Thursday, 26 April 2018

Bunny Token – Vasilisa Yakubo appearance

A co-founder and the COO of Bunny Token, Vasilisa Yakubo, was one of those team members of Bunny Token that I suspected being a fake person. – And I still do. I think the evidence I presented and Bunny Token removing almost the entire team from its website afterwards speaks for itself. Many of the team members had also their Facebook profile page removed in an instance, including Yakubo.

However, the following three persons are still visible on Bunny Token's website: Alexander Maslov, Vasilisa Yakubo and Andrei Kazarin. Although their Facebook profile pages indicate that they are all fake persons, there might be a person matching the photo involved in Bunny Token.



I have searched the internet for Vasilisa Yakubo, but she really doesn't seem to exist outside Bunny Token. I tried also cyrilic version of the name, Василиса Якубо, which lead to only five search results on Google, all related to Bunny Token. I did manage to find her on Facebook page, but the content of her profile page was matching to all the other fake persons I found – and like already said, the profile page doesn't exist anymore. 

Nevertheless, Bunny Token has released a video with Vasilisa Yakubo featuring for "a tell-all interview". Well, it's rather a prewritten statement than an interview, and pretty far from telling all, but it does reveal that Yakubo apparently can't speak much English because the whole two-minute speech is in Russian. That's rather strange considering that Yakubo's Facebook profile and her CV claim that she has studied in Harvard Business School. I presume that they do teach in English in Boston. I guess Vasilisa Yakubo is a pseudonym then.



I have also asked Bunny Token on its Facebook page why they have a team of fake persons. I was not surprised that my comment was soon deleted by Bunny Scam instead giving any answers.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Bunny Token scam update – Staff cuts

After I made a post revealing that the team behind Bunny Token was full of made-up persons, there has been some severe staff cuts made. Almost everyone of the team has been deleted from Bunny Token's website except the three "founders" of the scheme, Alexander Maslov, Vasilisa Yakubo and Andrei Kazarin. I seriously doubt that these founders of Bunny are real persons either, but for some reason their faces remain for the time being.



Screencap from bunnytoken.com taken 11 April 2018. Click to enlarge.

Most of the made-up persons have also been removed from Facebook. At the moment only some of them still have profile pages available.


Some of the made-up persons have even given their ratings to Bunny Token on Facebook. – Kalla Baars, why only 4 stars? :)




Advisor of Bunny Token: "For me this not a scam."


BunnyToken Advisors. Click to enlarge.

I approached one of the advisors of Bunny Token, Alex Eikster, to ask whether he was aware of being involved. He was kind enough to give me a couple of short answers. 

According to Eikster he is not only aware of being an advisor but also knows the owners of BunnyToken. He doesn't consider Bunny Token as a scam. 

I wrote him about all the red flags and the team of fake persons and also asked who the owner of this business is, but Eikster refused to give any comments. 

Eikster: "I think all information about BunnyToken have on website." 
– Yes, I think I can agree on this. All the information needed is on the website.


Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Ice Rock Mining promises profits for a lifetime

Watching YouTube isn't like it used to be anymore. Getting force-feeded by ads that are promoting shady investing schemes is a new phenomenon. First there was the BunnyToken ad that got my attention, now there's Ice Rock Mining.



Ice Rock Mining has been advertising on YouTube and Facebook. In addition they have published several advertorial pieces and "press releases" on cryptocurrency related websites, for example on Cointelegraph and Merkle. Although these advertorials and press releases are paid content, they are easy to misinterpret as articles published by an author of the website. This is probably the very reason why various scams are nowadays marketing themselves via these platforms.

Ice Rock ad video on Facebook. Here's a link to the ad on YouTube.


Alexa.com shows that traffic to Ice Rock's website has rapidly grown, so the marketing campaign is likely paying off. The ad video on YouTube has already been viewed over 6.7 million times.





Mining for everyone?


Ice Rock Mining claims to produce significant profits from mining Bitcoin in a former Soviet military bunker due the relatively cold temperatures of the bunker caves and low power costs. The CEO of the company, Malik Murzashev, is said to own the facilities.

"Commercial Bitcoin Mining. 
Passive Income. 
Creating a New Capital Market"

There's also a confusing ICO (Initial Coin Offering) attached to all this. The ICO was started January 20th 2018 and includes a token called ROCK2. I have tried to figure this out, but still don't quite understand what is the purpose of this ICO with a future cryptocurrency that has no use outside the system. According to the white paper of the project "ROCK2 token is an Ethereum based token, which gives you the right to own a share of the profit in the project according to the number of tokens you have purchased".


FAQ – WTF?


The mind boggling FAQ section of the website tries to explain things with broken English:

"What's your ROCK2 token do?
ROCK2 token is created to calculate the share of investment in ICO. It will help you to get mined currency via smart contract. It is based on Ethereum ERC20 protocol."
– Yeah, but why do you need this kind of silly token system and what is the purpose of the ICO?

"Once the ICO is closed will your ROCK2 tokens be tradeable and if so where?
The price of ROCK2 on the free market will be very high because these tokens are the One Way ticket to Comfortable existence until the end of your Life. For now, we deal with etherdelta.com, later other big exchanges will list us."
– Comfortable existence until the end of my Life? Come again? And how on earth they can make such promises about the future price of ROCK2? It seems that they are just pulling assumptions out of thin air.

Although mining Bitcoin the company surprisingly isn't paying profits as Bitcoins. Instead ROI is paid via Ethereum, because:
"Payouts will be provided in ETH because we will use Smart Contract based on Ethereum platform, (it can show how much ROCK2 tokens each backer has) so all we need is to convert mined BTC into ETH and put it on the smart contract address. It will make automatic payment according to our business plan."

Turns out they don't even know exactly what does profit mean:
"Can you give me an example in dot point form please on how I will make money if I invest.
50% of the profit will be delivered to our ICO2 backers (holders of the ROCK2 token). Other 50% = 20% electricity and maintenance + 20% REINVESTMENT (buying NEW ASICS and fixing old ones) this part will help to serve and increase the capacity of Ice Rock. And your profit will increase every month + We get 10%"
– Dear Ice Rock Whatever, expenses and running costs aren't profit. This is basic knowledge of economics. Were these texts on the site written by an over-enthusiastic 15 year old?


Who are they?


The team presented on Ice Rock's website seems to be real. I didn't check all of them, but the most prominent ones of them appear on several videos and I don't think they are even using fake personalities.

Despite the project is seemingly transparent the companies behind Ice Rock are quite opaque. Digging up information leads to a p.o. box company who has been incorporated by two offshore companies.

The company in charge of Ice Rock Mining ICO is Woodland Networks L.P., a p.o. box company registered in Northern Ireland July 14th 2017. Woodland Networks L.P. was incorporated by two companies from Marshall Islands, Bondwest AG and Entervox AG, with a capital of 1.000 GBP. There wasn't information available of the managers of these companies.

I didn't manage to find information why a p.o. box company in Northern Ireland is needed for running the ICO. Maybe just to bring credibility to the project?


"Lifetime profit"?


The equipment the company claims to use for mining is Antminer S9, which is a state of art hardware specifically designed for Bitcoin mining. Based on many reviews online, currently Antminer S9 is the best and most expensive hardware available for mining.

Ice Rock published a video on their YouTube channel November 6th 2017 to show the first batch of  Antminers – apparently 25 pieces – they had ordered to be installed in the mining facility. One Antminer S9 costs about 2000 dollars/euros (according to the information by Ice Rock itself the price is 2300 U.S. dollars). So 25 pieces of them costs roughly 50.000 euros.


There are also other video material showing evidence that they actually have some mining equipment and the existence of the mining facility, the former Soviet bunkers. Whether the mining is actually happening, or whether it is to benefit their investors isn't clear.

A video clip published 27th of February 2018 shows a rack of running hardware. There's allegedly 100 pieces of Antminer S9's there. Overall cost of that hardware exceeds 200.000 euros.

Link to the video.


The equipment doesn't come free of charge, so the Antminers accumulate profit only after the investment to the equipment has been covered, not to even mention other expensess. Several reviews about Antminer S9 indicate that it could take several months maybe even close to one year to cover costs of those miners (Ice Rock is implying that their investors get their money back in 5 months). The amount of Bitcoins generated monthly can vary, the value of Bitcoin is highly volatile and the difficulty factor of mining is increasing so estimating profitability of a Bitcoin mining farm is very hard.

The website of Ice Rock has even a calculator for investors to calculate profits of different sums to invest. The FAQ section explains the suspiciously high ROI:
"ROI of 439% per year is easy to explain thanks to 20% monthly reinvestment which will increase the capacity of Ice Rock Mining farm. And we do not spend on cooling systems. That is why we are more profitable than other mining farms."
– Alrighty, what happens if and when you reach your maximum capacity? How many investors can profit from this? How can you ensure a continuous increase of capacity of the mining farm? What happens if and when the operation of the company turns out to be unprofitable? 


The profit calculator

The calculator has a pop-up window that includes the following text:
"Bitcoin mining is a highly volatile investment who's returns can vary drastically on a daily basis. Our calculations were made when Bitcoin price was $14,000 (USD). Other factors that cannot be accurately quantified such as network difficulty and hashrates will impact your returns. Neither we, nor anyone else, can guarantee returns, the above mentioned calculator is for information purposes only." 
– Yet Ice Rock promises profits for a lifetime with a lifetime contract.

You will have a lifetime contract with Ice Rock.



The video ad of Ice Rock is promising "lifetime profits", and yes, they have used caps for the word lifetime.


Conclusion


Ice Rock doesn't seem to limit the number of investors who can invest and profit from the mining. That been said, there's a strong odour of ponzi scam. The amount of investors they have attracted could have already greatly exceeded the capacity, which enables them to share promised profits to the investors.

All things considered I find very alarming the way Ice Rock is promising "lifetime profit" to its investors regardless the very high risks involved. The marketing campaign online and the business model requiring continuous growth shows strong features of a ponzi scam. Generally speaking this is not the way any legitimate business would be marketing itself or doing business.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Bunny Token marketing scampaign

In case you are new to this subject, I recommend reading first my review of Bunny Token scam here.




Although apparently launched only a month ago, Bunny Token seems to have been investing heavily into marketing itself not relying only spreading by word-of-mouth.

Usually these type of schemes use MLM based pyramid building, which is a cheap and very popular way among scams to spread their disease. However, Bunny Token doesn't operate using network marketing. It does have a referral program promising extra tokens which amount to 10 % of the investment made by referral, but other than that it seems to concentrate on preying on gullible individuals.

I find it surprising that Bunny Token has used substantial sums of money in marketing itself. The YouTube ad that I saw has been running since 23 March and it has already well over 1.7 million views. That's about 170.000 views per day. Based on a calculator available on Google AdWords, that requires an ad budget of around 2000 euros per day. There's also another video published a month ago on their channel that has about 1.4 million views.

What comes to the "expert reviews" referred on bunnytoken.com, for instance, publishing a press release such as this on Cointelegraph costs 0.8 BTC - that was worth well over 7000 euros at the time of publishing.

On the Bunny Token website there are also five individuals from porn industry introduced as "The BunnyToken Advisors". Apparently they have all given their permission to use their name and faces to promote the scheme. I would suspect that they didn't agree on this free of charge. Actresses Kira Queen and Eva Berger even appear in Bunny Token's marketing videos.







Considering that the Alexa rankings of bunnytoken.com are sky rocketing, the marketing scampaign of the company might be well worth all the costs after all. Regardless that most of the visitors in their website are likely just kicking the tires, there's a fraction that's gullible enough to invest. When that fraction is from millions of visitors, it's enough to produce profits for the scammers.





Who's behind all this?


The bottom of the Bunny Token's website mentions "Bunny Software LTD. Suite C, Orion Mall,Palm Street, Victoria Seychelles". Since the company is apparently registered in Seychelles, it's likely that we will never learn who is behind the company that launched Bunny Token. The founders presented on the website, Alexander Maslov, Vasilisa Yakubo and Andrei Kazarin appear to be fake persons that really don't exist.

That been said, it's easy for the company to just disappear when its time is due. There will be nobody to reach and nobody to sue.