Millions of Nigerians turn to the MMM ponzi scheme for economic relief. Mavro coin is a scam. Central Banks are addicted to cutting interest rates. The next chapter in the IRS v Coinbase saga. Airbnb CEO may consider Bitcoin integration for 2017. India Today creates a Reefer Madness-style anti-Bitcoin video that is both funny and terrifying. The Harvard Business Review talks about the future of blockchains. We discuss Bitcoin’s technological evolution and focus on how blockchains will see growth that more closely mimics a cellular organism than a digital construct. Randy talks about his experience solo mining & pool mining Zcash.
All this and more on the Neocash Radio podcast, episode 188 — Wednesday December 28th, 2016!
We’ve written out short overviews of the topics discussed on today’s show below! Be sure to listen in to the whole podcast to get more information, insights, and thoughts on each of them from JJ, Darren, and Randy!
Stream this podcast episode:
or Direct Download the podcast as an MP3 – Neocash Radio episode 188
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|Traditional Markets||Crypto Markets|
|Gold $1,142||Bitcoin (BTC) $970|
|Silver $15.98||Litecoin (LTC) $4.37|
|Oil $53.62||Zcash (ZEC) $50.70|
|Dow Jones 19,833 points||Ethereum (ETH) $7.55|
|30Y UST Yield 3.094%||DASH $10.22|
|Euro (EUR) $1.04||Monero (XMR) $14.10|
|Chinese Yuan (CNY) $0.14||Augur REP $3.33|
|British Pound (GBP) $1.22||1 Doge = 1 Doge|
Millions of Nigerians participating in 27-year old Russian “MMM” Ponzi scheme find their accounts suddenly frozen
It’s hard to believe that people have not learned to stay away from Sergei Mavrodi and his decades-long track record of collapsed pyramid schemes under the MMM banner. Beginning in Russia in the early 1990s, the Mavrodi Mundial Movement (MMM) Ponzi scheme collapsed in 1997, leaving millions of MMM users without access to their money. Mavrodi would spend over four years in prison, but began new forms of his scam in 2011.
MMM-2011 and MMM-2012 were new versions of the Ponzi scheme, but what has set these apart from most other elaborate Ponzis is that Mavrodi is very open about MMM’s nature: “This is a pyramid. It is a naked scheme, nothing more … People interact with each other and give each other money. For no reason!”
MMM bills itself as a mutual-aid society, where new members “assist” older members by paying a fee to join. Older members are allowed to withdraw money after a certain period of time, and receive bonuses for encouraging others to sign up. Users “provide help” to another user and receive a balance of virtual currency—called “mavros” or “mavro coins”—which MMM claims will increase in value 30-100% each month, depending on how much promotion you do for MMM along the way. After a prescribed amount of time, the user who provided help can then ask to “get help” and—so long as there are still new users “providing help”—get paid back with the promised interest.
“We regret to inform you that we have to close down the Republic of Bitcoin. It was an experiment, and, unfortunately, it failed. We turned out not to be able to pay 100% per month.”
MMM shuttered in Zimbabwe in September, now it is wreaking havoc on the people of Nigeria. MMM Nigeria has around 3 million users, all of whom saw their accounts inexplicably frozen on December 13. MMM Nigeria claims it froze the scheme to deal with heavy Christmas/holiday traffic, and says it will reopen after one month.
Nigeria is in the middle of a terrible recession, with banks making a limited number of loans. This is leaving many Nigerians desperate for anything that can provide some kind of capital, including numerous other Ponzi schemes that have popped up in the wake of MMM. And now that MMM is gaining traction in Kenya and re-launching their new “mavro coin” virtual “currency”… we’d like to officially warn you: THIS IS A SCAM. STAY AWAY FROM MMM AND MAVRO COIN.
According to this CNBC article: “The top 50 central banks around the world have seen a total of 690 interest rate cuts since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, according to data from JP Morgan Asset Management. While this number means one rate cut every three trading days, analysts have warned that central banks may start to run out of ammunition soon.“
Darren and JJ discuss the effects of ultra-low interest rates, negative interest rates, and the effects these central banking policies have on currency and the economy.
Back in episode 183 of the Neocash Radio podcast, we reported on the IRS’ fishing expedition demanding that Coinbase turn over information on all of its Bitcoin users. Coinbase posted a blog stating that they would be fighting the summons, but the courts (unsurprisingly) sided in favor of the IRS. Then, a Coinbase user stepped forward to intervene in the case; Attorney Jeffrey K. Berns of Berns Weiss filed a motion to quash the summons.
The latest response from the IRS comes as no shock: The IRS states that Mr. Berns is no longer subject to the summons as the point of the summons was “to produce information revealing the identity of certain unknown taxpayers.” Mr. Berns outed himself according the IRS which in turn told Coinbase to remove Mr. Berns from the summons.
Mr. Berns released this response: “The IRS’s willingness to withdraw the subpoena as to Mr. Berns only because it is now aware of his identity makes it clear that the IRS does not have a legitimate purpose in seeking substantial personal and financial information concerning approximately 3 million Americans.”
The CEO of Airbnb posted a question on Twitter about what users want to see in 2017. Bitcoin was brought up by numerous users with some stating they would use Airbnb exclusively if they could pay with crypto.
— Stephen Cole (@sthenc) December 26, 2016
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky later tweeted that Airbnb has considered accepting Bitcoin for some time, and that he didn’t expect so many replies from users expressing interest in using Bitcoin for an Airbnb rental and from Airbnb hosts wanting to accept Bitcoin as payment.
The Airbnb IT crew is certainly versed in cryptocurrency; in April, Airbnb acqui-hired the engineering team behind recently shuttered Bitcoin-tipping platform ChangeTip for $1.25 million.
We’ve covered the recent cash crunch and demonetization scandal in India extensively on the Neocash Radio podcast, and now our attention has been brought to new anti-Bitcoin propaganda launched by State-owned media “India Today.”
If you want to see what government controlled media looks like, and to hear how they manipulate the story to fit a narrative, check out the video. And in a rare twist, some of the YouTube comments are actually GREAT!
The Harvard Business Review has a fairly lengthy article about Bitcoin and blockchain technology in their January/February 2017 issue. One of the big takeaways is how they describe bitcoin as less of a “disruptive technology” and more of a “foundational technology.” Based on this point, they insist that blockchain innovations will take several more years before they’re completely ready for prime time.
Recommended reading for anyone looking to learn more about blockchains, with great explanations surrounding how blockchains will have far-reaching effects in the real world, and well beyond the financial industry.
Zcash mining — Randy talks pool mining vs. solo mining
Two weeks ago, we had our friend Pedro on the podcast to discuss cryptocurrency mining and his experience mining Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and now Zcash. Randy’s been playing around with mining Zcash as well, and until recently, has been using a “mining pool.” When someone in the pool solves a block, the 10 ZEC generated by that block’s solution is split and distributed between all the pool’s participants, relative to their hashing power. With more participants, the pool’s hashing power grows, increasing their likelihood of finding block solutions. This will yield a relatively consistent return, though after doing a little math, Randy decided to give “solo mining” a try for 90 days.
With “solo mining,” each computer is trying to find a block solution on its own. And while his single rig’s hashrate is much lower than that of the pool he was using, if his mining rig does find a solution to a block on its own, he will get the entire 10 ZEC reward rather than receiving a share of it from a pool. After crunching some numbers, he found that it was statistically probable that he would find at least one solution within 90 days, and that 10 ZEC would be more than he would have acquired over the same 90 day period using the pool. Of course, because cryptocurrency mining is based on a fair lottery system with entirely random numbers, it is entirely possible that he will get zero solutions within that timeframe as well.
Randy discusses more about the Zcash mining software he’s using, the “solo mining” pool he found, and mentions recent updates for Optiminer and the Claymore miner.
Related viewing: “Solo mining vs. pool mining” (YouTube)
Want to learn more about Bitcoin, mining cryptocurrencies, and blockchains? Check out our intro video: “Decrypting Bitcoin: Blockchain Technology Explained”
We will be producing more in-depth videos to explain Ethereum, Dash, and the Federal Reserve soon! We’re also building a video podcast room here at Neocash Radio HQ! Until that’s finished, we’ve started uploading our audio feed to our new YouTube channel! We hope to have video added to the podcast by spring 2017! Construction is moving along nicely!