Tuesday, November 21, 2017

An Honest Look At USI TECH

Disclosure: Most articles which publish 'reviews' of a MLM scheme are in fact not honest, but rather a sales pitch dressed up as an independent article. This is not the case here. You will not find any referral links (hidden or otherwise) to USI TECH in this post.

I have no problem with people advertising a service or product that they don't own and taking a cut, referral fee/bonus or affiliate commission when a genuine product is being sold and the process is fair and transparent. This is typical in the sales industry.

There are some multi-level marketing (MLM) sales systems which take this a step further and allow you to not only take a single cut of a products sale, but also allow you to bring in other participants where you would take a small cut of their sales too and of those they recruit (typically receiving a smaller share with each level down the chain).

At this point such a sales system can start to become risky and detrimental to the end buyer. The more people who are receiving a cut, the more profit you need to pad into the price. So chances are the end buyer is not receiving a very good deal if the cost of the product they purchase is paying a commission to a number of parties further up the chain (see image above). Also the end buyer is often recruited into the structure to try and sell the product themselves. It is not very different to a pyramid scheme, however there is a product or service involved even if it doesn't represent good value.

Have you heard of cryptocurrencies (referred to from here on as cryptos)?

Cryptos already have a number of very real risks for investors:
  • Their performance can be very volatile with regular 30%+ falls.
  • Exchanges have collapsed taking investor funds with them.
  • Code has gone wrong making it impossible to sell cryptos in a wallet.
  • If you forget your private key the value is lost forever.
  • Many of them are poorly coded or offer no real advantage over their peers.
And this is barely scratching the surface of the risks involved with buying or owning them (though I do believe the technology will be used in everyday life down the track, so there are reasons to speculatively own some).
Now imagine an MLM sales system was applied over the top of this highly speculative financial sector (cryptos). There are a number of 'opportunities' popping up in this space (another example is BitConnect), including one that seems to be increasingly popular in Australia, USI TECH. I have now been approached by at least half a dozen individuals to check this out and thought I'd take an opportunity to share some research I have done and my thoughts. I also welcome your comments below if there is anything I have missed or misrepresented (I am only using publicly available information).

What does USI TECH offer? Earlier in the year and last year they were selling a software package for automatic FX trading, but in March 2017 started offering 'Bitcoin Packages'. Effectively my understanding is that you transfer 50 Euro worth of Bitcoin (the first crypto) to their system and then they start trading it on your behalf. The claim is that their trading can return 140% return on capital at ~1% per day (advert spotted at a supermarket):

Typically such a return would be indicative that it is a HYIP (high-yield investment program), basically a type of ponzi scheme.

It is very unlikely they will be able to return such a consistent figure over the long term. There is no magic automatic trading system that can make you a fortune like this.
"There seems to be a never ending stream of investing scams that are rolling out these days. Automated investing combined with FOREX seems to be the sweet spot. Add a dash of Bitcoin and the story is complete. Take something that few people understand and automate it. What could possibly go wrong?" USI-Tech Scam? Yes It Is In My Opinion! - Ethan-Vanderbuilt
In fact, Bitcoin has actually risen 6 fold since they launched their Bitcoin packages, so chances are you would have outperformed their system simply by buying and holding Bitcoin directly (at least over the last 9 months).

USI TECH attracts people to this platform not only through the return, but also by offering very attractive commissions to those who want to sell these Bitcoin packages (and a recently announced 'token') to others through their referral system.

The token they are selling is dubious at best. They intend on turning the token into an ICO (initial coin offering) in the future. They have dubbed it TechCoin (Code: UTC), despite there already being a crypto by that name and another using that code.

Typically when an ICO launches they will release a whitepaper beforehand, which will detail how they intend on spending the funds, why their particular brand of crypto is superior or what it is for. To date there has been no whitepaper released publicly by USI TECH. I read they were going to release it after 500 million of their tokens are sold... why wait? Why would anyone buy this token without understanding any value it provides or what it will ultimately be used for?

The way they have structured the token sale is to incentivise both a large purchase by the buyer as well as for the referrer to push for large sales as they receive higher commissions.

The largest package you see above is Diamond for a cost of 10 Bitcoins (roughly A$109,000 at today's price).

USI TECH is suggesting they have a lot of other activity going on in the background such as the purchase (or hire?) of crypto mining rigs that are generating them income and the patenting of a machine that is supposed to reduce their mining costs substantially, but scratch under the surface and this looks like absolute nonsense (via Scam Hilarity: Suspect ponzi claims to be mining bitcoin w/ perpetual motion engine):

Being presented by people who simply don't have the qualifications or public history to confirm they know what they are talking about.

Further red flags appear with the business being based out of Dubai:
"A PO Box corporate address in Dubai is provided by USI-Tech. However beyond laundering investor funds, it’s doubtful USI-Tech has any physical operations in Dubai." - USI-Tech Review 2.0: Forex auto-trading dropped for bitcoin Ponzi
They also have some questionable people involved, for example one of the founders:
"Jao Severino (JOÃO FILIPE FERNANDES SEVERINO) has been barred from financial activity in Portugal because he was involved with another scam called AMC INVEST. AMC Invest offered 10% interest per month on investments and it ended up scamming hundreds of people before it was taken down by the authorities. People were arrested for this scam."
To wrap up:

* As far as I can tell the people involved don't have the appropriate experience (e.g. equipment rental manager presenting ‘revolutionary power technologies’) or have been involved in HYIP/pyramid schemes in the past.

* They have made outrageous claims about the technology they own... think about it, if they really had a machine patented to reduce the cost of electricity for crypto mining as they've described, why would they waste their time with doing so when it would have real world applications that could be worth a lot more.

* They're selling tokens which will eventually be exchanged for coins.. so they say. Which exchange is going to accept them? What real value will these coins provide? How does it differ to other crypto out there? Which reputable crypto specialists do they have designing the coin? Where is the whitepaper?

* They are promising returns that simply can't be replicated over the long term. My expectation is that they are paying out any current returns from new investors' money or from money collected from selling the tokens and from their mining rigs. They are probably relying on a lot of investors "reinvesting" their returns. These schemes (HYIP) can operate as long as they have enough new money coming in to cover any money going out. If the incoming money stops/slows, it will eventually collapse.

* The smallest Bitcoin packages are not that expensive, but this TechCoin is trying to bring in investments of tens of thousands of dollars through the way they have structured the bonuses.

Some further questions to ask USI-Tech if you are considering an investment in their scheme:

Why are they using this patented power technology for such a low potential opportunity, why not just sell it for billions of dollars if it works as they describe?

Why can't they release the whitepaper for the ICO before launch like any reputable crypto operation?

What are the names of the crypto specialists working on TechCoin and how can they be contacted?

When can we expect an external audit of the trading they are doing?

USI TECH is likely to go the way of the last ponzi I covered on this site, Royal Silver Company. Buyer beware.


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