Have you heard of Yocoin? It’s a new type of digital currency that employs a multi-level marketing pitch that could easily ensnare you in a pyramid scheme.
Digital currency is one of the most mysterious things in the financial world.
Recently, a new type of digital currency called Yocoin has popped up, offering its buyers big returns on investment and stirring up some discussion in digital currency forums and multi-level marketing (MLM) blogs.
According to Yocoin’s Twitter page, the “company” is based in Bangkok, Thailand. However, we found a thread on a currency site with a post from Yocoin showing what looks to be official documents indicating the company is registered in Dubai, U.A.E.
Basically, Yocoin and other digital currency is like digital buried treasure. The currency’s creators “hide” their money inside tough math problems on the internet. Want to get the money? You’ll have to buy special software that can solve the math problems. When you solve the math, you get the coin.
You can either mine Yocoin (we’ll explain that in a few minutes) or “invest” in the company by purchasing Yocoin.
Because digital currency is kind of a new and confusing thing, we’re going to take a few minutes to help you understand what it is. Then, we’re going to ask some tough questions about Yocoin:
- What does it offer and how does it do it?
- Who leads the company and where is it based?
- What are others saying about Yocoin?
- Is it a legit company or an MLM scam?
We hope that the research and answers we provide will help you get a clear idea of the risks associated with Yocoin, as well as whether or not you want to invest your hard-earned money in this new digital currency.
What is Yocoin and How Does It Fit Into the Digital Currency World?
Yocoin is a new currency (“altcoin” or “scrypt” coin) earned through “scrypt” mining, which is basically a stripped-down version of the heavy-mining used for Bitcoin (we’ll explain this in a few minutes).
The big difference between scrypt coin and Bitcoin is value; Bitcoin is more valuable because it’s a lot harder to mine them. You need super-powerful computers and software to solve the math problems hiding Bitcoin. Since it’s really hard to mine, Bitcoin is expensive. But scrypt coin, on the other hand, isn’t so hard to mine and doesn’t require super-powerful computers, so it’s worth a lot less.
One Yocoin, at the time of research, was worth about 0.0002 Bitcoin.
Yocoin doesn’t say much in the way of its mission, but it does emphasize the fact that you can pretty much cut out the middle man in your exchange transactions, secure your financial information and ensure that when the company’s investors vote on what to do with Yocoin’s capital, the votes will be tamper-proof.
Based on our research, we believe that the main reason why Yocoin exists is to get people to “invest” in Yocoin in a way that looks very similar to pyramid schemes.
We wanted to be sure so we took a look at some evidence given by several different MLM insiders. But before we get to that evidence, we want to talk about what digital currency is and how you acquire it.
What is Digital Currency?
Since Bitcoin is pretty much the premier example of digital currency, we’ll talk about what this new type of “money” is all about by walking you through how it’s made, captured and sold.
Getting Currency Through Mining
Let’s start out with the idea of a mine. Miners examine a certain chunk of land and use their knowledge and expertise to decide whether or not it’s worth it to mine the land.
If they decide it is, they use some pretty powerful and complex equipment to “solve” the conundrum in front of them: a very specific chunk of land holding some pretty valuable stuff.
Bitcoin works the same way, except instead of land we’re dealing with complex mathematical problems solved by cryptography, or code breaking (digital currency is also known as “crypto-currency”). People with Bitcoin software “mine” these problems by using juiced-up computers.
Here’s how a recent Venture Beat article described this process: “Mining is the process of solving complex math problems … using computers running Bitcoin software. This requires more computing power than regular PCs have, so people buy specialized Bitcoin machines or form groups that chain multiple computers together to mine.”
Everything is Recorded on a Blockchain
Once you successfully solve the problem, you are rewarded with Bitcoin and a “block” is created, which basically says, “Hey, a Bitcoin was mined here and this is when it happened.” That block is part of a blockchain, which is basically a running, chronological record of all blocks.
This is a really simplified explanation of how digital currency in general – is created.
One of the big emphases of digital currency is that it is decentralized, which means there isn’t one bank or government creating the money. A network of users all over the world are mining and creating digital currency, Yocoin and Bitcoin included.
If you really want to get into the small details of Bitcoin, you should check out this great article from Coin Desk, a site specializing in digital currency. If you just want an explanation of mining, click here for an article from CNBC.
And if you’re more of a visual person, you can check out the following series of videos for quick summaries of digital currency and Bitcoin:
Trading on the Exchanges
You can buy and sell crypto-currency in exchanges, places where people put their coins up for sale. When you buy your currency, it’s placed in a digital wallet where you can save it like an investment or pull it out to buy something.
But let’s bring all this talk about digital currency back to Yocoin. Like we said earlier, there are certain things that make us think Yocoin is using the digital currency boom to get people to buy into what seems to be a pyramid scheme.
To figure out if that was true or not, we researched what industry experts are saying about Yocoin.
What are People Saying About Yocoin?
Before we get into why we believe Yocoin is a pyramid scheme, we want to lay out our definition of what a pyramid scheme is: You make money based on how many people you get to sign up, not on how much of a product you sell.
Of course, the huge question is, “How is Yocoin a multi-level marketing company if they’re just selling currency?”
To answer that question, we browsed through some blog posts about Yocoin, written by MLM experts.
Nick Pratt, an MLM marketer, described Yocoin’s business practices. Normally, we’d stay a thousand miles away from the opinions of people in the multi-level marketing business, but, in this case, their knowledge of how companies work is really helpful.
You Make Your Money Through Signing Up Other People
Here’s what Nick said:
“The way the Yocoin compensation plan works is that it pays members to recruit new Yocoin affiliates. Whenever a Yocoin member recruits a new affiliate who then invests in the cryptocurrency, they are compensated 10 percent of what the new affiliated invests.”
In other words, you pay a minimum of $50 to buy Yocoin. In order for you to make money, you need to get your friends, family, and neighbors to sign up as well. If they do, you get a 10 percent cut of their investment. If they get someone to sign up, then you get a 15 percent cut of that new person’s commission.
However, any commission you make off of new recruits comes with a stipulation: 30 percent has to be reinvested into the company. Money is always going back into the company, whether you like it or not.
Here’s how Nick summarizes his thoughts on Yocoin’s methods:
“Since the purchasing of an arguably worthless altcoin is not something that can be expected to take off, Yocoin has instilled the pyramid style commission structure to encourage affiliates to recruit members. With Yocoin there is no way to avoid having to recruit affiliates in order to get paid, given the pyramid scheme nature of their compensation structure.”
To verify Nick’s claims, we cross-referenced a forum thread about Yocoin on BitBillions.com. The author, “secondsold”, also said Yocoin is a classic pyramid scheme.
He went as far as to say that the company owns 20 percent of mined Yocoin, and that if they sold all the coins at once, the supply of Bitcoin would be high and the demand low, so the price of the coin would basically become worthless.
To avoid that, Yocoin is selling the coins to “investors” who get caught up in their pyramid scheme. Now, there’s no way for us to know if this allegation is true since information about Yocoin is limited.
Secondsold went on to say that that the developer of Yocoin has created five other coins.
“This does not bode well, as it is typically chronic scammers who continuously create new coins to capitalize on unsuspecting investors,” secondsold wrote. “Secondly, the Yocoin blockchain is broken.”
The second part of the quote is what concerns us the most: the very records that supposedly keep track of all mining transactions can’t be accessed because they’re not working. Nobody can see what transactions have taken place.
What does all that mean for you? We’re going to bring that home in the final section.
The Conclusion: Is Yocoin Fools Gold or a Gold Mine?
Imagine you had a random person send you a Facebook message telling you they’ve got a mine in South Africa with a new kind of diamond that few people know about. Because it’s pretty much a secret, the diamonds are just a fraction of the cost of what you’d see in a jewelry store.
They go on to tell you that you can buy a share of these diamonds with a minimum investment of $50. What’s even better, they say, is that you can collect even more diamonds if you get your friends and family and neighbors to invest in them, too.
You’re a little iffy about the whole thing, so you ask the guy if there is any evidence of these diamonds or the mine and he says, “Sure,” and gives you the location of the mine.
Since you don’t have the time to fly to South Africa and check out the block of land where the mine supposedly is, you take him for his word and start telling your friends and family about it.
Sounds totally, 100-percent absurd right? Based on the information we gathered from Nick Pratt and Secondsold, that’s similar to what’s happening with Yocoin.
In general, we tell people to avoid MLM companies because, according to a study done by the Consumer Awareness Institute, less than one percent of people working for Amway/Quixtar and Herbalife (two of the major MLM companies) make a profit; and that’s when they’re trying to sell real products! That word of warning is even stronger with Yocoin, for the reasons and evidence we presented above.
If you’ve invested in Yocoin and realized the opportunity but are worried it might be a scam, read our article on how to spot new pyramid schemes like Yocoin. In the article, we present five classic signs you’ve been sucked into a pyramid scheme:
- You’re required to pay up-front if you join.
- You’re required to recruit new members to make money.
- You’re being pressured to invest more.
- You’re asked to pay for training.
- Your questions are never fully answered.
Any of these sound familiar? Yocoin charges an up-front fee, you have to get new members in order to make money and you’re required to reinvest 30 percent of your commission; those are prime examples of the first three points we listed.
There are an endless number of ways you can invest your money; in our opinion, Yocoin shouldn’t be one of them. Our advice is to meet with a financial advisor who can help you understand your financial position and give you honest advice about which investments are best for you.
If you aren’t ready for a financial advisor, robo-advisors could be a great choice for you. They invest your money into completely legitimate funds comprised of real companies of different sizes and specialties.