An Ethereum Mining Phone Scam?

The most recent post on the Bitwings Medium page is titled “Why have ICO Projects Failed?” That is rather ironic because Bitwing ICO seems to be among those that may be classified as failures, considering the shiftiness of the people behind it.

Thrice have they postponed issuing of tokens and the release of the device that they used as a bait in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors. Their reason for the postponement ranged from Covid19 pandemic to building a new blockchain.

This is despite the fact that the Jun/July 2019 planned date of the initial launch had nothing to do with the pandemic. Also, the project stated in its whitepaper that they would launch on the Ethereum blockchain.

They have taken money from investors and suddenly turned around to want to build their own blockchain, Wingchain because the Ethereum network won’t be able to accommodate a phone-selling dApp?

Bitwings is a project that launched its ICO in 2019. It made waves by promising investors that it would sell a phone that would mine Ethereum for their owners. The phone, MinePhone WX would generate up to 2 ETH for their owners in a month.

The buzz around Bitwings was such that many bounty hunters promoted it, creating awareness that made investors buy into the project. A year later, the magical phone is yet to be received by some investors that pre-ordered it. Neither has the team distributed its token, BWN to investors and bounty hunters.

 There are hundreds of ICOs that came up with unrealistic projects in the bid to raise money. These were mostly ignored, but there are others that have smartly come up with projects that made investors bite the bait, only for the projects to end up as exit scams.

Minephone WX

According to the company’s whitepaper, the phone which costs between $900 and $1,200 or 6000 BWN has the capacity to mine Ethereum for their owners, depending on the stage of the ICO they participated and invested in and the mining plan they bought.

The basic plan which is free, would yield 0.2 ETH at 100 MH/s, the Professional Plan needs 4 ETH to activate and has 300 MH/s capacity. Team Plan that needs 8 ETH to activate has mining capacity of 600 MH/s while the Enterprise has 1000 MH/s capacity. To activate this plan, the phone owner would cough out 13 ETH.

A close look at the phone shows that there is nothing particularly spectacular about it. It is common knowledge that phones are not meant for mining. In fact, no manufacturer would encourage using their mobile device to mine cryptocurrencies since this would rather overheat and shorten the lifespan of the device.

A Suspicious Proposition

Mocacinno, a mining expert from BCT said that the claims of the company are unrealistic and suspicious.

Regarding the project, he wrote:

“The table says it all… If this table is placed on their website, they’re trying to scam. A phone with those specs having a hashrate ~3 times higher than a rig with 13 GPU’s…. Not even taking into account the ridiculously low power draw…”

Unrealistic Promises

It is surprising that there are many investors that do not conduct due diligence before putting their funds in random ICOs characterized by glamor. And the Bitwing team did a good job in marketing and promoting the ICO. There was even a live event in Barcelona where they had a stand at a fair and exhibited their “Ethereum mining phone” for effect.

It is possible that the participation of the team at the Mobile World Congress contributed in convincing many investors that this is a real company that could deliver on its promises.  

On their site, Bitwings stated that customers who pre-ordered the phone would have them delivered in 60 days. That was in July 2019. 15 months later, no orders have been filled. Rather the company has been giving excuses.

Doubtful Link with Wingsmobile

It is not clear if this project has links with Wingsmobile, a mobile carrier based in Spain. What we observed is that David Gonzales who was listed as Network Sales Director, but has now pulled down his LinkedIn profile is an Affiliate Director at Wings Mobile. His wife is also listed in the Bitwings website as Virginia Albelda. They claim she is “Social Media Wing”. Thanks to Talkstar of BCT, we know that the image used in listing her came from her husband’s Facebook account.

ANN Bumping

Do you think that a project like Bitwing will deliver on their promises? The company is using a bumping service to create a buzz around their ICO. This means that the people behind it are reasonably dishonest. Yet they could lure in many investors.

The BitWings’ YouTube videos we learnt from Malboroza, are also full of fake reviews by paid shills . This is not atypical of how scams operate. What is obvious is that the people behind this are not even pretending that this would be a ponzi scheme. We may witness an exit scam with Bitwings.

A company that promised that pre-ordered phones would be delivered by September 1 if payments were made before June 30, 2019, but has not delivered a single phone cannot be said to be trustworthy.

Even though they’ve probably raised more than $500,000 and are still milking their Latin American audience, there are strong doubts that this ICO won’t turn another exit scam.

Isn’t it astounding that despite the many viable investment opportunities out there, that people still fall for the many ponzis and scams in crypto space and elsewhere?  

Author: Jofor Humani

Jofor is a crypto journalist with passion for investigative review of projects with the aim to determine the authenticity of their claims.

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