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Cloudmining 101

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:14 pm
by BitcoinXio
Disclaimer: I don't know a whole lot about cloud mining admittedly, but this post prompted me to look more into it. As I was researching, I found this great post by Puppet entitled "Cloudmining 101" and I thought it would be a great addition to the mining section here on the forum. So with that said, I'm not the original author and I'm simply transposing what they wrote here for others to learn and educate themselves about cloud mining.

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Cloudmining 101

Everyone here is focused on ROI, hardly anyone seems to care if these companies are legit. The majority of cloudmining websites dont do any mining whatsoever. They pay out old customers via coinmixers from revenue that comes from recruiting new ones. This is the common definition of a ponzi scheme. No surprise, to keep the game going they usually heavily emphasize referrals and signature campaigns to make you do their dirty PR work.

Now why would you care if these companies are mining or not? All that matters is they pay out, right?

If the company (or more aptly: scammer) isnt mining, then its impossible on average for the investors to profit. Early investors might, but only at the expense of later ones. If no mining is going on, then there is nothing to generate those profits. So dont be fooled by low prices or high payouts. Ponzi miners will drop prices as low they need to keep the game going until one day they vanish.

And dont think because its been running for 10 months, that it has to be legit either. Unlike traditional ponzi's, mining ponzi's dont risk a bank run. You cant get your money out if you begin worrying, so they can run a fairly long time.

Take PBmining, they have been around since the beginning of 2014 and havent failed to pay so far. Does that prove its not a ponzi? Hardly. Based on their own stats, in the past month they sold ~1.5 PH worth of contracts. Good for around ~2200 BTC. During that same month they paid around 1600 BTC in dividends. A net profit of ~600 BTC or nearly a 1/4 of a million dollar. Just for running a website. So the fact they are still paying out doesnt prove they are legit, its actually far more likely they are still paying out because it maximizes their profits: they are still getting far more revenue from new victims than they are paying out.

Of course that cant last. At some point the new sales will slow while the owed dividends keep going up. Once the latter becomes bigger than the former, guess what the anonymous operator will do? The same thing lunamine, coinsoncloud, pirate, bitcoin-trader and countless other (mining) ponzi's before did.

Be smart. Think before you invest. Dont trust *anyone* with a referral link in his signature.

Criteria to help you spot a cloud mining scam/ponzi.

1) No public mining address / no user selectable pool.
A cloud mining company that wont let you direct the hashrate to your pool of choosing and cant prove its actually mining bitcoins itself, is very likely a scam. There is no reason to hide mining address or not sign blocks. None.

2) No endorsement from any asic vendor
Asic vendors will gladly make a simple post to show the company in question is a significant customer of theirs. Its free advertisement for them and it helps their customer grow their business, so there is absolutely no reason they wouldnt. If a (cloud) mining company cant get any asic vendor to post such endorsement, you should assume they dont have any hardware to mine with.

3) No relevant pictures of their hardware and datacenter
There is no reason not to provide such pictures, except of course, if there is nothing to take pictures off. Mind you: pictures can be faked. Picture dont prove current ownership. So like all criteria listed here, by themselves they are by far insufficient proof.

4) Open ended IPO
Unless the cloud mining is operated by the asic vendor himself, you can not sell an unlimited amount of hashrate. Hardware takes (usually a long) time to order, arrive and deploy. Any company that doesnt limit sales or make public how much hashrate they sold vs what they have (provably) deployed should be considered extremely suspicious.

5) Referral programs and social networking
Referral programs, especially ones that pay almost 10%, are a huge red flag. The mining market is cut throat with razor thin margins. No real company can afford to pay 10% referrals on below market cloudmining prices. Referral programs almost always serve only to feed the ponzi and provide financial incentive to posters to lie about the true nature of the company. Never trust anyone with a referral link in their sig.

6) Anonymous operators
If the operators are hiding behind whoisguard, provide no provable identity and especially when, like in some cloudmining cases, they use demonstrably false ID or company registration information, you have to be nuts to trust them with your money.

7) No exit strategy
If you cant sell your position, you cant get your money out. Thats the ideal case for a ponzi and allows it to run for a long time.

Application of these criteria to some cloudmining companies

Feel free to post corrections or additions.

Code: Select all 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 => 7/7 = Ponzi already collapsed 1+2+3+4+5+6+7++ => 7/7 = Ponzi ( + requiring likely malware/wallet stealing software) 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 => 7/7 = Ponzi already collapsed ( apparently 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 => 7/7 = Ponzi 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 => 7/7 = Ponzi 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 => 7/7 = Ponzi 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 => 7/7 = Ponzi 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 => 7/7 = Ponzi 1+2+3*+4+5+6+7* => 6/7 = Ponzi ( pictures are not convincing to me for now, exit strategy involves 60+ days stall tactic) bitcoincloudservices 1+2+4+5+6*+7 => 6/7 = Ponzi ( + founded by known scammer ("gen1") 1+2+3+4+5+6 => 6/7 = Ponzi ltcgear 1+3+4+5+6 => 5/7 = (very) suspicious (info welcome) Zeushash 1+2+3+4+5 => 5/7 = (very) suspicious (info welcome) GAWminer 1+4+5+~7 => 4/7*= Possibly/partially legit based on criteria set forth. Based on wider context: more suspicious than a nun squatting in a cucumber field genesis-mining 1+4+7 => 3/7 = Probably legit 1+4 => 2/7 = Probably legit 4 => 1/7 = Legit KNCloud 7 => 1/7 = Legit Hashnest(*after merge) => 0/7 = Legit AMhash => 0/7 = Legit Cryptx PETAmine => 0/7 = Legit
Not rated yet: 2?+4?+7? (looking in to it, feedback welcome) 1+3+4+~6+7 (looking in to it, feedback welcome)


being legit does not equal being a good investment. By and large, cloud mining has not been profitable historically, and I dont expect it will. I do not recommend you invest in (cloud) mining at all, but if you do, at least invest in a company that will actually contribute to securing the blockchain and is not extremely likely to just steal your money.

Also, being rated as legit here doesnt guarantee you anything. All it shows is that said company has provided reasonable evidence it is a real company and your investment is backed by actual hashrate. It doesnt guarantee they wont scam you, and it certainly doesnt imply anything about profitability.

Q: How can you know for sure xyz is a ponzi? Can you prove it?
No one can prove unicorns dont exist. Perhaps they do. But until evidence surfaces of their existence, sensible people will assume they do not exist based solely on the complete absence of evidence to the contrary. Likewise, when faced with a cloudmining company, you should ask what evidence said company has provided to prove they are not a Ponzi, or why they have failed to take a few simple steps to prove it. When no credible evidence is presented, you should assume its a scam. Unless you want to believe in unicorns.