When Bitcoin-based MMM global went bust last year and it’s founder Russian convict Sergey Mavrodi went into hiding, the debate around the alleged ponzi-scheme was robust. Many readers dismissed this claim and said it was still a going concern. Fast forward a year lear and recent MMM Global Facebook posts may fuel this fire further, as the scheme is looking to reboot itself with another Bitcoin-based currency – mavro-BTC. The reboot still won’t help previous rand-based investors, as the most recent ‘ponzi initiative’ was ‘reset’ after reaching its threshold. The article below, as the previous ones did, is a warning to potential investors, highlighting some of the key risks involved. And as the writing was on the wall the first time, one can expect a similar outcome second time round. But sometimes the allure of unrealistic returns gets the better of people. Remember forewarned is forearmed – ‘once bitten, twice shy’. – Stuart Lowman
Cape Town – MMM, the online Ponzi scheme that collapsed in South Africa and Nigeria in 2016, is attempting to reboot its scheme by offering a Bitcoin-based currency to all users around the world.
The South African wing of the Russian Ponzi scheme told members on Facebook that “due to the recent sharp price fluctuations of Bitcoin, mavro-BTC is being introduced in the system”.
This won’t help members trying to withdraw their old rand-based mavros, which were “reset” after the Ponzi scheme reached its threshold in 2016. MMM South Africa blamed its system’s crash on a media campaign to shut down the Ponzi scheme.
However, it keeps telling its members to be patient. “We are all waiting for orders to be dispatched, which will happen when programmers are finished updating the system with new mechanics.
“As for old mavros, they are being paid, but not as fast as expected since the system is being upgraded with new mechanics, the mechanics will be tried and tested but after that all will go back to normal,” it said in a Facebook post.
However, Facebook user Alkyda Snow wrote this week: “I wish I could trust (MMM). The way it went away with my thousands, it almost put me six feet underground. Out of… nowhere they called it ‘old mavro’.”
Facebook user Julia Modise wrote this week: “… fully paid orders are still frozen and no new orders have been released since November”.
On January 8, MMM introduced its new mavro-BTC to its global community.
It told members that in the past, “your Bitcoins… were recalculated into the South African rand at the exchange rate at the moment of providing help, and you were credited with mavro-rand…
“Now, you have a chance to have 30% growth of the Bitcoin amount, not the rand amount.”
The new currency is being advertised to its members around the world, including Japan, China and Mexico, as well as in Nigeria – where the scheme also collapsed in 2016.
Sad truth about mavros
Creating one global currency is another attempt to grow the online Ponzi scheme, while ensuring domestic issues, like what was experienced in South Africa and Nigeria, could be avoided.
Because it is not linked to the global financial market – it is simply an online points system that can be converted into real money – it is hard to ever truly shut down the scheme.
When the Ponzi scheme reaches its natural pyramid threshold, MMM simply freezes or resets the pay-out system until new users are added or people start providing money again. That makes this scam very hard to ever shut down completely.
We want to assure Nigerians that MMM will be back 14th January 2017. Nigeria's Ponzi Scheme Organisers claim.
— Kayode Ogundamisi (@ogundamisi) January 2, 2017
This means that while members have an opportunity to make high levels of profit off the scheme, there is also a high chance they could lose all their money. In addition, there is no way members can legally challenge MMM to get the money back, as it is unregulated and deemed illegal by the government.
These are the lessons learnt from MMM’s operation in South Africa.
Last version of mavro-BTC crashed in 2016
Last year, Fin24 reported that a similar global initiative – MMM’s Global Republic of Bitcoin – had gone bust.
“We regret to inform you that we have to close down the Republic of Bitcoin. It was an experiment, and, unfortunately, it failed,” the last Facebook entry on MMM Global Republic of Bitcoin states. “We turned out not to be able to pay 100% per month.”
Meanwhile, a website linked to MMM that published fake news in South Africa has closed down due to non-payment.
News24 requested the website be pulled down in 2016 after it published a fake story saying Fin24 apologised for “blackmailing” the MMM scheme.
Fin24 published a series of stories on the topic, raising the ire of thousands of MMM members who were profiting off the scheme. – Fin24