Is CryptoPeso legit or scam? Read on and find out.
Bitcoin disrupted the finance industry because of its underlying technology. It is the first use case of blockchain.
Blockchain is an electronic ledger that tracks anything of value. The ledger and the transactions in it are shared across interested parties.
Other cryptocurrencies also use blockchain. However, the use of blockchain technology is not limited only to cryptocurrencies. Some of its applications are in fintech, healthcare, intellectual property, internet of things (IoT), real estate, etc.
The popularity of bitcoin and initial coin offerings (ICO) provides a new opportunity for scammers. Just like what Ruja Ignatova did on her OneCoin Ponzi scheme. US prosecutors believed that the scheme generated $4 billion worldwide.
In the Philippines, there is CryptoPeso that caught our attention. The founder claims CryptoPeso is a stable coin and runs on a blockchain. It is said to back up by Philippine Peso.
To know whether these claims are valid. We did our homework and discovered some interesting facts that you need to know.
Table of Contents
Who is the Founder of CryptoPeso?
CrpytoPeso’s website (www.cryptopeso.com.ph) shows no particular information about the founder of this project. At the footer of its site, you will find a company name “Blockxperts, Inc.,” the developer of this scheme.
Larrimar Tia founded Blockxperts. He is the same person who founded the Indigen Foundation and made the Indigen Coin.
What is an Indigen coin?
It is just another shit coin. Experts on Bitcointalk.org marked Indigen as a scam for faking a team photo. The photo of their team member named Pavel Bobek was Mathew Foster, a professional actor based in London.
Next time team Indigen, you better hire experts in photoshop from Fiverr. You can have them for as low as $5.
Moreover, Indigen is mined exclusively in the developers’ server. Meaning, the founder of this shitcoin has control of all the coins.
Cryptocurrency should be decentralized. Since the Indigen coin is not, it is easy to tag this as a scam. Indigen coin is not a real cryptocurrency. We believe it is a shit coin and is not run on a blockchain.
Furthermore, Indigen is associated with the defunct Paysbook scam. It was removed from the said scam after the issuance of an SEC advisory in August 2018.
However, Mr. Tia clarified that Indigen is not associated with the Paybook’s CEO. In this lengthy Facebook post.
Thankfully, Indigen did not gain much money from their coins. They are more concerned about their beauty products.
Since Indigen did not work well, the CryptoPeso was born.
What is CryptoPeso?
The founder claims, “CryptoPeso is a stablecoin backed by Philippine Peso with a unique feature. It is different from traditional crypto assets whose values depend on the exchanges, whereby making them volatile and speculative.”
That is an excellent marketing intro from the founder.
Stablecoins are true. Sometimes it is backed-up with commodity, fiat, or cryptocurrency.
When the stablecoin is backed-up with a fiat-currency (cash), the value of the stable coin is based on the value of the backing currency. However, the supporting money must be held by a third-party regulated financial entity. (source)
Now, let me ask the founder.
Who is holding the back-up currency of CryptoPeso? A third-party regulated financial entity or you? If the back-up fiat currency is in your pocket, then it is a shitcoin and not a stablecoin.
Don’t be fooled no matter how CryptoPeso convinces you that its value will not go down because it’s backed-up with fiat currency.
Just ask Mr. Tia.
Where is the money that is backing up this CryptoPeso? Is the fiat-currency enough to pay the stablecoins in circulation?
Sure, it is easy to claim definite answers to the questions. However, to back the answers with enough evidence is an entirely different story.
Is it a Real Cryptocurrency?
We don’t believe that CryptoPeso is a real cryptocurrency. There are no miners. Just like Indigen, all the coins are under the control of the founder. Hence, unlike real cryptocurrency, this project is centralized.
Also, it is uncertain whether it is running on a blockchain.
Joining the Platform and Making Money
Creating an account with CryptoPeso is free. However, to earn money, you need to activate your account for Php500. After activating, you can now participate in their Bring Loyal Customers (BLoC) Program.
Below is screengrab of how you can make money with this scheme.
Higher membership means higher income.
As you can see, CrytoPeso emphasizes the recruitment program. A typical characteristic of a pyramid scheme where income is based on the number of people you can bring into the platform.
CryptoPeso and MLM: A Deadly Combination
Cryptocurrency plus MLM is not new to us. It is the same strategy used in the OneCoin Ponzi scheme. MLMlegal.com calls this as a disguised pyramid.
In a disguised pyramid, investors contributed to a bogus cryptocurrency trading platform or trading services and rewarded when they can recruit others. They are promised of passive return on investment from the appreciation of the cryptocurrency.
In pyramid schemes, commissions, rewards, or bonuses are paid from the funds of the new investors who join because of the income opportunity.
After reviewing the business model of CryptoPeso, we believe it is a pyramid scheme.
CryptoPeso is a Pyramid Scheme
You can earn money with CryptoPeso when you can recruit someone. When he joins, you and your uplines will get a portion of his activation fee as a reward bonus.
People are interested in this platform only to make money and nothing else. CryptoPeso makes money from the entry of new investors. When the time comes when recruitment is impossible, this project will fall. And, those who will suffer the most are the people at the bottom of the pyramid.
Besides, why would you use this app when there is Coin.ph, PayMaya, and GCash? These apps require no activation fee.
CryptoPeso Sells an Unregistered Investment
The Amended Implementing Rules and Regulations of Securities and Regulations Code (R.A No. 8799), defines an investment contract as a transaction or scheme whereby a person invests his money in a common enterprise. Then, he is led to expect profits primarily from the effort of others.
An investment must be registered first before it is sold or offered for sale to the public. Likewise, a company must secure a Secondary License before it can sell an investment contract.
We could not find any Secondary License of the developer and founder of CryptoPeso.
In our opinion, the scheme used in CryptoPeso meets all the elements of an investment contract.
First, as to the first requisite, there is an investment in money when an investor commits money to an enterprise. The company of Mr. Tia collects activation at Php500 and upgrade fee at various amounts.
Second, there is a common enterprise when two or more investors “pool” their resources. In this case, the invested money is under the control of Mr. Tia who decides as to what to do with the amount.
The founder uses part of the money while a portion is paid to pay the promised returns to its members.
Third, investors or members of CryptoPeso are attracted primarily by the prospects of a return on his investment. The investment in money is made with a view of receiving profits from CryptoPeso.
The following screengrabs are evidence that Mr. Tia and his associates are selling not just an ordinary app.
CryptoPeso is an Unlicense E-Money Issuer
What is electronic money? The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) provides us a definition. (source)
Can we say that CryptoPeso is using electronic money?
The about page of CrytoPeso’s website is shown below. It claims as a fast and efficient payment transfers between person to person or customer to the merchant. That means it is an e-money issuer.
An e-money issuer must secure a license from the BSP. Here is the list BSP’s supervised e-money issuer. The list includes Coins.ph (DCPay Philippines, Inc.), GCash (G-Xchange, Inc.), and PayMaya.
You cannot find CryptoPeso there. So CrytoPeso, its developer or the founder, is an unlicensed e-money issuer.
Conclusion: CrytoPeso is a Scam
Our recommendation is to avoid CryptoPeso at all costs. Furthermore, we suggest that you report the founder and the developer to the NBI, DTI, BSP and SEC for appropriate actions.
Our research suggests that CryptoPeso is a pyramid scheme. Commissions and rewards from this app were taken from the activation fee of the new investors.
Also, we believe CryptoPeso is selling an unregistered investment. Moreover, the founder of this app is an unlicensed e-money issuer.
Overall, CryptoPeso is a scam.