Tuesday, 3 July 2018

War Field – Shipping containers and lies #MinerOne

It seems to be a year of scam-ICOs. The word ICO (Initial Coin Offering) has been so sexy among scammers that it's hard to avoid bumping into a scam using it. And you really don't have to dig your hands deep into the murky side of the internet to find them. Some of these scams have gone as far as boldly advertising themselves online.


War Field – Miner One's sideshow project






I had subscribed to Miner One's newsletter to find out latest happenings in the scheme. The newsletter released on June 28 was headlined: "What Is WAR FIELD? A VIP Offer for the Miner One Community". 

The newsletter continues:  
"Miner One is pleased to announce that co-founder Andrius Mironovskis is leading a new project called WAR FIELD. 
WAR FIELD is an ICO and a "first-person shooter" video game that offers an ERC20 token called GOLDER. Players can stake GOLDER on their gameplay, win GOLDER from their opponents, withdraw them and trade them freely on cryptocurrency exchanges (once the ICO ends).  
"WAR FIELD is an exciting new project that will offer the video gaming community something they've never had before: the possibility of winning real, tradeable, and valuable cryptocurrency for skilful video gameplay," notes Miner One CEO Pranas Slusnys."

Okay, so it's going to be a new cryptocurrency that has no usage outside the gameworld of War Field. In-game currency isn't exactly a new invention and this fact is also acknowledged by War Field in its white paper. 

But what is this GOLDER coin for then? The white paper introduces a problem and a solution that GOLDER is supposed to provide:

"In-game currencies in the form of coins, credits, virtual notes, and tokens are nothing new. But usually they only work one way: a player uses real money to buy ingame tokens and spends them in the game on digital items such as power-ups, additional lives, equipment or enhancements, to shorten wait times etc." 
"By leveraging revolutionary blockchain technology, we will offer the possibility of withdrawing earned or saved GOLDER and selling them on exchanges or directly using the Ethereum network."

Well, you can call me sceptic but I really don't see how that's going to work out. I'm not saying that an in-game currency couldn't evolve into a currency that has actual value for some. However, I think there's actually a reason why for example many modern mobile games use in-game currencies that can't be reversed into fiat currency. – That's because it's in-game currency! You are supposed to lose your money in an instance when you exchange your fiat money for in-game money or purchase products made out of pixels; a new armour, a better gun and a new haircut for your game character.

However, generally speaking all in-game items and even in-game currencies are practically worthless. You can have a level 91 Elf with a Mighty Sword of Dragon Dung worth thousands of elf-credits, but the general public couldn't care less about your worthless gear and the amount of time you have invested in your game character. Game developers earn money from in-game purchases so it's not exactly in their interest to start running a convertible currency to go along with the gameworld.



The Team


The team and advisors behind War Field ICO and the game is partly the same that is behind the ICO of Miner One. 


Andrius Mironovskis, Rimas Puriuskis, Darius Udrys and Jonas Udris appear also in the team of Miner One. Click to enlarge.


The game


Well, let's see what's this War Field about. As the website of the game describes it: 
"WAR FIELD is the online multiplayer first-person shooter game that lets you win cryptocurrency from your opponents."

There's also an alpha version online to test the game free of charge so I took a test drive to see the actual game. I don't think there's much to say about. It's a crappy first-person shooter happening on a cargo ship. The game area is rather small and there isn't much else to see but shipping containers.

A screenshot from War Field. There was only one opponent but a lot of shipping containers. Too bad none of them seemed to have Miner One's Antminers installed.

A short video clip of the game:





The website and the lies





Interestingly the website of War Field is promising that the game is going to be released soon on Xbox and PlayStation in addition to "AppStore" and "Play Store". 

Well, I believe Microsoft and Sony would be the first to know if such game would be released on their platforms. I mean this will certainly be groundbreaking for them if they actually were going to integrate this cryptocurrency GOLDER into their services. I'm surprised that this hasn't been on news already.

The road map of War Field goes as far as even setting a date for the release of Xbox and PlayStation versions of the game. It's going be available on May 15 2019. I had serious doubts whether this information was accurate and if the company behind the game, The Blockchain International FZE, has even permission to use the brands of Xbox and PlayStation for marketing this investment opportunity. So I decided to contact Microsoft and Sony about the issue. The conversation I had with a representative of Microsoft only strengthened my suspicions. I haven't received any response from Sony yet.   

Release on Xbox and PlayStation on May 15 2019. I wonder if Microsoft and Sony know about this deal yet?

I contacted also the team behind War Field ICO via Telegram and asked about the issue. I was actually surprised to get answers to my questions because I had previously been kicked out from Miner One's Telegram group for asking questions. I was even more astonished how the team member of War Field blurted out that the release date on the Road Map was just something they had made up, and thus a lie. You can read the whole conversation below:


Click to enlarge.

Here's a link to an archived version of warfield.com just in case.



The Conclusion


Based on the fact that the team is blatantly lying to promote this ICO I consider it as a scam and not to be trusted. Lying about the game being released soon on Xbox and PlayStation and going as far as giving an exact date of this bullshit is really just more than enough to anyone even with half a brain to draw the right conclusion, not to even mention that Microsoft and Sony would have to integrate this scammy cryptocurrency to their platforms. 

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Miner One – moving to shipping containers



The token sales of Miner One ended in May and now, as stated in the roadmap of the scheme, it's time for the first equipment order. The CEO of Miner One, Pranas Slusnys, lets us know that they succeeded to gather 8213 ETH with the crowdsale. That's about 4 million euros according to the current rate of Ether. Now it's going to be quite a rush because Miner One has promised to make its first payouts in August. It really doesn't help that they don't even seem to have facilities yet to build up a mining farm.

According to the white paper of Miner One and all the marketing and advertising they have done, they were going to start a mining farm in Luleå Sweden and have it running in July. However, during a Facebook livestream on May 16, Pranas Slusnys was already suggesting that the mining farm might be built in another location. It seems more and more likely that there won't be any mining farm in Luleå. I personally doubt if there ever is going to be a mining farm at all.


Moving to a shipping container?


A livestream yesterday had Slusnys talking about a new idea of having their mining equipment in shipping containers. "Our main idea, erm, from the start it was to choose one place, and put all mining equipment in that one place, in, in, erm, Luleå" ... "Erm, eeh, erm, but we want to be more independent. We wan't to be not locked in one location." 

Slusnys: "Erm, eerm, eeeh, erm, erm, erm, eeh." – Yeah, he really talks like that.


Now here comes the most funniest part of the explanation of Slusnys about this idea that he refers to be a great one. According to him they can easily move their shipping containers in a week or two in case they need to move the mining equipment whenever "price of energy will be problematic". – What is this? I thought Luleå was like a paradise for a mining farm.

Apparently shutting down the mining farm for a week or two won't be a problem for Miner One while moving their containers. It isn't like the price of electricity fluctuates in Sweden to the extend that this kind of movable mining farm would be reasonable. On the contrary, I think shutting down such mining farm even for a week costs much more due the period of shutdown than any possible savings in electricity could be. 

Screenshot of the livestream showing Miner One's plans about their movable mining farm in shipping containers.

Shipping containers aren't exactly the greatest place to keep things cool. In addition July and August are usually the warmest months in Scandinavia, so having a mining farm in a shipping container could cause sauna-like conditions. Not to even mention that I really don't think that you can go somewhere and just find a place to plug in to a power socket a shipping container with a mining farm.


What about renewable energy?


After Slusnys presented the idea of having their mining farm in shipping containers someone asks in the comments section of the broadcast about Miner One's plan to use renewable energy. The answer Slusnys gives to this question is just astonishingly and awkwardly stupid. 

Slusnys seems to think that you can practically park a container near a solar panel field and plug it in to get green energy. However, he apparently considers only hydro energy as a viable source of green energy: "We need to keep in mind, except hydro the other energy sources, they are not available for 24 hours." – Meaning that sun doesn't always shine, sometimes it's cloudy, and also the wind power can fluctuate.

In fact, although you can select a "green option" while making a contract with a power company in Scandinavia, the company can't exclude electricity coming from nuclear power plants to ones power socket. There's even a contract promising 100 % energy produced by hydropower for example by Vattenfall, but not even that is nuclear power free. The electricity that comes out of the power sockets is always a combination of electricity produced by all the power sources of the power company. So 100 % hydropower is basically just a marketing pitch.

I don't know why they keep this scheme still dragging on after the crowdsale ended. Maybe there's still going to be a way to milk cryptocurrency from gullible people? Anyway, on Miner One's website they have downgraded their slogan already a bit. Instead of "the world's biggest crowdfunded crypto mining operation" it's now "the world’s most profitable mining operation". – Well, this might very well be very profitable mining operation for some, but what comes to actual mining, it might be a minor one.



Thursday, 17 May 2018

Bunny Token – Maslov and Kazarin

Bunny Token has published two new videos this month with the CEO Aleksander Maslov and the CTO Andrei Kazarin making their appearances. Awkwardly the videos published on the Facebook page of Bunny Token lack subtitles and the speeches are in Russian(?). However, they did publish the videos also on YouTube and there subtitles are visible.

I guess the main purpose of these two-minute videos is just to show that Maslov and Kazarin really exist. However, considering that there isn't any evidence supporting that they use their real names, and Bunny Token had a team of 18 people removed from its website after I presented evidence revealing them as fake persons, I don't think Bunny Token has any credibility left even if Maslov and Kazarin was their real names. In addition also the Facebook pages of Maslov and Kazarin were showing similar made-up content as the members of the deleted team had on Facebook.


Maslov making an appearance





There isn't much to be said about the content of the video. It's only two minutes. However, here are some of the key points:

With "the Bunnies" he's referring to the cartoon characters that is used to market Bunny Token. According to Maslov: "The stickers are popular even outside the crypto community".

Funny that you say so, because I'm sure the team was just a dream.

Andrei Kazarin



The robotlike Kazarin seems to read a pre-written speech throughout the video. According to Kazarin Bunny has "a highly professional team made up of 6 developers". – Yeah, I'm sure the team was made up.


Marketing budget of Bunny depleted?


I haven't seen Bunny Token ads for weeks. It could be because there isn't gullible people investing enough to keep Bunny rolling.

According to Google Trends the popularity of search term "bunny token" has gone remarkably down recently. This makes sense, because a scam that depends heavily on advertising is likely to go down due the lack of advertising:
The popularity of search term "bunny token" on Google Trends. Click to enlarge.

As a comparison to give some perspective, here's "bunny token" (blue) compared to the popularity of "onecoin" (red) on Google Trends during the last 90 days.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Miner One in D minor




First of all, Miner One might not be anything illegal. It might be a perfectly legitimate way of collecting funds from gullible investors. That been said I personally see it as a very stupid investment and I also suspect that it's a ponzi scam.

Miner One touts itself as "The World's Biggest Crowdfunded Crypto Mining Operation". There's a huge slogan on the website claiming it to be the best Bitcoin investment. Below the slogan there's additional marketing pitches "Cutting-Edge Miners" and "World-Class Team". However, while writing this, there supposedly isn't any mining farm yet. Whether the team classifies as a world-class team is beyond me.

Like Ice Rock Mining also Miner One has an ICO attached to its project. So there's a coin to be launched but it has no other purpose but to be attached to the dividends of the future mining farm. Once again offering hefty profits from mining Bitcoin via mining farm doesn't payout Bitcoins. This would of course be very useful if there wasn't any actual mining happening, or if the mining wasn't significant in scale to provide enough profit to the dividends distribution.



The CEO and the co-founders


Pranas Slušnys




The CEO and a co-founder of this project is someone named Pranas Slušnys. Slušnys has appeared also in several videos by Miner One. Other co-founders of the project are Jonas Udris and Andrius Mironovskis.

Pranas Slušnys has a LindedIn profile page which presents a history of mostly CEO positions. Strangely there isn't a word about his education. He doesn't seem to have any cryptocurrency related history. 

What comes to his former businesses there seems to be at least one shady one. A company of Slušnys was providing website domains and payment portals to a travel agency Skrydžiai LT that has outraged its Lithuanian customers. According to a Lithuanian news source December 19 2016: "the company never states the final flight price, misleads the consumers by mimicking the official pages of Ryanair, Wizzair, airBaltic."
According to the article customers of Skrydžiai LT were charged much more than advertised, sometimes with over double rates.

When approached by Lithuanian journalist about the website misleading consumers, Slušnys responded:
"Sirio HRO and Business Consultancy FZE respects LR and EU law, cares about its customers and operates without violating Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) and United Arab Emirates laws."
– Well, I think not violating the laws of Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) wasn't much condolence to the mislead Lithuanian customers.

The article mentions:
"On the Internet, there are a lot of websites that resemble the official pages of Wizzair, airBaltic, Ryanair, but not authorized representatives of the company (wizzair-skrydis.lt, ryanair-skrydis.lt, airbaltic-skrydis.lt). They send newsletters with attractive offers to people's mailboxes."
– Yes, Slušnys or his company is the registrar of all of those domains. The domain of airbaltic-skrydis.lt was currently free, so apparently it had already expired or there was a typo in the article.  

In addition I found that Slušnys had registered also the following rather confusing domains:
ryanair-poleti.com
ryanbiletes.lv
wizzair-aviobiletes.lv

Well, what does this travel agency case has to do with Miner One besides having the name of Slušnys attached to it? The same company that was behind Skrydžiai LT's web domains, Sirio H.R.O and Business Consultancy, is also the company that is running Miner One.


Jonas Udris




Jonas Udris can be found on LinkedIn and he according to his profile page he has an education in law, which does match his position in Miner One as the legal counsel. He hasn't got much blockchain related history except a project called carVertical.

Apparently there was a ICO launched in December 2017. The ICO ended on 15th January 2018. CarVertical was presented as the "World’s First Global & Decentralized Car History Registry Built on Blockchain". It is supposed to bring solutions for all kinds of problems regarding getting information about used cars and their history. I think carVertical really just raises a lot of questions to which it has no answers to.


Andrius Mironovskis




Andrius Mironovskis can be found on LinkedIn. He doesn't have any information about his education visible. Besides being a co-founder of Miner One he's also in charge of product development – whatever that means regarding this... erm, product?



Miner One – in D minor





Screencapture from the website.


Miner One draws a picture of a Swedish based company by presenting snowy pictures of Sweden on its website and with a map of Sweden pointing at location of Luleå where the mining is supposed to happen. However, the company behind Miner One is Sirio H.R.O and Business Consultancy who is registered in Ras al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. I couldn't find any public registry to check out the existence of the company. Whether it exists or not, it's an offshore company that most likely has all its detailed information hidden.

To be fair, there is also a Swedish company involved, Greenbit Data Center AB, freshly incorporated in the early 2018. The purpose of this company is apparently to rent a facility for Miner One and handle other costs of the operation in Sweden. I guess it also brings more credibility to have a local company that can be referred to.

Miner One claims to have ultra-low mining costs due the northern climate that keeps their equipment cool. Well, I have lived about 20 years in a Finnish town about 200 kilometers to southeast from Luleå and I can say that it's not a winter all year around. I admit, it can be cold during winter but summer can be warm from June to August. Here you can check the weather history for Luleå. I personally think former Soviet bunkers in Kazakhstan would be much more believable environment for a fantasy of a low-cost mining farm.



False marketing


During recent months there has been a quite substantial advertising campaign in the internet by Miner One. I have bumped into YouTube ads on several occasions as well as ad banners online. Despite investing heavily on its marketing Minor One doesn't seem to have made it into news and there isn't much objective sources of information to be found. 


Miner One ad on Google.

There isn't anything wrong or illegal with a company or a project advertising itself. But there's a fundamental difference between legitimate businesses and scams what comes to marketing and criticism. Legitimate businesses don't have to lie and they accept criticism whereas scams can lie shamelessly and try to censor any criticism or belittle it.  

I had subscribed to the newsletter of Miner One to get the latest news of this project. On April 27th I received a newsletter titled: 
"Entrepreneur names Miner One one of "Top 10 ICOs You Must Invest In""
– That's just a blatant lie. Miner One had paid a third party Stankevicius MGM to release an article on Spotlight, which is a a platform  provided by Entrepreneur to its partners. There's a rather hard to spot disclaimer on Spotlight saying "Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur Spotlight partners are their own". Entrepreneur has nothing do to with the article.


A newsletter by Miner One lying that Entrepreneur names it as one of the top ICO to invest.


To test how Miner One handles criticism I posted the comment below on Miner One's Facebook page. I was not surprised to find out that the comment was not published. Neither did Miner One ever give an asnwer to my question.


A question never published or answered to.



Stankevicius MGM – Pay us money, we release your bullshit on Entrepreneur.



What about the mining farm?


According to the roadmap of Miner One, they should have already executed the first equipment order in April. The delivery of the equipment is mid June – according to the roadmap. The mining is supposed to start in July. However, during a live broadcast on Facebook on 12 April it turned out that there was no mining hardware ordered yet due "the unexpected and dramatic drop in Ether (value)". The team was planning to wait some more weeks before proceeding with purchasing hardware. I guess the roadmap isn't that accurate then and the schedule is pretty much pointless.


The roadmap of Miner One. The roadmap is promising first payouts already in August 2018, after only one month of mining.


The white paper of Miner One also mentions Miner One's “Cushion Effect”. That means that even if the value of BTC drops, investment in Miner One can still generate returns.
– It's like there's absolutely no way that Miner One could not profitable. I'm surprised they need crowdfunding for all this. How come their mining hardware distributor doesn't just provide all the equipment in exchange for a small percentage from the profits?

During the live broadcast of 12th April the CEO of Miner One, Pranas Slušnys, makes an interesting statement:
"Maybe we'll make a decision, and few weeks to change from Bitcoin to Ether (mining)."
– Considering that mining hardware that mines Bitcoins can't be used to mine Ether, this is a very strange statement from the CEO of this project that concentrates solely on Bitcoin mining in its marketing pitches. Maybe they should have prewritten everything Slušnys was supposed to say. 

Instead of making any announcements about hardware purchases, during the last weeks Miner One has been busy concentrating on sideshow nonsense and setting up a high-altitude hydrogen balloon to release it with a payload of Bitcoin miner. I guess that's the mining farm then?



Payout Calculator


Similar to Ice Rock Mining also Miner One has a ROI calculator on its website, which promises suspiciously high profits. The calculator by Miner One isn't as outrageous as the one of Ice Rock, but coincidentally they both use BTC value of 14K USD as the base of their calculations.


Invest 25.000 $ and get a hefty ROI of 157.000 $ in three years?


Conclusion


In my opinion Miner One is a ponzi scam. It seems to have attracted a lot of traffic to its website due the substantial advertising campaign still going on. As payments are made via cryptocurrency and the company running the show is based in the United Arab Emirates, there's is practically no risk to the gang running the show. This is a project that is safe to fail.



Miner One's advertising campaign has been attracting a lot of traffic.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Bunny Token – Vasilisa Yakubo appearance

A co-founder and the COO of Bunny Token, Vasilisa Yakubo, was one of those team members of Bunny Token that I suspected being a fake person. – And I still do. I think the evidence I presented and Bunny Token removing almost the entire team from its website afterwards speaks for itself. Many of the team members had also their Facebook profile page removed in an instance, including Yakubo.

However, the following three persons are still visible on Bunny Token's website: Alexander Maslov, Vasilisa Yakubo and Andrei Kazarin. Although their Facebook profile pages indicate that they are all fake persons, there might be a person matching the photo involved in Bunny Token.



I have searched the internet for Vasilisa Yakubo, but she really doesn't seem to exist outside Bunny Token. I tried also cyrilic version of the name, Василиса Якубо, which lead to only five search results on Google, all related to Bunny Token. I did manage to find her on Facebook page, but the content of her profile page was matching to all the other fake persons I found – and like already said, the profile page doesn't exist anymore. 

Nevertheless, Bunny Token has released a video with Vasilisa Yakubo featuring for "a tell-all interview". Well, it's rather a prewritten statement than an interview, and pretty far from telling all, but it does reveal that Yakubo apparently can't speak much English because the whole two-minute speech is in Russian. That's rather strange considering that Yakubo's Facebook profile and her CV claim that she has studied in Harvard Business School. I presume that they do teach in English in Boston. I guess Vasilisa Yakubo is a pseudonym then.



I have also asked Bunny Token on its Facebook page why they have a team of fake persons. I was not surprised that my comment was soon deleted by Bunny Scam instead giving any answers.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Bunny Token scam update – Staff cuts

After I made a post revealing that the team behind Bunny Token was full of made-up persons, there has been some severe staff cuts made. Almost everyone of the team has been deleted from Bunny Token's website except the three "founders" of the scheme, Alexander Maslov, Vasilisa Yakubo and Andrei Kazarin. I seriously doubt that these founders of Bunny are real persons either, but for some reason their faces remain for the time being.



Screencap from bunnytoken.com taken 11 April 2018. Click to enlarge.

Most of the made-up persons have also been removed from Facebook. At the moment only some of them still have profile pages available.


Some of the made-up persons have even given their ratings to Bunny Token on Facebook. – Kalla Baars, why only 4 stars? :)




Advisor of Bunny Token: "For me this not a scam."


BunnyToken Advisors. Click to enlarge.

I approached one of the advisors of Bunny Token, Alex Eikster, to ask whether he was aware of being involved. He was kind enough to give me a couple of short answers. 

According to Eikster he is not only aware of being an advisor but also knows the owners of BunnyToken. He doesn't consider Bunny Token as a scam. 

I wrote him about all the red flags and the team of fake persons and also asked who the owner of this business is, but Eikster refused to give any comments. 

Eikster: "I think all information about BunnyToken have on website." 
– Yes, I think I can agree on this. All the information needed is on the website.


Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Ice Rock Mining promises profits for a lifetime

Watching YouTube isn't like it used to be anymore. Getting force-feeded by ads that are promoting shady investing schemes is a new phenomenon. First there was the BunnyToken ad that got my attention, now there's Ice Rock Mining.



Ice Rock Mining has been advertising on YouTube and Facebook. In addition they have published several advertorial pieces and "press releases" on cryptocurrency related websites, for example on Cointelegraph and Merkle. Although these advertorials and press releases are paid content, they are easy to misinterpret as articles published by an author of the website. This is probably the very reason why various scams are nowadays marketing themselves via these platforms.

Ice Rock ad video on Facebook. Here's a link to the ad on YouTube.


Alexa.com shows that traffic to Ice Rock's website has rapidly grown, so the marketing campaign is likely paying off. The ad video on YouTube has already been viewed over 6.7 million times.





Mining for everyone?


Ice Rock Mining claims to produce significant profits from mining Bitcoin in a former Soviet military bunker due the relatively cold temperatures of the bunker caves and low power costs. The CEO of the company, Malik Murzashev, is said to own the facilities.

"Commercial Bitcoin Mining. 
Passive Income. 
Creating a New Capital Market"

There's also a confusing ICO (Initial Coin Offering) attached to all this. The ICO was started January 20th 2018 and includes a token called ROCK2. I have tried to figure this out, but still don't quite understand what is the purpose of this ICO with a future cryptocurrency that has no use outside the system. According to the white paper of the project "ROCK2 token is an Ethereum based token, which gives you the right to own a share of the profit in the project according to the number of tokens you have purchased".


FAQ – WTF?


The mind boggling FAQ section of the website tries to explain things with broken English:

"What's your ROCK2 token do?
ROCK2 token is created to calculate the share of investment in ICO. It will help you to get mined currency via smart contract. It is based on Ethereum ERC20 protocol."
– Yeah, but why do you need this kind of silly token system and what is the purpose of the ICO?

"Once the ICO is closed will your ROCK2 tokens be tradeable and if so where?
The price of ROCK2 on the free market will be very high because these tokens are the One Way ticket to Comfortable existence until the end of your Life. For now, we deal with etherdelta.com, later other big exchanges will list us."
– Comfortable existence until the end of my Life? Come again? And how on earth they can make such promises about the future price of ROCK2? It seems that they are just pulling assumptions out of thin air.

Although mining Bitcoin the company surprisingly isn't paying profits as Bitcoins. Instead ROI is paid via Ethereum, because:
"Payouts will be provided in ETH because we will use Smart Contract based on Ethereum platform, (it can show how much ROCK2 tokens each backer has) so all we need is to convert mined BTC into ETH and put it on the smart contract address. It will make automatic payment according to our business plan."

Turns out they don't even know exactly what does profit mean:
"Can you give me an example in dot point form please on how I will make money if I invest.
50% of the profit will be delivered to our ICO2 backers (holders of the ROCK2 token). Other 50% = 20% electricity and maintenance + 20% REINVESTMENT (buying NEW ASICS and fixing old ones) this part will help to serve and increase the capacity of Ice Rock. And your profit will increase every month + We get 10%"
– Dear Ice Rock Whatever, expenses and running costs aren't profit. This is basic knowledge of economics. Were these texts on the site written by an over-enthusiastic 15 year old?


Who are they?


The team presented on Ice Rock's website seems to be real. I didn't check all of them, but the most prominent ones of them appear on several videos and I don't think they are even using fake personalities.

Despite the project is seemingly transparent the companies behind Ice Rock are quite opaque. Digging up information leads to a p.o. box company who has been incorporated by two offshore companies.

The company in charge of Ice Rock Mining ICO is Woodland Networks L.P., a p.o. box company registered in Northern Ireland July 14th 2017. Woodland Networks L.P. was incorporated by two companies from Marshall Islands, Bondwest AG and Entervox AG, with a capital of 1.000 GBP. There wasn't information available of the managers of these companies.

I didn't manage to find information why a p.o. box company in Northern Ireland is needed for running the ICO. Maybe just to bring credibility to the project?


"Lifetime profit"?


The equipment the company claims to use for mining is Antminer S9, which is a state of art hardware specifically designed for Bitcoin mining. Based on many reviews online, currently Antminer S9 is the best and most expensive hardware available for mining.

Ice Rock published a video on their YouTube channel November 6th 2017 to show the first batch of  Antminers – apparently 25 pieces – they had ordered to be installed in the mining facility. One Antminer S9 costs about 2000 dollars/euros (according to the information by Ice Rock itself the price is 2300 U.S. dollars). So 25 pieces of them costs roughly 50.000 euros.


There are also other video material showing evidence that they actually have some mining equipment and the existence of the mining facility, the former Soviet bunkers. Whether the mining is actually happening, or whether it is to benefit their investors isn't clear.

A video clip published 27th of February 2018 shows a rack of running hardware. There's allegedly 100 pieces of Antminer S9's there. Overall cost of that hardware exceeds 200.000 euros.

Link to the video.


The equipment doesn't come free of charge, so the Antminers accumulate profit only after the investment to the equipment has been covered, not to even mention other expensess. Several reviews about Antminer S9 indicate that it could take several months maybe even close to one year to cover costs of those miners (Ice Rock is implying that their investors get their money back in 5 months). The amount of Bitcoins generated monthly can vary, the value of Bitcoin is highly volatile and the difficulty factor of mining is increasing so estimating profitability of a Bitcoin mining farm is very hard.

The website of Ice Rock has even a calculator for investors to calculate profits of different sums to invest. The FAQ section explains the suspiciously high ROI:
"ROI of 439% per year is easy to explain thanks to 20% monthly reinvestment which will increase the capacity of Ice Rock Mining farm. And we do not spend on cooling systems. That is why we are more profitable than other mining farms."
– Alrighty, what happens if and when you reach your maximum capacity? How many investors can profit from this? How can you ensure a continuous increase of capacity of the mining farm? What happens if and when the operation of the company turns out to be unprofitable? 


The profit calculator

The calculator has a pop-up window that includes the following text:
"Bitcoin mining is a highly volatile investment who's returns can vary drastically on a daily basis. Our calculations were made when Bitcoin price was $14,000 (USD). Other factors that cannot be accurately quantified such as network difficulty and hashrates will impact your returns. Neither we, nor anyone else, can guarantee returns, the above mentioned calculator is for information purposes only." 
– Yet Ice Rock promises profits for a lifetime with a lifetime contract.

You will have a lifetime contract with Ice Rock.



The video ad of Ice Rock is promising "lifetime profits", and yes, they have used caps for the word lifetime.


Conclusion


Ice Rock doesn't seem to limit the number of investors who can invest and profit from the mining. That been said, there's a strong odour of ponzi scam. The amount of investors they have attracted could have already greatly exceeded the capacity, which enables them to share promised profits to the investors.

All things considered I find very alarming the way Ice Rock is promising "lifetime profit" to its investors regardless the very high risks involved. The marketing campaign online and the business model requiring continuous growth shows strong features of a ponzi scam. Generally speaking this is not the way any legitimate business would be marketing itself or doing business.