banks requested they end their working relationship with Bitmarket. PKO Bank Polski, Bitmarket’s own bank, also terminated its relationship with the firm only six months after Bank BPH had done so earlier in 2015. Bitmarket’s two founders, Marcin Aszkiełowicz and Tobiasz Niemiro, have contradicting accounts about the misplaced user funds. Aszkiełowicz claimed that the exchange had been hacked for 600 BTC in 2015, an incident from which the company was unable to recover. Niemiro, however, claimed that he was not responsible for activities on the exchange. Niemiro also purported to have been told that the company was purchased with a deficit of 600 BTC, which he allegedly repaid with his own money. Niemiro said he could not confirm that his partners had indeed used the money to purchase the 600 BTC. Two weeks after the interview, Niemiro was found dead in a forest near his home with a gunshot wound to the head, which the police deemed to be self-inflicted. The District Attorney’s Office stated that it is not looking into the involvement of third parties in Niemiro’s death, but are still actively investigating the misappropriation of funds.
Hello! My name is Mihail Kudryashev, I am a frontend engineer at Platinum. We are a an international STO/IEO/ICO/POST ICO consulting, promotion and fundraising company with huge experience in STO and ICO marketing and best STO blockchain platform in the world! Learn more about it: Platinum.fund Our company gained popularity after launching the world’s number one online university with only practical knowledge on crypto economics. Now you can learn how to create and develop your own ICO and STO, how to market your campaign and make it super successful. Who are cryptocurrency investors? What drives people to invest in cryptocurrency? Read the extract of the UBAI lesson to get all the answers. Introduction to the Investors §2 In 2017, the total cryptocurrency market capitalization was approaching $850B which begs the question: Why are investors turning to cryptocurrencies? A survey by Blockchain Capital indicated that at least 30% of millennials would rather invest in bitcoin than invest in traditional stocks. Cryptocurrency investors, like traditional investors, expect a return at least proportionate to the risk they take. Due to the fundamental lack of regulation, incredible volatility and astronomical relative risk, many cryptocurrency investors expect to earn meteoric returns. Returns in the ranges of multiples from 200% to 1000%. Let us first begin by examining the kinds of people who invest in cryptocurrency, and then let’s see the reasons why each of them is investing in this relatively new market. Types of Investors The “Newbie” Cryptocurrency Investor This investor is just starting out. They probably have not had any significant experience in any form of investing before and bitcoin is their first experience. They have heard about people making incredible returns from cryptocurrency investing, or some aspect of the entire blockchain and crypto revolution attracts them, and they decide they want to invest too. Unfortunately, most of the newbie investors will end up losing their money, primarily because of one specific misconception; they think cryptocurrency investing is an easy way to make huge profits. “ “Types of Investors §2 “Gambler” or “Get Rich Quick” Investor This is the second class of cryptocurrency investor, and is actually not really an investor at all. This type of person is out to make a fortune as fast as possible. They will fall for whatever sweet-sounding scheme they hear. They love ideas that promise to double or triple their investment quickly. Like the Newbie, they do not understand how cryptocurrencies work, and they don’t care. The difference between this kind of investor and the successful individual or professional investor is that the gambler does not care about the management of risk, or about the timing of trades. They place their money on the table, and they hope it will make a good return. They are gambling rather than creating an investment thesis and executing a well-thought out strategy. They might even have an infectious positive attitude, but unfortunately it is not backed by knowledge or the due diligence required to be a successful investor. A good example of this style of thinking, outside of cryptocurrency, is high yield investment plans (HYIPs) that promise to multiply an investors capital by a certain factor. This is not to say that all HYIP programs are scams, but a good number of them are. Most importantly, the investors who flock into such plans have similar characteristics to that of the Get Rich Quick investor in that they will not take the time to learn about the field in which they are investing. They are just looking for fast money and an overnight success. “ “Types of Investors §3 Short Term Traders (Day/Swing Traders) Short term traders must, without a doubt, be the most knowledgeable investors if they are going to succeed at their chosen profession. They have, or they should have, studied the art and science of trading more thoroughly than other people. This is the kind of investor who has taken the time to learn about cryptocurrencies and the markets on which they trade. Short term traders create deliberate and timed strategies in an attempt to profit from fast market movements. Maybe many of the short term traders started off as Newbies, but these are the individuals who took the time and effort to learn about the market. They wanted to know what they were doing. These are the people who survived and thrived to grow into the type of trader that they want to be. Interestingly, the Day Trader does not attach emotion to any given coin. They do not need to believe in the sustainability/whitepapevision/road map, etc. of the project they are buying into at any particular time. They just need to be confident about the direction and timing of the potential price movement of the coin. “ “Types of Investors §4 Long Term Investors/ Hodlers A great majority of successful cryptocurrency investors can be most properly classified as Long Term Investors, or HODLers in true crypto terminology. These are investors who understand quite a bit about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology and believe in the sustainability of the coins in which they are investing. Think of the first few investors who bought bitcoin in the early days and years, when it was still deep under the radar for most people. These are the people who believed in the blockchain and cryptocurrency revolution. They didn’t sell their bitcoin for fast profit, although they had many chances to do so. They knew what they were doing, holding for the long term. These early investors and HODLers enjoyed astronomical growth all the way up to 2016 and 2017. But to be a long-term holder despite all the bad news and negative factors surrounding this brand new asset class, they must have really believed that bitcoin and the blockchain were going to change the world. This belief can only be established through study and research about the blockchain industry and the specific currencies and tokens in which you are going to invest. Follow up and learn more on www.ubai.co!” “Types of Investors §5 Sophisticated/Professional Investors These are experts in cryptocurrency investing. They most likely have a background in other forms of trading and investing, such as in stocks, bonds or options etc. They may also be earning fees by investing or managing money for other people. The Iconomi fund managers are a good example. Each Fund Manager manages an array of digital assets. Investors might choose Iconomi because it offers a platform for the investor to allocate funds to specific fund managers, with the ability to swap between managers instantly if the investor desires to do so. Each fund manager selects a number of coins in which they wish to trade or invest, with specified time horizons, short or long term. Investors can buy into the array of mutually held coins. This allows investors to utilize the knowledge and experience of professional fund managers to trade an allocated pool of capital, hopefully generating returns greater than the individual investor would be able to produce on his own. The fund managers are motivated by the fees and commissions they earn, and perhaps a performance-linked bonus. You can certainly be properly classified as a Sophisticated Investor without any need to be a fund manager for other peoples’ money. But a professional fund manager has the ability to trade with a larger pool of capital, manage complicated risk, and diversify trading strategy to generate various streams of income. “ “Between Countries A particular country’s participation in cryptocurrencies largely has to do with the legal regulations about blockchain projects and crypto currency investment in that jurisdiction. When China banned the use of cryptocurrency, most Chinese nationals had to withdraw their investments. Many other countries have also placed bans on the use or trade of cryptocurrencies. Countries like Japan that have allowed the use of cryptocurrencies have witnessed a significant rise in cryptocurrency investments as a result. Japan and South Korea are home to several high-traffic cryptocurrency exchanges, meaning that a notable proportion of their population is investing in cryptocurrencies. Another way to look at cryptocurrency investment demographics is to look at the bitcoin ATMs present in each country. The United States of America is the leading country, followed by Canada and then the United Kingdom. According to a report by Google trends, the five top countries interested in bitcoin are: South Africa, Slovenia, Nigeria, Colombia and Bolivia. Remember, cryptocurrency demographics can be a little tricky due to the anonymity involved. Many people may be afraid to participate in surveys, especially when their governments have placed legal restrictions on cryptocurrency investing. The main point the research seems to validate is that the demographics of the cryptocurrency investor base is diverse. While the average investor may be a white or Asian male between the ages of 26-30 with at least a university degree, the entire investor base is so much larger than that. Many big investors are likely to be significantly older, and have connections and businesses in the traditional economy as well. “ “Notable Investors in Cryptocurrency While many people have made fortunes from cryptocurrency investing, a handful of them stand out as being particularly remarkable. We will take a more detailed look at some of the biggest investment success stories to see how they did it and learn about their investing strategy. The Winklevoss Twins After being awarded their settlement from the lawsuit against Facebook, the Winklevoss twins decided to invest a significant portion of their money in Bitcoin. They invested $11million of the $65million they received. At that time, the price of a single bitcoin was about $120. This high-risk investment paid off handsomely and they became the first publicly known Bitcoin Billionaires, perhaps owning more than 1% of the total bitcoin in circulation. In an interview with Financial Times in 2016, the twins jointly said that they consider “Bitcoin as potentially the greatest social network because it is designed to transfer value over the internet”. They also pointed out that compared to gold, bitcoin has equal or greater foundational traits of scarcity and portability. “ “Notable Investors in Cryptocurrency §2 Michael Novogratz A self-made billionaire ex-Goldman Sachs investment banker, Novogratz has invested more than 30% of his fortune in cryptocurrency. In 2015, he announced a $500million cryptocurrency hedge fund, including $150million of his own money. Novogratz believes that “the blockchain, the computer code that underpins all cryptocurrencies, will reshape finance, just as the internet reshaped communication”. The investment thesis of Mr. Novogratz is similar to that of the Winklevoss twins. He has taken and maintains a long-term position while he trades in and out of short term moves, based on his fundamental belief in the potential and likely application of the underlying blockchain technology. By starting an investment fund in addition to his other cryptocurrency related ventures, he is demonstrating a strong fundamental grasp of the technology, including its applicability and impact across so many industries. Slide Barry Silbert In December 2014 after the US Marshal’s office seized 50,000 bitcoins from the Silk Road, Barry Silbert purchased just 2,000 of those bitcoins at $350 per coin. A few years later of course, those coins were worth millions of dollars. Barry is the founder and CEO of the Digital Currency Group (DCG) a cryptocurrency investment firm. Barry also made significant profits from Ethereum Classic, purchasing the coin in its very first days. He has invested in over 75 bitcoin related companies, including CoinDesk. As founder of the Digital Currency Group, Barry endeavors to support bitcoin and blockchain companies and accelerate the development of the global financial system. “ “Directly through Exchanges Step One: Register on a reputable cryptocurrency exchange To start investing, you first need to register on a reputable cryptocurrency exchange where you can buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Binance is a good exchange to use in this lesson. While it may or may not be the best, it is currently the largest, and they provide a very supportive layout and customer service department. You should remember, to buy most altcoins (cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin), you specifically need to use an exchange like Coinbase or Kraken that allows you to convert fiat currency into cryptocurrency. From there, if you want to trade altcoins not listed on that exchange, you will have to transfer your BTC or ETH to a larger exchange like Binance, and buy the altcoin you want, using whichever trading pair that is best suited (BTC and ETH pairs are most common). As we have already explained, if you are buying Bitcoin or any cryptocurrencies, you should invest in a wallet to safely store your coins. It is not advisable to store your BTC or other crypto on the exchanges for too long, due to hacking and other risks. “ “Directly through Exchanges Step Two: Determine your Strategy There are different ways to invest. You need to find a strategy that works for you and your specific set of skills. The value of a cryptocurrency is not defined by a formula or something out a textbook. If everyone was able to calculate the actual value of a share of stock, for example, or a bond, or other tradeable asset, then the price on an open market exchange would never move. Buyers and sellers would know exactly how much the asset is worth, so there would be no reason to sell lower or buy higher than the actual value. You need to come up with your own ideas and strategies to take advantage of market moves. Sometimes you will have a position that is contrary to the general market. Other times you might be trading in agreement with a majority of other market participants. Investors are basically separable into one of two groups of thinkers. Contrarian investors go against the crowd, swimming against the current; Momentum investors ride the wave feeling secure in the majority. Being different can be good or it can be bad. You do not always want to necessarily get caught up in the most crowded trade. “ “Things to keep in Mind Bitcoin Futures We need to mention the bitcoin futures market as another potential way to invest. Toward the close of 2017, Bitcoin started trading on two fully recognized and well-established futures markets; the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange CME. The key quote from the exchanges was “because the futures can be traded on regulated markets, it will attract investors, making the market liquid, stabilizing prices and it will not suffer from low transaction speeds of Bitcoin Exchanges.” For a risk averse investor, this offers a safer entry into cryptocurrency investing. A futures contract commits its owner to buy or sell the underlying asset, BTC, at a set price, and at a set date in the future. The investor in the futures contract does not actually own the underlying asset, but rather is trading on fluctuations in the price of the asset over a certain timeframe, as specified in the futures contract. “ “Things to keep in Mind §2 Common Pitfalls We cannot conclude this lesson without one more look at the common pitfalls a new cryptocurrency investor should avoid. The problem areas are: -Falling for scams by failing to carry out due diligence. -Relying solely upon self-acclaimed crypto gurus and experts. If you want to trade, you must understand how to read news and charts for yourself. -Too much Greed. Not taking profit when you should. It is better to take a 20% gain, than wait for a 100% gain, only to lose it all in the end. -Lacking an investment strategy or exit plan. -Not sticking to your investment plan or strategy. -Allowing emotions to rule your decisions. Chasing your losses. -Investing what you cannot afford to lose. And finally, some time-tested wisdom from Wall Street: Bulls make money. Bears make money. Pigs get slaughtered every time. (Don’t be greedy!) We cannot overemphasize the risk involved in cryptocurrency investing. The potential to make huge gains over a short period of time does not come without risk. There is no doubt that significant players in the global financial markets are entering the cryptocurrency markets too. We are likely to witness more and more government authorities trying to regulate cryptocurrencies, hopefully to the overall benefit of a healthy market. It seems safe to say we will see cryptocurrencies become more mainstream due to the intense interest from the traditional financial industry and institutional investing community all over the world. What are better ways to successfully invest in cryptocurrencies? Which pitfalls should you avoid? Learn all on successful ICOs and STOs after reading the full lesson: UBAI.co How to start your STO/ICO campaign in 2019? Contact me via Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn to know more about our education: FacebookLinkedInInstagram
Cult of Turtle - 38 lessons for safe Bitcoin trading from #bitcoin-otc IRC
#bitcoin-otc is a trading channel on the Freenode IRC server that has existed since 2011 and is still around today. It's been a well known hub among Bitcoin traders, buyers and sellers and the chatroom has helped facilitate tens of thousands of trades across its lifespan. Across its lengthy existence, many important lessons in safe trading have been learned by its members. One of its members has compiled a great deal of wealth into a document known as "Cult of Turtle", which contains 38 of the most valuable tips you could keep in mind when trading. The list has been around for years now, and has been proven time and time again to be extremely accurate. (and tounge-in-cheek partly) I've left all of the tips and original phrasing to preserve the original feeling of the guide - but for Reddit's benefit, I've highlighted the most relevant ones that are also extremely applicable when trading on Reddit or elsewhere. (and omitted several less relevant ones) Hopefully this wealth of knowledge will help improve your resiliency to scams and scammers. :)
Cult of Turtle - 38 lessons for safe Bitcoin trading from #bitcoin-otc IRC
2. Never trade with someone who doesn’t have a long and good AND RECENT trade history (check ;;gettrust, ;;events). 5. Never lend bitcoins. you will probably never see them again. As Coolio- used to say “Loans are a gift”. 8. Don’t talk about your money, worth, or wealth 9. Don’t leave large sums in shared or online wallets (or other online games or services) 11. If someone is scammer tagged, don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. it might feel weird to consider someone guilty until proven innocent, but it will save your coins. 12. High yield investment programs (HYIP) or loans are pretty much always scams. think about it. if it sounds too good to be true… 13. Never let someone control your computer (teamviewer scams). Don’t install anything suspicious on your computer (trojans, viruses). Ideally have a clean dedicated computer for your transactions. Wipe that computer regularly. 14. There are no tricks to avoid chargebacks on paypal, credit cards, moneypak, dwolla, banks, etc. some services might be harder to chargeback, but nothing is immune. 15. People with good reps can turn bad or get in a bad spot. having a good rep does not mean they will never scam. 16. Break up large transactions into smaller ones, preferably with multiple people 18. Don’t trust someone who can’t speak proper English or your language of choice. this may sound classist, but your money is on the line; trade with professionals or reputable people 22. Don’t trust fast talkers, sweet talkers, smooth talkers. don’t be swayed by emotion or inability to think. a good deal is rarely time sensitive. 23. If someone gets agitated when you ask questions, they were probably trying to scam you 25. Many people offer escrow. use it. BUT ONLY IF YOU TRUST THE PERSON OFFERING ESCROW. 27. Don’t trust gamblers, addicts, or people who are constantly broke 30. Someone buying just to build ratings is suspicious. this goes for the OTC, btcjam, or anywhere else. beware. 31. Don’t use paypal. come on. people tell you this all the time. and for a reason. it’s easy to get scammed by people using paypal. and it’s easy for paypal to freeze your assets and hold your money for 180 days. [same applies for ebay] 32. You will eventually hear someone say “come on, it’s not like I’m going to scam someone for just $___”. yes. someone would scam for that amount. don’t fall for it 34. People with non-random X ending their name are highly likely to be a scammer have you ever noticed that everyone with names ending in a random x is highly likely to be a scammer? freefox <– non-random thetruthx <— random also, framing x’s are not so random xFBASTAGEx <– not so random 35. Unsolicited messages/spam/requests to trade are almost always scams. 36. Trust your gut. if someone gives you a bad vibe, there’s probably a reason. be safe rather than sorry 38. Nobody listens to turtle You can find the full source on one of the mirrors: http://pi.littlebird-design.com/bitcoin/cult-of-turtle/ (or http://www.cultofturtle.com but seems like that ones hosting expired) Which tips from this list are your favourite, have helped you prevent scams, or are completely new to you? Comment below and share your insight with others. :) Cheers!
How to: Passive Bitcoin trading (20% weekly ROI) for lazy people
Hey fellow lazy entrepreneurs. Many of you asked me through messages to share more about the lazy cryptocurrency trading that I do, so I decided I'll write some sentences about it and you can choose whether it's right up your alley or not. Well the truth is, I don't trade. A bot trades instead of me. I give him BTC or LTC or dash - and he goes to buy low and sell high. The bigger volatility on the market, the higher payouts. Bot is non-emotional, bot doesn't make bad trades. And I do nothing, just watch. For example - say I gave the bot 250$ in BTC two weeks ago. Each Monday I withdrawed 50$ In BTC so right now I'm at -150$ (not calculating the money I made on BTC rising). In 3 weeks my investment is paid out and every week after that starts compounding - and as we all know, compounding has been called an "eighth wonder of the world" by Albert Einstein. This is not something I have invented - there are hundreds of bots like this out there and they share a common negative. They aren't sustainable. They're called HYIPs (High Yield Interest Programs) and some people call them Ponzi schemes or scams. While many of them certainly are complete scams, some are legit ventures that just stop being sustainable after 6 - 7 months. The difference between HYIP and a Ponzi scheme or a scam is vital - HYIP actually really pays interest from your investment by trading, not with money from older investors (as Ponzi scheme does). In a scam you never get any money, from a HYIP (non-scam one) you do. Right now, me and my fellow HYIP traders are focusing on 1 platform, which is really young and looks very promising + each Monday we get confirmed payouts. If you want, join us on our Discord to talk about crypto trading: https://discord.gg/g37TNZE Is it risky? Yes. Should you invest all your money in a HYIP? No. Are the interest rates real? Yes. Will you make millions? Probably not, but thousands are game thanks to compound interest, if you hurry (bonuses incoming with the BTC exploding and all as well). For the end just let me say that I completely respect the opinion of "this isn't a true business" or that you wouldn't support this kind of trading and that's ok. I can respect that. This isn't for everyone. But I'm sure there are many of you who won't turn a nice bitcoin passive stream down.
Crypto Safety Education Series #4: Combat phishing scams - How social media scams works and how to avoid them
Note: this is the fourth part of an ongoing crypto safety educational series. Other parts of the series are
part 1 of the series to understand how domain works. part 2 of the series on how to identify and avoid ads phishing scams part 3 of the series on how to identify and avoid email phishing scams
Yep, crypto social media phishing, especially twitter phishing scams, are out of control. Browse Ethereum co-founder Vitalik’s twitter profile or Binance’s CEO Changpeng’s twitter profile you will see they have been the target of so many twitter impersonators that they literally have to update their names to Vitalik "Not giving away ETH" Buterin and CZ (not giving crypto away). Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey have admitted to the problem and said that the team are implementing measures to prevent crypto scams. Whether or not Twitter’s solution will work is yet to be seen. But meanwhile we can always equip ourselves with the best weapon - knowledge. Some of the most popular social media scams go beyond standard phishing scam practices. According to our research and analysis, we have identified 4 main ways scammers use social media to defraud users: Impersonation, Ponzi/HYIP and ICO scam promotion, Malware distribution, and Chatroom scams. Below we will briefly walk through how each one works.
1. Impersonation of Established Company or Person
This is SO extremely common for any established crypto-related companies or figures that you can find a dozen of imposters just by clicking through replies of most established companies or person’s any single tweet. Coinbase pinned this tweet that provides a perfect example of how twitter scams works. Imposters will commonly post tweets that they are giving away free coins in exchange for a small deposit. They will then use hundreds of bots account to post fake claims that they have send money and indeed received free coins in return. *THEY ARE 100% FAKE. When Binance was down due to maintenance this past Feb, scammers went all out. One of the Binance twitter imposter collected over $10,000 in matter of hours in its ether wallet.
4 signs for fake twitter profile. If a twitter profile meet all 4 below points, it is a fake profile pretending to be someone they are not.
Account name is the same as a popular cryptocurrency exchange, wallet, news or public figure, but twitter handle contains misspelling. Account has a low number of followers (< 1k) Account has a short account history (within the last couple months or days) Account lacks a verified badge
2. Ponzi/HYIP and ICO scams Promotion
Do you want to become rich overnight and earn 100x returns on your investment within months? Hard to say no to that, right? That is how many Ponzi, High Yield Investment Programs and ICO scams attract investors’ attention - by promising no risk and ludicrous investment returns in an extremely short amount of time. Cryptocurrency holders are risk takers who have high-risk tolerance since one would need a strong stomach to weather through the crypto market swings. That is also the exact reason scammers identify crypto investors as the perfect target for investment scams. Scammers will use social media, often offering promoters referral perks as incentives, to spread links to their websites that promise high investment returns. These types of promotional messages can spread like wildfire on social media since platforms like Twitter and Facebook make sharing easy with a click of a button. Many people are drawn to the potential referral earnings and end up spreading malicious links. It’s easy to avoid getting caught in this type of scam on social media - don’t be greedy. No one will give you way above market average returns with no substantial risks involved. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
3. Malware Distribution
Embedding viruses and malware into popular downloads is an old and common hacking technique. Crypto scammers certainly do not miss out on this proven method to steal coins. Scammers distribute malware through mining software that claims it will help you to make money during your sleep or through desktop wallets that can “safely store” your crypto assets. Once you download the software, it will unpack malware that can steal all sorts of information from your computer, including your wallet’s private key. Look at this one example of just how much malware were contained in one downloadable mining software reported on ZeroFox. Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2
4. Send Scams Through Chatroom Messages
There are few ways one can be deceived through chat services. Some chat services, such as Slack, allow users to share the same display names, which can cause confusion and make it difficult to tell the impersonator apart from the crowd. Many messaging services also use standard formatting for chat messages, which allows a user to embed a different URL in a messaged link that is different than the text displayed. For example, in a case reported on International Business Times, a slack user warned another group member of an attack on MyEtherWallet to distribute a phishing link, shown in this screenshot. If you click on the link that looks to be the official URL for MyEtherWallet, you will be redirected to a phishing site aimed to steal your credentials. How to avoid chat room scams? Do not trust easily, and always verify the information from other popular sources. Scammers love to use FUD tactics to mislead innocent investors. Here at Crypto Aware, we have recently compiled a list of official URLs and social media profiles of popular cryptocurrency exchanges and cryptocurrency wallets. P.S If you are the victim of a cryptocurrency social media phishing scam, please report your case to us here. Here at Crypto Aware we are establishing the First Responder Network for crypto-related scams. Your reports will remain anonymous, we will relate your report to related platforms if necessary and will relate them to the crypto communities here at Reddit and elsewhere.
https://btc-arbs.com is very likely a scam. They just locked members' funds blaming heartbleed and an 'acquisition' just happened.
It's very likely a scam. They've been 'acquired' by another company and have locked all members' funds in 'legacy' accounts that cannot be withdrawn and do not earn interest. Be warned. The information is not communicated on their website, but this event has just happened. See this link for the message from their administrator https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=474787.740 Also see here... http://money-news-online.com/blog/2014/04/22/22042014-daily-news-hyip-industry/ From administrator Sent on April 22nd 2014 Today we have some exciting news that will have a great impact on the overall future of BTC-Arbs as well as all of our arbitrage investors. Over the past few months, BTC-Arbs has grown to become the most prominent and successful Bitcoin arbitrage investment in the Bitcoin community. During this time, we have seen a great deal of interest from venture capitalists, as well as other investors. While the previous buy-out offers that we've received haven't reached the value that we feel that company is worth, we have just negotiated a deal that we believe is fair for all parties. Effective immediately, BTC-Arbs will be owned and operated by the Global Capital Alliance. The Global Capital Alliance is a venture capital firm that has dove in head first to the Bitcoin industry, and has made a number of strategic investments to position itself for what they believe is the upcoming mass adoption of Bitcoin. With a portfolio of other services such as Bitcoin wallets and cold storage solutions, as well as Bitcoin related retailers, the Global Capital Alliance is the perfect group to take over management of BTC-Arbs and drive it "to the moon". As a member of BTC-Arbs, you're likely wondering how this will impact the day to day operations of the website, as well as the ability for the site to provide long term earnings. Rather than speak about this myself, I will allow Ron James, the CEO of The Global Capital Alliance to share his thoughts and vision for the future of BTC-Arbs. Please find Ron's introductory note below. Dear BTC Arbs Members, It is a pleasure to be part of the team that has recently acquired BTC-Arbs. With offices around the globe, and institutional investors banging at the door, we feel that the time is now for Bitcoin to make a huge splash in the global investment and financial industries. We plan on taking BTC-Arbs from its current form of an unregulated Bitcoin "fund" and transforming it into an institutional investment powerhouse that will serve worldwide investors for years to come. As part of this process, we will be restructuring numerous aspects of the program, evaluating the fund's current assets, and creating a strategy for long term growth. I have outlined the basic steps that we will be immediately taking.
All current balances will be reviewed to ensure that everything is correct. It is believed that some user balances are incorrect due to the Heartbleed Bug that impacted the website at the beginning of April.
Current Bitcoin Balances will be relocated within your account and placed in a balance known as the "Legacy Fund."
The daily arbitrage earnings will apply only to the new Bitcoin balance and will not be calculated on the Legacy Fund.
Funds in the Legacy Fund will be moved to the current Bitcoin balance as we successfully transfer the funds from the previous owners exchange accounts into our new corporate accounts. Furthermore, prior to being transferred, Legacy Funds will be reviewed for accuracy.
The regular fund will continue to earn as usual. New deposits will be accepted and withdrawals will be processed in the normal time frame.
USD Deposits will no longer be accepted. USD Balances are currently being paid out directly to USD users as we speak. If you have a USD Balance, you will soon (if not already) receive a message from our new team with instructions on how to either convert your USD balance to Bitcoin, or withdraw it entirely. Some users have already been sent the value of their accounts to their respective e-currency account.
New Bitcoins deposits will go into the regular Bitcoin balance and will continue earning each day.
The above steps may seem somewhat If you have any questions about the acquisition of BTC-Arbs, please submit a message in the "Support Zone". Sincerely, Ron James Global Capital Alliance" As part of the acquisition, I (Adam) will not be continuing on. I am confident that everyone is in good hands with Ron and everyone from GCA. Adam Edit: It is a ponzi scam.
Since there are many scams around us, we need to search for the trusted and the best bitcoin HYIP investment company. One of the search results will be HotMoneyDog Platform. This platform looks very transparent in sharing about their trusted HYIP investment plan and seems to be a good HYIP investment sites. HYIP monitor 2020 disclaimer. We do not promote or own any HYIP sites. We can not be held responsible for any losses that may occur. All investments are made at your own risk. Use your own strategy. Please also know that investing in high yield investment programs can be illegal in some countries and states. We do not give any investment advice. Bitcoin Blockchain Network Services Limited is a registered corporation in the United Kingdom. We pride ourselves in opening our doors to the public who are looking for a residual income. Our company multi streams generation of interests through capitalization of blockchain projects which pay off a huge dividend at the end of each contract. Some bitcoin HYIPs will genuinely payout for a few hours or days; you’ll be able to withdraw your money, as new members are continuously joining because they hear a company is “paying out” Bitcoin HYIP Conclusion. Ultimately, the vast majority of bitcoin HYIPs are blatant scams. Most investors lose their entire deposit and have no chance These are current live hyip programs that accept BitCoin as payment processor, you can invest via BitCoin. InvestSpot is the best HYIP Monitoring and Rating website, providing the most reliable information about high yield investment programs and high RCB offers.