I got TRON’d: The TRX Fiasco

TRX & Investors

I don’t normally get this upset. The last time I was this upset, was with FINOM (which I still don’t have my tokens for and may never, and no help from their support or the creator).  I’ve also reached out to the TRON Team and it doesn’t look like there will be a response.

TRX is moving, to Binance.  On April 15th they made an announcement that they would be moving to their own blockchain. They told their Tron investors to move their now useless tokens to Binance, or risk losing their investment.

Migration will occur on June 21st-June 25th.

“you must deposit your TRX to an exchange before June 24, 2018 to avoid any losses”.

This is a quote I pulled from  tron.network and it’s not on the homepage, you have to click on TRX to learn this.

That is extremely dire and stressful when you’ve come upon this after the fact.  I was frustrated to see this, and I’m not alone. There is apparently a lot of frustrated investors venting at Justin Sun on Social Media that demonstrated a lack of respect and care for us investors.  The announcement back in April made no mention of the exact process or even which Exchanges would support this process. To add insult to injury they are causing a direct loss since we all have to pay fees to the Ethereum Network and Exchanger to get our real TRX and if you have get a TRX wallet, pay to take TRX out again.  Whether you have 1 TRX or 120,000 it is yours and they should be protecting your investment and you as an investor and they’ve clearly failed.

I suspect it is completely intentional as this will free up a huge amount of supply once they say “sorry you weren’t watching our social profiles 24/7 your TRX tokens are worthless it’s your fault” which is essentially the response of TRON shills at the moment or that “Binance is EOY”.  EOY (End of Year) is still not a lot of time, but the ‘kind shill’ who told me didn’t point me to where he found this information- just randomly saying that Binance announced it. Oh, so another place I have to go find information from just to figure out how to protect my TRX investment.

Then more assuringly they say “If your TRX is held in a wallet and you were not aware of the migration notice, or saw the migration notice after June 25th, please visit our permanent token-exchange counter to exchange your tokens for Mainnet TRX.

Great!. Where is the permanent exchange counter?  There is no link or information readily available.  I’m sure some shill will point out it is probably buried in some other URL but non-shills or 24/7 supporters like me, shouldn’t have to go through all of this.

Tron-TRX-Scam-Screenshot at 2018-07-09 10-33-34

The Shills & Supporters of Tron
When you go on social media to find information directly and vent your frustrations with the lack of care Tron team put into securing investors money, you’re automatically hammered by shills who think that Tron is God and they did no wrong.

Unsurprisingly, me and others who complained were berated:

Tron-Reddit-Shill

I don’t think they got the point that “normal” users and investors shouldn’t need to watch all of Tron’s myriad of social accounts and websites constantly to avoid a loss. Tron isn’t the only coin I have invested tons into, and cryptocurrencies aren’t my only investments. I shouldn’t have to worry that if I don’t pay attention for a couple of months, my investment might disappear because Justin Sun struck up a pump deal with Binance.

The shills and supporters completely devoid Tron of any wrong, and insist Justin Sun did what was mutually right for Tron and for Investors…How? By screwing investors, that’s how. By forcing us to move to Binance and lose money in doing so, where the potential for scams, fraud and hacks to happen, increase.  All the while Justin Sun’s team could have made a registered account system with the millions of ICO money he collected by Investors. The registered account process would have eliminated any risk of fraud, money spent, and saved time for both TRON and Investors. On top of this, there would be NO potential risk of losing your Tron Token.

The Tron dogs focus only on the sole responsibility of the investor to be watching all of Justin Sun’s and Tron’s multiple social media platforms and websites, instead of calling out Tron’s incompetence and lack of respect for the Investors. It’s this general acceptance of ‘disrespect’ is why cryptocurrency teams do not feel responsible to do the right thing for the Investors, but for themselves.

Conflicting And Incomplete Information
Every one of Tron’s sites has conflicting or incomplete information.  We shouldn’t have to go digging to learn that Binance supposedly honors this until the end of the year (2018, which I learned from a Reddit user, he couldn’t point me to where he got that information from though).

I think common sense says the communication was horrible on this one and they’ve made it a lot more stressful and difficult than it had to be.  This shakes investors like me very quickly since there are so many scams even with ‘good ICO projects’.  It doesn’t matter if it’s “Justin Sun” behind the project, in fact it makes it worse.  How is he managing any of this if this is the best he can do?

The Tron supporters who ignore these glaring responsibilities that Tron has to its Investors, reminds me of Bitconnect. Many people called it out for what it was, a scam and pyramid scheme, but Bitconnect shills and supporters ruthlessly defended it as a trustworthy project.  Bitconnect, unpredictably came to an end.  It was a coin that produced nothing and who’s sole value was derived from shills who pumped and dumped it as part of the pyramid scheme/scam. Making millions and screwing real investors in the process.

The shills would have you think something is wrong with you for being upset or out of the loop for a few months but clearly there has been nothing but confusion and frustration since the start of the very unclear path forward:

Justin Sun Announces Tron Migration, Confusion Reigns

https://medium.com/tron-foundation/trx-migration-notice-34de281ebbbd

I’m not saying TRX or TRON is a complete scam but it operates in a very shady way in my opinion.  I’ve taken a blasting by their supporters (AKA shills who find it unreasonable that I am not on multiple social platforms every day glued to see if I can potentially lose my investment).  That’s ridiculous and I don’t think anyone should accept this.

On top of this, I and many Investors do not like keeping things on Exchanges where hacks are often. If you have never lost from a hack, then you don’t know what it feels like, so I’d like for you to sit back down. But Luckily there is a TRX wallet at least to move your real TRX to once you have moved it to Binance.

So Why Did Tron Do This?
Here’s what happened.  In April the Tron Team announced the move to MAINNET or essentially their own cryptocurrency blockchain separate from Ethereum tokens (the worthless ones they gave us in place of the real TRX).  I think it’s wrong to do it this way, since their website has a dire prediction that if you don’t move your tokens to an exchange like Binance, then you’ll lose your investment because they are literally burning and killing the Ethereum tokens they sold you.  What if you don’t have Binance or can’t get on? They didn’t take that into consideration or care.

This is completely wrong!

The Way It Should Have Been Done?
They should have registered all of their investors and token holders in their own system and simply e-mailed everyone or based it on the Ethereum blockchain token holders.

It’s like the bank telling you they closed your account, now you have to exchange all your money for real money at a cost to you, and you should have known because you should have been following their multiple social profiles and websites, all with differing and conflicting information.

Yes, Tron’s literally telling Investors ‘ you should have been able to piece it altogether after some detective work because we struck a deal with Binance and couldn’t be bothered to make a registration system, which would have been at no cost to you and at no risk to you….And yes Tron supporters are literally saying this with gusto, even hashtagging Justin Sun to garner attention for their undying and blind support.

The Good News Though?
It looks like you have until the end of the year with Binance to do this, but as mentioned their site says if you didn’t do it in June you’re done for. So if you haven’t done it already, do it now. Since I don’t like keeping stuff on Exchanges, I’ll be moving it into a wallet quickly.

It’s really simple, all TRON had to do was create a unified system that would just directly e-mail their users this information.  They surely collected enough of our coins to the tune of millions to have the resources to make that system. Besides that, I think a few months is completely inadequate notification. What if someone went overseas or on vacation?  I imagine there will be some in this category who come back in 2019 and ask how their TRON tokens disappeared and they didn’t get their TRX.

I think it could be argued it was ill-thought, ill-mannered and essentially negligent to force users to move their tokens with such short notice.  If they were going to do it this way, they at least should given an unlimited amount of time to exchange the worthless Ethereum tokens to the real TRX.

Justin Sun
This move is a a huge security issue.  How on earth do they go and ask people to move their tokens to an exchange where they could be hacked?  How about all of the typical phishing scams which I am sure we will see, that will be tricking people into sending their tokens and coins into the hands of hackers.  By encouraging people to only go on Social Media which is insecure and commonly hacked, it is simply inexcusable that Justin Sun’s team would do things this way.  The website doesn’t make things clear enough and it should be the main or primary source of easy to find information about these issues.

I think people look too much at “Justin Sun” is behind this and don’t actually look at how the project is being managed.  It’s definitely lost my confidence now.

I do think TRON is a good project and a good idea.  Will it last and succeed? Maybe and I hope my investment will succeed.  But it reeks of the typical issues that a lack of common sense is being used to handle the very basic aspects of this project. Not to mention of lack of respect for the Investors, and anyone who calls them out is automatically bashed, or accused of spreading FUD.

Cryptocurrency companies and teams have to start valuing the investor and do things in a simple and common sense way that protects us and makes us feel confident in our investment.  TRX has lost my trust over this and clearly a lot of others who are frustrated (at least the normal ones who don’t monitor the TRON social accounts 24/7).

The future is bleak for Tron if this kind of ‘care’ is given to investors. But I’m hopeful that this will be the last time something like this will be handled in such a poor way.

The Truth About Laundering Bitcoin

It’s The Same As Laundering Fiat, Just Smaller.

CCN.com reported that CipherTrace released their Q2 2018 report that noted the rise of cryptocurrency crime, money laundering and other illicit activities. One particular glaring item was a $1.2 billion figure, that had been laundered through cryptocurrency tools such as Bitcoin Tumblers and privacy coins like Zcash and Monero.

Now this isn’t really news. We already know about Drug trafficking busts, weapons and human trafficking busts, which the different levels of the US government have made on the dark web. But what this is suggesting is that not only is crime up using Bitcoin, but ransom is also up. And it’s implying that it’s only happening to Cryptocurrencies and not really happening to such an extent to Fiat- which is incorrect.

The Problem
The problem I have with CipherTrace’s reports and other reports of such nature, is the idea that only cryptocurrency is used to do crimes. Now the report isn’t suggesting that, but it’s implying it. Fiat money has been doing daily orders of crimes for decades. Just recently a large scale report in British Columbia revealed that the Liberal government looked the other way while criminals used casino’s to launder millions of dollars- literally duffel bags of $5, $10 and $20 bills, and the casino staff were told to turn the camera’s away. The government let this slide, even the RCMP, because it created a booming economy in B.C. The results cost lives and livelihoods:

“At an event Wednesday to release the report, Eby said money laundering in casinos was linked to the opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives and to escalating housing prices that have made life unaffordable for British Columbians.”

Which is serious considering houses that should actually be worth $500,000 are now worth over $1million in a mere 6 years.

Fiat’s Way Worse
Fiats been used to launder money, crimes, wars, arms deals, genocides, human and sex trafficking of children and much more for decades. Anyone willing to stop investing in real estate because of the money it’s laundered? Anyone willing to stop using a bank because of their very real crimes of over charging people on transactions and NSF’s? Anyone willing to stop paying their government taxes because of their illegal invasions and human rights violations?

NO? Well stop complaining about crimes with cryptocurrency. Its not good and slowly a system will be created to hopefully limit such crimes. At least cryptocurrency will grow and smooth this out, Fiat money has had decades to fix their crime issues, and now it’s 2018 and nothings been solved.

Just because cryptocurrency is being used by ‘some’ to do terrible things doesn’t mean we all are- the majority aren’t. The ugly truth is that crime happens, and we can’t really stop it, whether it’s with cryptocurrency or not. Some will argue and say ‘well it’s easier now with privacy coins’ and they aren’t wrong, but these ‘privacy coins’ can be watched for the most to see where it’s going. Eventually they’re going to need to collect the value of those coins, and undercover government Exchanges on the dark web will nab them, and then collect those coins for their government wallet (valued over $40 million). Read my “Dark Web Bust” post for more details.

Then there will be those who say ‘well you can’t compare fiat and cyrptocurrency as a proper excuse’. Yeah actually we can. Because most people who do cryptocurrency aren’t criminals. The biggest criminal we have in the crypto scene is probably George Soros who was responsible for the Asian Financial Crisis- he was never held responsible, never faced any criminal charges or jailed. He continued on, making his millions. He suspiciously entered the crypto world just after Dec 2017 highs….not sure if there’s a link, buuuut that is for sure a link….

Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Have Value
If old socks become a hot valued commodity, guess what, they’re going to use it for crimes. Criminals only use things that have value, well cryptocurrency has value, just like fiat and that’s why it’s being used.  Love it or hate it, cryptocurrency is not going to die. You can argue that Tokens and ICO’s will (if they haven’t already) die, but the major players like Bitcoin, Monero, Dash, Dogecoin (yes even Dogecoin) Litecoin and even the expensive gas induced Ethereum, will last.

Bitcoin isn’t all just crimes. Just like Fiat money isn’t all just crimes. Keep that in mind when you’re thinking FUD thoughts.

Cheers,
A.Yasir

BITCOIN’S VALUE WAS FRAUD?

 The Coordinated Manipulation
According to research done by Professor John Griffin of Texas Finance, last years epic rise for Bitcoin was actually done by coordinated market manipulation.

Professor Griffin goes on to explain that he examined millions of transactions on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, and says that “the US dollar pegged cryptocurrency Tether was used to buy Bitcoin at the times that the latter was falling- which helped ‘stabilize and manipulate’ the price”

First I’ll explain what Griffin’s said, and then I’ll explain why he’s wrong about Bitcoin but right about Tether. And it boils down to his understanding of how Exchanges work and how Bitcoin works.

Griffin said “Fraud and manipulation often leave footprints in the data and it’s nice to have the blockchain to track things,” Griffin told CNBC. Whenever bitcoin fell, Tether was used to buy it to prop up the price again.

“It was creating price support for bitcoin and, over the period that we examined, had huge price effects. Our research would indicate that there are sophisticated people harnessing investor interest for their benefit.”

Bitcoin started 2017 at below $1,000 and by Dec 2017 hit 20,000. But as if February to June 2018 it’s been jumping back and fourth from it’s lowest at $6k to the highest $10k (which didn’t even last)  Tether is the 11th largest cryptocurrency and is pegged to the US dollar. Some critics say Tether owners don’t have enough fiat currency to back its $2.5 billion market capitalization.

Bitfinex CEO J.L. van der Velde told CNBC that neither the exchange nor tether helped to boost bitcoin prices. “Bitfinex nor tether is, or has ever, engaged in any sort of market or price manipulation. Tether issuances cannot be used to prop up the price of bitcoin or any other coin/token on Bitfinex,”

Now here’s what I think:

I’ve personally used Tether but I do worry about it. A lot of people have accused Tether of fraud, and Tether certainly hasn’t proven the naysayers.  Do they have the 2.5 billion USD and how are they raising funds?  Essentially as far as I can see, Tether is a non-backed, way of essentially printing virtual USD.  I think Griffin is way off on this one.  USDT (Tether) is a convenient trading pair that can be used with some of the top cryptocurrencies to trade and exchange directly for other coins.

The issue is that a lot of people don’t realize most tokens and currencies are not directly convertible or tradeable for others on exchanges.  Generally you’ll have to sell your ABC alt-coin or tokens for Bitcoin, or USDT and then use the major currency you sold or exchanged to buy say another coin such as Ripple, Litecoin, Lisk etc..  So this is where USDT comes in, if Griffin thinks it propped up Bitcoin I think he is misunderstanding how the exchanges work.  Yes a lot of people are using USDT to buy other currencies but is USDT a market factor?  No, I don’t think so, it’s just simply convenient and I agree with Bitfinex that it doesn’t appear they are using it to prop up Bitcoin.

However, USDT could not be used in such a way if it wasn’t given prominence and primary trading pairs like Bitfinex and other major exchanges have used.  Could some of the exchanges be in cahoots with currencies like USDT and others?  Absolutely, and this is the more likely scenario of market manipulation in the sense that they essentially largely control which currencies fail and flourish.

Any coin that is used as a primary trading pair or in other words directly convertible has more value and will intrinsically be used more as a vehicle to buy coins like Bitcoin.

I think Griffin just raises the simple question about USDT being a fraud and this is the biggest concern but I highly doubt USDT’s existence or trading patterns are responsible for Bitcoin fluctuations directly.  He may derive this from trading patterns but I really just think USDT is a convenient and easy to understand intermediary trading pair vs how you wrap your mind around how many BTC another coin like Ripple, Ethereum or Litcoin is worth etc…

What do you think?

Cheers!
-A. Yasir

Federal Reserve Says Bitcoin Cannot Replace the US Dollar

The new chief of the San Francisco branch, of the privately held, Federal Reserve Bank has stated that Bitcoin cannot, and will not ever replace the US Dollar.  First of all, they are doing a fantastic job and understand their market and duties.  They cannot step into this job and say anything else and expect to keep it.

I get it, Bitcoin is printed without supposed backing, although it is backed by a lot of physical hardware assets and electricity.  Fiat currency, especially the US Dollar is printed and floated without any controls or restrictions.  Well, actually, the only control and restriction is that there is none.  The Federal Reserve prints at will and on demand, without limitation or backing of any sort, and they have long abandoned the gold standard.

The fact that the Federal Reserve would comment at all on this matter and mention Bitcoin, to me, is very telling that it is very much a possibility.  When you have this much money put into something that is being traded worldwide, every second, and such an ecosystem I think it is an excellent contender to the US Dollar and fiat currency in general.  Remember, fiat is backed by nothing as well and printed without any limit.  Most cryptocurrencies actually are limited in how many coins can be mined or minted at any rate.

Cryptocurrency is currently at a $421 Billion USD market cap and I think it won’t be long before it is in the trillion dollar range.  This is ultimately the worst nightmare for any central banker with so many competitors, of course your number one priority should be outlawing them and shutting them down.

On that end the Fed is right to do it and is doing their job well.  However, for people who don’t essentially control the fiat financial system, we would do well to root for cryptocurrency as an alternative system.  I think both systems can survive and work together, but if fiat pushes it too much, I think there may be a digital currency revolution that far surpassed the digital rights movement of the late 90s and early 2000s that caught the RIAA and MPAA by surprise.

ICOs Still Going Strong in 2018

Despite the slow start and bearish sentiment of the cryptocurrency market this year, apparently ICOs have been going strong.  Various reasons are plentiful for why the ICO market remains this strong and it has me scratching my head.

Some say that serial investors are cashing out and then reinvesting into new ICOs.  Others say new investors from outside the traditional cryptocurrency world are coming into the market.

I am not sure what to think, as someone like myself is shying aware from most ICOs based on my experience that I feel 99% of these are scams and won’t ever deliver anything.  I think most of them are the next dot bombs and it is absolutely right to panic and sell these worthless Ethereum ERC20 tokens.

In ICOs the traditional due diligence is simply not enough.  It is easy to weed out people without IT or business experience.  And from that you have to weed out who has valid experience and qualifications?  Working for big name companies does not make you qualified to deliver on an overly ambitious project, but it does of course help attract investors.  I’ve seen enough big names including the Telegram ICO to be unimpressed (the Telegram ICO tells you to send money and then e-mail them to confirm the transaction……..how on earth will they build a proper blockchain if they can’t make their own API for transactions?).

Sorry for the rant but seriously what is driving the ICO market despite all the bad news?  I suspect it is people in the cryptocurrency world and I suspect they are miners who are thinking “my coins aren’t worth that much at the moment why not invest some of my spare ones into ABC scam ICO in the hopes that it grows and acts as a hedge to my underperforming cryptocurrency”.

That’s the best I can do and I suspect that is what is happening.  There are of course the institutional and whale investors who play a role but it’s unclear to what extent.

FINOM ICO Review and Regrets

This was a very expensive ICO at $2 per token.  It supposedly includes a NOM and FIN coin for each purchase.  So far there haven’t been many real updates about when we’ll receive these tokens.  All I do know at this point is that one of them will be locked for a year.  The cost was very high so I certainly hope this wasn’t a scam designed to collect a large amount of coins (as many ICOs are).  I hope they will go ahead with their projects and that this coin will return well.  Since the price was so high investors now have extremely high expectations over more reasonably priced ICOs.  Can the team deliver or do they even care to?  Time will tell but if my experience with an overpayment is an indication this team may not be honest or trustworthy as is the case with the majority out there unfortunately.

I’m a user of Nanopool and that’s how I found this ICO but I am already having regrets but let’s get into what FINOM claims to be.

They claim they merged the 3 projects into what is called FINOM with Mining (Nanopool), Cryptonit (their own cryptoexchange) and, Tabtrader (Banking).

I know nothing about the other projects but Nanopool works well.  What’s weird and good is that Nanopool seems to be Chinese based since it has an ICP license.

The troubling part is the question is who is really running these projects and company?  It’s not clear, they claim to be from Switzerland yet Nanopool is a Chinese website so there is Chinese ownership.  When looking at who is behind Finom most of them appear to be extremely young people.  The issue for me is why did they register in Switzerland when the entire team seems to have no connection there?  Was it to artificially build trust?  This is concerning because as far as I can tell they all really appear to be based in China and other parts of the world so why try to hide this?

Screenshot-Nanopool - Mozilla Firefox

Why am I upset?

Well first of all I feel silly but frustrated with Ethereum when I was trying to send to this ICO the Ethereum network was “congested” as it often is.  When I was trying to send I kept seeing in the console that the transaction was rejected so I kept trying.  However I didn’t realize the Ethereum wallet doesn’t show pending transactions and may attempt to send more ETH than your account has if you keep sending small amounts that are pending.

I ended up sending more ETH than I intended to them which are of course worth far more now.  I opened a support ticket explaining what had happened only to be ignored after several attempts:

 

FINOM-Scam

After a month of waiting for support I e-mailed the “hello@finom.io” that they encourage you to use on their website but that didn’t work.

Then I started getting SPAM from the owner who appears to be overseas and thought I’d reply directly to the owner.

Finom-KirillSuslov-Support-Scam-Ignoring-Investors

Unfortunately like most crypto projects and companies they are always content to collect your coins, they’ll SPAM you and create an impression that they an honest and community driven project but usually it couldn’t be driven further from the truth.

Experiences like these drive investors like me to not only become frustrated but we become less likely to invest in new projects going forward.

It’s hard to tell skeptics concerned about scams and fraud that it doesn’t happen or to justify that “most ICOs and most crypto players are honest” when in terms of IT, support and communication I haven’t seen anything more arrogant or dishonest than experiences like these.  It’s a world where our IT projects and clients would not tolerate this treatment and it’s only a matter of time before investors vote with their wallets out of both genuine fear and frustration.