Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Miner One in D minor




First of all, Miner One might not be anything illegal. It might be a perfectly legitimate way of collecting funds from gullible investors. That been said I personally see it as a very stupid investment and I also suspect that it's a ponzi scam.

Miner One touts itself as "The World's Biggest Crowdfunded Crypto Mining Operation". There's a huge slogan on the website claiming it to be the best Bitcoin investment. Below the slogan there's additional marketing pitches "Cutting-Edge Miners" and "World-Class Team". However, while writing this, there supposedly isn't any mining farm yet. Whether the team classifies as a world-class team is beyond me.

Like Ice Rock Mining also Miner One has an ICO attached to its project. So there's a coin to be launched but it has no other purpose but to be attached to the dividends of the future mining farm. Once again offering hefty profits from mining Bitcoin via mining farm doesn't payout Bitcoins. This would of course be very useful if there wasn't any actual mining happening, or if the mining wasn't significant in scale to provide enough profit to the dividends distribution.



The CEO and the co-founders


Pranas Slušnys




The CEO and a co-founder of this project is someone named Pranas Slušnys. Slušnys has appeared also in several videos by Miner One. Other co-founders of the project are Jonas Udris and Andrius Mironovskis.

Pranas Slušnys has a LindedIn profile page which presents a history of mostly CEO positions. Strangely there isn't a word about his education. He doesn't seem to have any cryptocurrency related history. 

What comes to his former businesses there seems to be at least one shady one. A company of Slušnys was providing website domains and payment portals to a travel agency Skrydžiai LT that has outraged its Lithuanian customers. According to a Lithuanian news source December 19 2016: "the company never states the final flight price, misleads the consumers by mimicking the official pages of Ryanair, Wizzair, airBaltic."
According to the article customers of Skrydžiai LT were charged much more than advertised, sometimes with over double rates.

When approached by Lithuanian journalist about the website misleading consumers, Slušnys responded:
"Sirio HRO and Business Consultancy FZE respects LR and EU law, cares about its customers and operates without violating Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) and United Arab Emirates laws."
– Well, I think not violating the laws of Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) wasn't much condolence to the mislead Lithuanian customers.

The article mentions:
"On the Internet, there are a lot of websites that resemble the official pages of Wizzair, airBaltic, Ryanair, but not authorized representatives of the company (wizzair-skrydis.lt, ryanair-skrydis.lt, airbaltic-skrydis.lt). They send newsletters with attractive offers to people's mailboxes."
– Yes, Slušnys or his company is the registrar of all of those domains. The domain of airbaltic-skrydis.lt was currently free, so apparently it had already expired or there was a typo in the article.  

In addition I found that Slušnys had registered also the following rather confusing domains:
ryanair-poleti.com
ryanbiletes.lv
wizzair-aviobiletes.lv

Well, what does this travel agency case has to do with Miner One besides having the name of Slušnys attached to it? The same company that was behind Skrydžiai LT's web domains, Sirio H.R.O and Business Consultancy, is also the company that is running Miner One.


Jonas Udris




Jonas Udris can be found on LinkedIn and he according to his profile page he has an education in law, which does match his position in Miner One as the legal counsel. He hasn't got much blockchain related history except a project called carVertical.

Apparently there was a ICO launched in December 2017. The ICO ended on 15th January 2018. CarVertical was presented as the "World’s First Global & Decentralized Car History Registry Built on Blockchain". It is supposed to bring solutions for all kinds of problems regarding getting information about used cars and their history. I think carVertical really just raises a lot of questions to which it has no answers to.


Andrius Mironovskis




Andrius Mironovskis can be found on LinkedIn. He doesn't have any information about his education visible. Besides being a co-founder of Miner One he's also in charge of product development – whatever that means regarding this... erm, product?



Miner One – in D minor





Screencapture from the website.


Miner One draws a picture of a Swedish based company by presenting snowy pictures of Sweden on its website and with a map of Sweden pointing at location of Luleå where the mining is supposed to happen. However, the company behind Miner One is Sirio H.R.O and Business Consultancy who is registered in Ras al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. I couldn't find any public registry to check out the existence of the company. Whether it exists or not, it's an offshore company that most likely has all its detailed information hidden.

To be fair, there is also a Swedish company involved, Greenbit Data Center AB, freshly incorporated in the early 2018. The purpose of this company is apparently to rent a facility for Miner One and handle other costs of the operation in Sweden. I guess it also brings more credibility to have a local company that can be referred to.

Miner One claims to have ultra-low mining costs due the northern climate that keeps their equipment cool. Well, I have lived about 20 years in a Finnish town about 200 kilometers to southeast from Luleå and I can say that it's not a winter all year around. I admit, it can be cold during winter but summer can be warm from June to August. Here you can check the weather history for Luleå. I personally think former Soviet bunkers in Kazakhstan would be much more believable environment for a fantasy of a low-cost mining farm.



False marketing


During recent months there has been a quite substantial advertising campaign in the internet by Miner One. I have bumped into YouTube ads on several occasions as well as ad banners online. Despite investing heavily on its marketing Minor One doesn't seem to have made it into news and there isn't much objective sources of information to be found. 


Miner One ad on Google.

There isn't anything wrong or illegal with a company or a project advertising itself. But there's a fundamental difference between legitimate businesses and scams what comes to marketing and criticism. Legitimate businesses don't have to lie and they accept criticism whereas scams can lie shamelessly and try to censor any criticism or belittle it.  

I had subscribed to the newsletter of Miner One to get the latest news of this project. On April 27th I received a newsletter titled: 
"Entrepreneur names Miner One one of "Top 10 ICOs You Must Invest In""
– That's just a blatant lie. Miner One had paid a third party Stankevicius MGM to release an article on Spotlight, which is a a platform  provided by Entrepreneur to its partners. There's a rather hard to spot disclaimer on Spotlight saying "Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur Spotlight partners are their own". Entrepreneur has nothing do to with the article.


A newsletter by Miner One lying that Entrepreneur names it as one of the top ICO to invest.


To test how Miner One handles criticism I posted the comment below on Miner One's Facebook page. I was not surprised to find out that the comment was not published. Neither did Miner One ever give an asnwer to my question.


A question never published or answered to.



Stankevicius MGM – Pay us money, we release your bullshit on Entrepreneur.



What about the mining farm?


According to the roadmap of Miner One, they should have already executed the first equipment order in April. The delivery of the equipment is mid June – according to the roadmap. The mining is supposed to start in July. However, during a live broadcast on Facebook on 12 April it turned out that there was no mining hardware ordered yet due "the unexpected and dramatic drop in Ether (value)". The team was planning to wait some more weeks before proceeding with purchasing hardware. I guess the roadmap isn't that accurate then and the schedule is pretty much pointless.


The roadmap of Miner One. The roadmap is promising first payouts already in August 2018, after only one month of mining.


The white paper of Miner One also mentions Miner One's “Cushion Effect”. That means that even if the value of BTC drops, investment in Miner One can still generate returns.
– It's like there's absolutely no way that Miner One could not profitable. I'm surprised they need crowdfunding for all this. How come their mining hardware distributor doesn't just provide all the equipment in exchange for a small percentage from the profits?

During the live broadcast of 12th April the CEO of Miner One, Pranas Slušnys, makes an interesting statement:
"Maybe we'll make a decision, and few weeks to change from Bitcoin to Ether (mining)."
– Considering that mining hardware that mines Bitcoins can't be used to mine Ether, this is a very strange statement from the CEO of this project that concentrates solely on Bitcoin mining in its marketing pitches. Maybe they should have prewritten everything Slušnys was supposed to say. 

Instead of making any announcements about hardware purchases, during the last weeks Miner One has been busy concentrating on sideshow nonsense and setting up a high-altitude hydrogen balloon to release it with a payload of Bitcoin miner. I guess that's the mining farm then?



Payout Calculator


Similar to Ice Rock Mining also Miner One has a ROI calculator on its website, which promises suspiciously high profits. The calculator by Miner One isn't as outrageous as the one of Ice Rock, but coincidentally they both use BTC value of 14K USD as the base of their calculations.


Invest 25.000 $ and get a hefty ROI of 157.000 $ in three years?


Conclusion


In my opinion Miner One is a ponzi scam. It seems to have attracted a lot of traffic to its website due the substantial advertising campaign still going on. As payments are made via cryptocurrency and the company running the show is based in the United Arab Emirates, there's is practically no risk to the gang running the show. This is a project that is safe to fail.



Miner One's advertising campaign has been attracting a lot of traffic.

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