A Nod To 360Trader: “As genuine a guy in crypto as you will ever find…”

**In the midst, or even apex, of a bear market, finding a voice of reason is essential. This guy is not only a voice of reason but a true crypto believer who has remained positive, upbeat, and adding to his crypto holdings as the market has gotten crushed. You’d do well to listen and learn on a daily basis.**

360 Trader wants to find a way to help you have a better day. Whether it be a newly discovered ICO, a piece of crypto education, a Periscope, his own curated art, or a motivational post to help get you through the week. In other words, the guy is a credit to everything that is good about the crypto community. Genuine, authentic, empathetic, and always looking for ways to invest in the people of crypto.

His specialty, currently, is doing deep dive evaluations of revenue-positive ICO projects. Understanding where management is going, and why they have chosen whatever path they’ve decided to walk – and does it match up with a values set that makes sense for a wider crypto audience. He sees dozens of projects a week, but keeps his public comments to a small subset of projects that he believes are worth his followers’ attention.

Compare that to the likes of dozens of crypto shills that have now been found to be frauds as the bear market has stripped them of any cover. There is no comparison. In fact, in action and conversation, 360 is the anti-shill. That’s a good thing.

One of 360’s 2018 projects was accepting submissions from individuals in the world of crypto that have a special life story and how it relates to the crypto community and all it offers them. The winners of this contest received real crypto donations directly from 360 himself. In other words, a HOPE project. Instead of stories of LAMBO’s and tossing money around like it means nothing, these are stories about hard-fought realities, tough lives lived, sick children, failures and victories, and how these people have connected hope to the crypto community. It is truly inspiring.

As judges in this contest, and beginning to read through some of these stories, it brought us to the reality of 360’s work and it’s incredible genuine principles. Money can be made just about anywhere in this space. But where are your motivations coming from? Reading these articles bring home the truth that crypto is better served as a space of hope and opportunities for financial freedom, rather than twitter fights and ego strokes.

This is the space that 360 is attempting to place himself and it is enormously noble. His motivations seem to be incredibly pure, transparent and aligned with the founding principles of the crypto movement. Freedom, inclusion, and a readiness to help those that need it the most.

Keep your eye on everything that 360 does, people that need hope and inspiration, are themselves an inspiration to others – and they don’t even know it yet. They will soon.

Great work 360 – never stop doing what you are doing. @360_trader

KING OF SHILLS: Roger Ver Continues His ‘Anger Quest’ To Shill Bitcoin Cash To Relevance

Roger Ver doesn’t actually like you. He just wants to use you. And everyone on Bitcoin.com, Bitcoin Reddit, or any other such media entity that he has bought and paid for to ‘shill’ you into believing that BCH is the real BTC.

He does mainstream finance (Bloomberg, CNBC, FT, WSJ) interviews hoping to spread his version of the gospel that a fork of Satoshi’s sacred vision is somehow better than the original itself. And he brings with him a merry band of lawyers and trolls that will blow up your world if you dare to meaningfully disrupt his quest.

It is hard to find an equivalent to Roger in the modern economy. If we could find such an analogy we’d surely print it. Maybe a Gordon Gecko? Nah. He was fictional and a pure opportunist, not an evangelist. Or how about Bernie Madoff? That’s a no-go as well. Bernie was a serial liar and thief. Certainly no ‘core belief’ thumping preacher of some sort of financial theology.

But that is what Roger seems to be. A television evangelist attempting to sell you a better version of the truth. If we could only see it the way that he does we would all be set free!!! He will even go to great lengths to create the illusion of communities of scale, fervent followers, and a network of use cases that, as he would like us to believe, are the original vision (but only better) of Satoshi.

If you once held the title of ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ it isn’t a bridge too far to believe that you actually are, but your corrupt vision somehow offers more benefits and opportunities. Stop here if you are disinterested in theology, but the attack on the throne has been attempted for millennia and ultimately ends in the demise of the attacker. Old Testament, New Testament, Kings, Queens, Prime Ministers, President’s, CEO’s, and on and on and on.

When you attempt to be the fake version of something or someone and take the mantle away from a true original (Bitcoin), you are destined to fail.

It is why it makes his quest and total commitment to his cause almost fascinating if you can stand to look at it for more than a few minutes.

Every single day Roger finds a new way to shill BCASH no matter the loud chorus of longtime originalists who mock him incessantly. It is almost admirable to watch him spit into the wind the way he does. Almost.

But then he runs a conference scam in Asia and everyone is reminded what a douchebag he is; or pops off on Twitter in the same way and creates another embarrassment for himself. All the while being completely unaware (or uninterested) in how the rest of the crypto world views his need for attention and validation. Pride never fails to create the worst version of ourselves, and in this case, his Bitcoin Cash quest is doing just that.

We don’t get Roger Ver. Not at all. A Bitcoin millionaire (maybe even billionaire at one time?) eschews the legacy of respect and gravitas that could have been his as an association with the earliest of days of the movement, for what? A bigger booth at the alt-coin conference?

Strange. Strange, indeed.

***a little birdie told us yesterday that BCash could end up forking itself as there are divisions between two rival factions connected to Roger and the other connected to Craig Wright. Wouldn’t that be ‘just deserts’ – yep.***

MASSIVE SCAM: Philakone Impersonators Using Telegram To Steal Millions From Crypto Investors Desperate To Recoup Losses

When it comes to crypto social media and the scams that have come and gone over the past 24 months, this one strikes us as the most brazen and elaborate that we’ve seen. Sure, Bitconnect was a disaster and a public disgrace, but this particular scam is granular and has taken in hundreds of unsuspecting investors searching for help and hoping they’d find it in a well-known crypto analyst personality.

As we’ve combed over documents, listened to investors tell their stories via telephone, evaluated emails, viewed exchange wallets, and engaged in Telegram discussions/screenshots, we’ve been struck by the sheer cold natured execution of the scam and the enormity of assets that have been amassed via this scam.

The number is more than $2M in crypto and fiat dollars. More than $2 million dollars. As of this writing, one wallet that we have seen and verified has more than $2 million in assets in it after having funneled amounts ranging from $10,000 – $111,000 in $BTC to the wallet over the past four months.

Here is a breakdown of what is (still!) happening and what we’ve uncovered:

  1. Impersonators and using the likeness, Twitter posts, and ‘cut and paste’ language of PhilakoneCrypto in a Telegram channel. Fake Philakone Telegram Channel
  2. The Telegram channel is specifically set up to look as if Philakone is running it.
  3. It is also set up in a way that makes it seem as if he is chatting, posting, and engaging with users on a daily basis.
  4. Users in this Telegram service are invited into a private group that costs $100 in crypto per month. (Usually requested via an Ethereum payment).
  5. Once they’ve paid for the private group they are offered a ‘signal service’ that can assist them in making money via “my calls” (Philakone’s calls).
  6. Once a victim has agreed to this arrangement via email (screenshots to follow) they are asked to make a minimum deposit into either a Binance or Bitfinex account in the amount of $10,000 via $BTC.
  7. Once the deposit is made the amount that was deposited immediately disappears into a Binance account.
  8. The ‘Phil’ that was sending emails and promising signals and calls that would either make back money that has been lost in the bear market or provide guidance in the maze that is crypto trading disappears. Never to be heard from again.
  9. The victim then sends email and Telegram messages for days begging to know what is going on, where their money went, and what has happened.
  10. The victim is then left realizing that he has been scammed and frantically searching for ways to get his/her money/crypto back. Law enforcement is of zero help.

And this is where we come in and where the story gets even more interesting.

A middle-aged man in England attempted to track down his ‘investment’ into this scheme and was at his wit’s end. So he contacted us. He was ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that Philakone himself had scammed him of $10k in $BTC. Convinced.

Here is a quote from the victim we spoke with: “The deeper I get into this the more dumbfounded I am by the elaborate nature of this. I was convinced. 99% convinced that Philakone had made off with the money. Taking my almost $10k in $BTC. Totally convinced. The language in our messages and emails sounded exactly like him. But as I spoke with you guys the gaps started to add up and now I am even further amazed at all of this. The accounts didn’t match up when I went back and looked (Binance, BitFinex). And the lower number of members in the Telegram group that was pointed out. Honestly, it is embarrassing in a number of ways. Ultimately I wanted the story told because there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of people falling for this type of stuff. I mean, I am an educated, middle-aged, business owner and I got taken on this one. And to be clear I have no interest in hurting anyone’s reputation or their work. I just ultimately would like my $BTC back. I doubt that ever happens. It is gone. I guess I am just as confused and dumbfounded by all of this today as the day I realized it happened. One point I would make about the idea of regulation – this is the sort of reason why regulation needs to happen now. This kind of episode needs to be stopped in some way.”

We had numerous conversations with this victim and feel for what he has been through and what happened to him. He had emails, Telegram screenshots, his Binance account screenshots, wallets with his money and the scammers’ money in it. Emails with the name ‘Phil’ in the signature. An email address with the name ‘philakonegroup’ in it. Convinced that he came upon this group via Philakone’s twitter feed and YouTube feed. He even showed us screenshots of the coursework that Philakone has put together that came from the Telegram group.

For almost a week, as we poured over the data, the wallets, the emails, the links, the messages, and the transactions something didn’t feel just right. Why would Philakone be interested in taking $10k in crypto from a random fan when he has a wallet with more than $2M in it? That didn’t seem to make sense.

Other items began to look and smell a bit funny. Wallets attached to Philakone’s steemit accounts and classes on Udemy didn’t match the wallets used to pay for this service. And why did the Telegram group, that looked almost perfectly constructed and executed as a Philakone endorsed or managed service only have 1,356 members?

Those strange occurrences changed the narrative and led us down a rabbit hole that is a significantly larger problem for crypto than one person or another attempting nefarious activity of sorts.

A group of black hats across crypto are engaging in mass levels of impersonation on what we would call ‘alt-social media’ sites like Discord and Telegram and stealing huge amounts of money from unsuspecting investors. (We realize that Discord and Telegram are well known to anyone in crypto for more than a couple years, but to ‘noobs’ they are not well known).

**A note of interest here – we DO NOT believe that Philakone is in any way attached to this Telegram group or any other such group that engages in this sort of activity. Whatever you believe about Philakone and his ‘style’ he is not a thief. And we took significant time and effort to be able to confidently absolve him of any involvement here.**

The Telegram screenshots that we’ve amassed are very, very convincing. If you don’t figure out on the way into the fake Philakone Telegram channel, you most certainly won’t realize that you aren’t speaking to the real Philakone. The language and discussion, from an actual Telegram account with the name ‘Philakone’ on it are exceedingly well executed, as far as scams go.

**More…and dozens of screenshots on the following page.

Really?! It Looks Like Justin Sun Has Been Buying Twitter Likes And Retweets

This is weird. And it also looks legit. In several screenshots sent to us by a plethora of Twitter users, the numbers connected to retweets and likes on Justin Sun’s Twitter account show a clear pattern.

If you know anything about purchasing followers on twitter (a big no-no amongst the crypto Illuminati), then you probably also know that you can purchase engagement stats as well. The same companies that will sell you followers (bots and fake accounts) will do the same for your engagement stats for any tweet you’d like.

Now, if you’d like to somewhat mask this tactic and paid for engagement you have to purchase both likes and retweets. And if you do this consistently you are probably going to get away with it. But if you choose to only buy one or the other, the engagement stats will schew heavily one way or the other and you’ll get caught.

Especially if you are a famous account connected to a top 25 market cap cryptocurrency. Enter Justin Sun’s twitter account and the following screenshots:

Let’s take a step back for a moment. Is it possible that some sort of magical hacker got into Justin Sun’s personal twitter account and purchased only retweets to make him look bad? Yes, that is a possibility. But an enormous long shot that we find incredibly improbable.

Take a look at previous tweets with ‘balanced’ engagement. Spotting a trend here? See below:

We’ve lauded the marketing abilities and leadership of Justin Sun on these pages. We’ve even been accused on ‘pump and dump’ activities based on the ‘irrational exuberance’ of some of our articles. Justin and his team do a phenomenal job of staying in the news and making weekly announcements attached to $TRX.

But this one looks and feels like a bit of a black eye. Several days ago each tweet received nearly identical engagement stats. Now, the retweets significantly outweigh the likes. If you know anything about Twitter,  that isn’t how organic engagement works out.

Decide for yourself, but this one just doesn’t smell right.

Verge Rumors Swirl Regarding Timing Of XVG Debit Cards And New Partners

After Litecoin and TokenPay made their announcements earlier the Verge community began to speculate about the timing of their own debit card initiative. The Verge team even passively made mention of the incoming payment platform and seemed to bless its imminence.

 

The Verge team has never, ever been shy about potential partnerships. (**wink, wink**) So this particular post makes it clear that an announcement of an announcement could be in the offing. In fact, one could call the above tweet a pre-announcement of an announcement of sorts.

We did a little bit of digging with a couple of Verge sources and this much we can tell you. We don’t have a date, we don’t have confirmation of specific partners (other than the obvious TokenPay tie-in), and we don’t have secondary confirmation of the info that we did get from those sources.

But this is what we got: both sources believe that the Verge debit card will be rolled out before the end of September. That could mean tomorrow, late August, or all the way up to the last day in September. But both were adamant that by the end of September there would be a branded Verge debit card available to the masses and $XVG bag holders.

Both sources also classified the tweet today as a “strategic and cryptic tease for what is to come”, and know who approved the messaging within it.

As far as new partnership announcements to coincide with the debit card launch – we got silence in return. Take that however you want…either they don’t want to tell us, or nothing is planned.

TokenPay, as a Verge partner, will play a central role with any debit card product and handle all of the transaction volumes as well. They are a trusted vendor (the only?) in this space and continue to rack up partnerships of their own. The Verge team trusts them implicitly.

Bottom line – the Verge tweet is simply a harbinger of what insiders speculate is a September announcement of their own debit card; which will function much like the Litecoin product.

BUSTED! Ian Balina Was Never Hacked; Receives Tokens In Ether Wallet He Claims Was Compromised

Sometimes, in crypto twitter, you shake your head and proclaim “you couldn’t make this shit up”. That is exactly the kind of story this is. You couldn’t make this stuff up. Just because of its sheer stupidity.

Ian Balina received Quarkchain and Mainframe tokens into the same ether wallet that he claimed got hacked and then transferred those tokens to his Binance account.

https://etherscan.io/address/0x9f3d63c00830741cb73fab5319cd2b1b8a025457#tokentxns

Like we said, you can’t make this stuff up.

One of crypto twitters well known ‘sharp eyes’ caught it and put out a tweet late last night calling him out. Here is that tweet:

So let’s get something out of the way here – anyone who is serious about crypto knows that Balina is a clown show. But the jury was out on whether or not he was a fraud and scam artist. This stunt proves that without a doubt.

Whatever his reason for executing a scam/hack – be it avoiding taxes, dumping on his followers, or just begging for more attention – he’s proven himself to not only be a clown show but a first-rate fraudster as well. And we haven’t even touched the quick and dirty deposits into his Binance account shortly after these tokens were deposited to the allegedly hacked ether wallet. Shame.

He’s also proven himself to be enormously ‘unintelligent’ when it comes to this particular scam and the hack he alleged. To keep the same ether wallet in circulation is famously stupid. So stupid that it falls under the “you can’t make this stuff up” category.

If you hadn’t already figured it out, Balina’s opinion and ‘expertise’ should be removed from your crypto feed as quickly as possible. Dude has been proven to be a certifiable fraud.

If You Haven’t Noticed, John McAfee Is Losing His Damn Mind!

John McAfee has always been crazy. Drugs, firearms, small armies of gunmen (err…bodyguards), admitting to penultimate levels of shilling, and dubbing himself a ‘Svengali’ of crypto. When you dub yourself anything it automatically qualifies you as self-indulgent at best, and psychotic at worst.

He’s been involved in significant legal entanglements up to the point of being accused of murder. He riggled himself out of that one but has essentially admitted to ‘taking people out’ at different points since then.

Just last week he either overdosed or was poisoned by a staffer of some sort. You do the math on that one. It felt like an unnecessary stunt of some sort created to bring daily attention to ‘Team McAfee’ in a down crypto market.

His tweets are weird and often cryptic. His associations are questionable. Oh, and he has declared his intention to run for president in 2020.

Which brings us to his latest stunt of calling out exchanges. (Which already feels like a backdoor money grab in some way – so don’t be surprised if that is revealed at some point.)

Exchanges can be called the lifeline of cryptocurrencies, with the increasing popularity of all sorts of altcoins and more enthusiasts wanting to invest and make money from trading in these non-fiat currencies. McAfee recently posted multiple tweets targeting HitBTC, which created yet another stir in the crypto community:

Some of the tweets from McAfee attempted to explain the reasons for his attack on HitBTC:

“I fired the first shot in the war that must be fought. Our exchanges are connected to our banks and our governments. To take down the entire system, we must first take down our exchanges. Distributed exchanges are coming. I have singled out @hitbtc because they are the worst.”

“@hitbtc I will be your worst enemy until you prove that you are aligned with our community and are truly interested in helping the poor. You have not done shit to help access the only free healthcare in the world.”

Shots fired. However indiscriminately – still, they were fired. This seems to be McAfee’s chosen ‘modus operandi’ when picking up a new battle/cause for the week. After repeated tweets from McAfee, HitBTC finally responded with a post stating “get well soon John, your friends at HitBtc”. The HitBTC team later posted another response justifying their prices and the way they have designed their algorithm. The team also asked McAfee to advise them on this issue and directed that “most of the exchanges” face the same problem.

Here was HitBTC’s explanation:

Anyone notice how significantly more reasonable their response is than McAfee’s initial accusations? Of course, you do. McAfee seems to struggle most significantly with boredom (or the constant need for attention) and engages in unprovoked exchanges. This one qualifies as the back and forth continued.

McAfee replied by asking the team to concentrate on the redressal bit of the issue that is prevailing. He also mentioned that they have “unjustly subjected docademic” which has resulted in the death of “unknown number of people”. Huh?

HitBTC operates from an “unknown location” and have already been subjected to a number of complaints directed towards “accidental coins loss claims”. In 2015 the exchange was hacked, which and did not reveal how many coins were stolen and stated that “no user funds were affected”. So they’ve got issues of their own.

Where this is headed, who can tell? Probably nowhere and will prove to be another misinformed McAfee adventure. There won’t be any lawsuit from McAfee or any other action. Just some ill-timed tweets published to gather attention.

Another day, another bizarre McAfee adventure. The crypto community could do well to identify a more appropriate and better-mannered spokesperson. McAfee isn’t doing any of us any favors.

 

 

Dead Weight: Are You ‘HODL-ing’ Cryptos That Are Certain To Fail?

There is a reason that they are called ‘shit-coins’. An estimated 1,000 cryptocurrencies projects are lacking any development or future activity in their protocol, and have, among themselves, raised billions of dollars worth of BTC and ETH.

While global law enforcement may have scrutinized hundreds of token issuers to determine their legitimacy, amateur investors were largely oblivious to basic due diligence and made a million dollar investments in coins’ whose names are enough to ring alarm bells – including CryptoMeth, and Snowballs.

Think about the truth of that for a minute. Those names were clear scams and jokes, yet used euphoria, FOMO, and a raging bull market to scam investors out of their money.

Reasons for closure range from the common exits scams, website closure, and abandoned code to deliberate pump and dump, malfunctioning wallets and alleged death of project developers.

Aaron Brown, a business markets author for Bloomberg, lent his insight: “There has obviously been significant fraud and hype in the ICO market. I have seen 80 percent of ICOs were frauds, and 10 percent lacked substance and failed shortly after raising money. Most of the remaining 10 percent will probably fail as well.”

As reported by multiple outlets in May, research by Satis Group concluded that fraudulent ICOs raised over $1 billion in 2017, with over 271 analyzed companies rife with questionable operations, plagiarized white papers, and impersonated team members.

Additional research by the group indicated only a paltry 8 percent of cryptocurrency projects make it to reputable exchanges after their ICO.

EIGHT PERCENT!

Bear markets prove the be the grounds that wash this type of garbage right down the drain. As investors get slammed with 70-90% losses, they take seriously what they are invested in and why in the world should they wait out any coming recovery.

Gone are the short days of ‘when moon sir’ and ’10x – 100x’ claims on crypto twitter. Gone. What is left is a raging pile of garbage and another pile of gems. Figuring out which projects belong in what pile is the task at hand.

You may think that being a ‘bagholder’ sounds cool and like a great idea – but if that bag is filled with a scam coin, a dead protocol, or abandoned code – your bag will soon be just as foul as what it may be currently holding.

EMBARRASSED: Verge Pornhub Partnership Turning Into A Joke; Tron And ZenCash Now Accepted

Justin Vendetta: “This is the biggest partnership in crypto history!”

Narrator: “It was not the biggest partnership in crypto history.”

Verge bagholders keep getting handed new levels of shit to deal with – and several levels of embarrassment. Forget the hacks, the ‘copy and paste’ fixes to said hacks, and getting trolled by porn stars.

Now, porn aficianados have several different cryptos to choose from when PAYING for their porn.  Tron and ZenCash have been announced as crypto options on Pornhub.

You shouldn’t have to look too far to understand how these two new options occurred. The Verge hacks played a major role in adding more stable coins to the porn network.

Oh, and as far as we can tell (as of press time) neither Tron or ZenCash has to pay millions to seal the deal with Pornhub. In fact they paid a grand total of zero dollars. Verge paid nearly $10MM. Yikes.

What a mess Verge is at this point. Their market cap has essentially gone straight down since the Pornhub announcement. Sure, so has every other alt-coin, but we were promised the ‘biggest partnership in the history of crypto’ sir??

We have no idea where $XVG goes from here, but you might do well to spend a few minutes honestly evaluating whether or not a management team with this track record is worth your capital. Simple answer – no.

Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO: When $100MM Isn’t Enough, Just Beg Coinbase To List XRP

Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO, keeps embarrassing himself and his brand. You may think that’s a tad harsh – but we don’t. When you take to the airwaves to beg Coinbase to list your cryptocurrency, $XRP, it is an embarrassment.

When you do so after offering Coinbase $100MM worth of $XRP and have been rejected despite that outlandish sum – it is an even bigger embarrassment.

Sure, Ripple has a meaningful product that facilitates banking transactions – but please, stop the whining.

Ripple has developed valuable partnerships with banks across the globe. Many of these financial institutions make use of the Ripple ledger to facilitate cross-border money transfer operations. As such, Garlinghouse believes it would be in the exchange’s best interest to enable XRP trading on the platform.

Recently, Coinbase announced that it would be opening a new office in Japan — where XRP is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies. Most of the prominent virtual currency exchange platforms list Ripple as part of their supported trading options.

Recently, SBI launched Japan’s first ever bank-owned digital currency exchange platform with an initial focus solely on XRP trading. Offering support for Ripple could conceivably be a viable way for Coinbase to gain a foothold in the Japanese cryptocurrency market.

Part of the reason for Coinbase’s reticence is based on the lack of regulatory clarity surrounding Ripple.

In March 2018, the platform dismissed speculation that it was set to list XRP tokens. Instead, Coinbase said that it would only deal in cryptocurrencies that have been declared not securities.

The debate on whether XRP is a security or not has raged on for most of 2018. Recently, William Hinman, a top official of the SEC said: “Systems that rely on central actors whose efforts are a key to the success of the enterprise would be subject to [the] application of the securities laws.”

Ripple owns the majority of XRP tokens, and the company maintains considerable control over the cryptocurrency, leading many to conclude that it isn’t decentralized. Thus, there are concerns that the SEC might classify XRP as a security.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse disagrees with those who believe that XRP is a security, saying: “I think it’s really clear that XRP is not a security. I don’t think that our ownership of XRP gives us control. Saudi Arabia owns a lot of oil—that doesn’t give them control of oil.”

According to Garlinghouse, the Ripple ledger is entirely independent of the company. Thus, the blockchain would continue to function even if the company failed. Furthermore, unlike stocks, XRP tokens serve a technological purpose — but do not provide the holder with a stake in Ripple, as a company.

Recently, Ripple enthusiasts brought up a 2015 FinCEN ruling appears to classify XRP as not being a security. The SEC has yet to provide any official statement on the matter.

Ripple has declined steadily in 2018, dropping by more than 86 percent since the start of the year. XRP hasn’t broken through the $1 mark since the beginning of March and is currently trading at 50 cents.