When you search BTCONE on Google, it’ll show a popularity not expected for shady Ponzi scam such as this. The reason is that there is a more popular project that bears a similar name – Bitcoinone.
Ordinarily, Bitcoin is abbreviated as BTC among many in the crypto community. This is clearly why Google is mixing up the two project invariably giving scammers behind this project an unexpected exposure.
For the avoidance of doubt, Bitcoinone is a crypto project that has a listed cryptocurrency on Coinmarketcap. Information available to Cryptoinfowatch states that the coin may soon be listed on Mercatox.
A Variant of A Legitimate Domain
Obviously the scammers behind Btcone are aware that the domain would ride on the back of Bitcoinone to get traffic. This is why it is important that you know what projects that you are investing in. You especially have to crosscheck using your browser to make sure that you are on the right site.
The crypto project that the Btcone.co scam took advantage of was announced in June 2018. The scammers followed up with an October 2018 registration. It could be that this was when the scammers knew about the project and used their knowledge of SEO to leverage the traffic that similar domains could benefit from.
The domain btcone.co is operating a stealth fraud. You need to visit the site to understand this. For instance, it is obviously a professionally built site which shows that it was not set up by amateur scammers.
Unlike most cloud mining scams, btcone.co directly asks the user to input their wallet and start mining. When this is done, the user sees counter that creates the impression that mining is going on showing them the volume of bitcoins “mined” for them.
This would be in satoshis and at this point there is a prompt by the site for the investor to upgrade if they wanted more “mining power”. Obviously with the minimum withdrawal pegged at 0.05 BTC many would be tempted to upgrade thinking they would actually make withdrawals.
In any case, scammers have been known to pay early investors so if you got paid there is no guarantee that means that you’re dealing with a legitimate business. The target of such scams is to bring in more users through their affiliate program.
User Must Upgrade to Earn
There are various upgrade categories; these are Crab, Fish, Shark and Whale requiring 0.009, 0.05, 0.2 and 0.8 BTC respectively to purchase. Expectedly, each plan has expected daily return ranging from 0.00025 to 0.038 BTC.
Like all cloud mining scams, it emphasized affiliate referrals promising returns of 10 percent to 18 percent depending on the plan the affiliate bought. Obviously everyone is expected to buy a plan to start earning. On top of the home page prominently displayed is “You should upgrade your plan to get 0.038 Bitcoin per day”.
Who is Behind Btcone.co
The domain was registered by Namecheap Inc, on October 31, 2018. It seems that the site was set up on December 27, 2018.
The owner didn’t give their personal name and the Panama address is possibly from an SSL protection.
What is Btcone?
According to the website, Btcone is a leading global mining company that has been in operation since 2015. This is evidently false as seen from whois search. This type of schemes would readily have provided evidence if they could prove that they are genuine cloud miners.
Now consider this claim seen on the site:
“We welcome new investors every day. We continue to service over 850,000 users from all over the world and we pride ourselves with world-class customer service.”
This is contrary to the evidence seen on the site. The site traffic analysis seen today shows that it is no way close to that figure.
Interestingly, a scan of the displayed wallets shows that payments were sent to these wallets although a close examination of the blockchain transactions shows that the payments did not emanate from the same wallet.
Why Btcone.co is A Scam
Claiming that it has been operational since 2015 when it just launched its website in December 2018 shows that the people behind this scam are eager to create impression that it has a reputation as a company that has paid investors for months.
The fact that different wallets are making the payments on the displayed on the site does not prove much. Scammers pay early investors in their quest to encourage them to refer others. This could be the plan of Btcone.co.
Unverified Payment Claims
That the address receiving the payments 33bBuebXhDiDJ1JhHKBptE3TdWJ8PA…. is not used in making any of the displayed investor payments shows that this is another scam. The displayed transactions are unrelated to the address and from my understanding, the scammers are pulling txids randomly from blockchain and displaying same on their website as payment to their investors.
Site Targets is Referrals and Upgrade
The so-called miners create the impression that they are mining for every account but prompt them to upgrade to earn more. This is the strategy employed by other Bitcoin scammers such as Bitcoin generators. Btcone.co is not really very different.
According to the site,
“We at BTCone aims to be the world’s leader in cloud mining by utilizing the most dynamic Mining Pools and focusing on the best paying cryptocurrencies.”
Miners Rarely Need Referral Investment Like Scammers
Mining other cryptocurrencies and making some profits is a possibility. But sharing that profit arbitrarily is suspicious because there is no reason for them to. If they have the capacity to mine all that crypto, they would keep the profit and wouldn’t need new investors to send them any money.
Moreover, they claim to have mining farms and offer cloud mining services, a rarity in the industry. Perhaps the secret to this very smart-looking scam can be found in what the scammers posted about the project:
“BTCone is a group of experienced professionals in software development, industrial designing, server engineering, and data analysis with a passion for excellence that believes in the power of the team, integrity, and leadership.”
This is no doubt the reason they built a site so convincing that even a skeptic can be fooled. These are no wayside scammers, but experienced programmers using their skills to steal bitcoins from the uninformed.
Anyone investing in this scheme should know that it has been programmed to last until the scammers are convinced that they have enough bitcoin deposits. At this point, they’ll likely shut down stealing investors’ funds. Every high interest yielding Bitcoin investment is clearly scam and should be avoided.
For a service that has built a reputation over many months, check this.
You may share your experience with Btcone.co in the comment box below.