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Friday, 11 August 2017

OneCoin - The clogged DealShitter


The text below is from a contributor who has investigated thoroughly OneCoin's merchant platform called DealShaker (aka DealShitter).





By a contributor:

This post is about the Dealshaker platform. It is the merchant platform of OneCoin/OneLife - a ponzi fraud. Like any Ponzi fraud, OneCoin has continuously struggled to be able to hold the members from withdrawing their profits out of the system. The reason is very simple: In a Ponzi fraud the only income is the money of new investors so there is no money to pay out the promised profits. 

Let's look at OneCoin business model: 

In their newsletter OneLife markets a "Power Pack educational package", which can be bought from OneLife for 48.750 €. That package will produce 1.089.163 OneCoins. 

Therefore anyone can get 22,3 OneCoins per euro or (equally) at a price of 0,04 € per OneCoin. While selling the educational packages, OneLife promises that the coins are currently worth of 12,35 € per OneCoin  270 times more than the money needed to buy the coins. 

In order to pay the profits to existing investors OneLife would either need 270 times more money than it has, or 270 times more members (who on their behalf cannot try to withdraw any money from the system). This is how a Ponzi fraud works. 

OneCoin/OneLife has already played almost all tricks from the scammers playbook: daily limitations for selling the coins, transaction fees, KYC identification (through a process that can literally take months to complete) and so forth. At the same time a platform where the coins can be used for purchasing goods has been in the promises too. The one of the most noticeable come from the Finnish Country director of OneCoin/OneLife in his speech held 23.02.2016. The speech is in Finnish but I'll translate from 21 minutes and 36 seconds onwards: In Finnish:
Meillä aukeaa nyt jo 2.3.[2016] ensimmäiset kaupat - meille tulee ulkopuoliset kauppapaikat. Tarkoittaa sitä että meille tulee oma kauppapaikka-alusta. Sieltä te voitte ostaa suoraan OneCoineilla mitä tahansa tuotteita ja palveluita. Sinne tule 50.000 kauppapaikkaa nytten ihan ensimmäisten joukossa.
And same in English:
We will open now March 2nd [2016] first [web] stores - we will have merchants outside [OneLife/OneCoin]. This means we will have our own merchant platform. From there you can purchase any goods and services paying directly on OneCoins. There will be 50.000 merchants aboard right now at the beginning.
The Finnish country director had earlier passed his press release that stated the merchant platform will be opened when 30 % of coins have been "mined". Please note: first store "will open" on that day. Not "might open" or "may open" but "will open". And what comes to the 50.000 merchants, they "will" be there. These were the promises on which he sold the OneCoin opportunity for investors. They were given a clear picture that 50.000 merchants are lined up ready to jump in when the platform opens. 

Nothing happened on March 2nd 2016. The counter on the webpage of OneCoin was showing that 30 % of coins had been mined on 18th of April 2016, over a month after the exact date the stores "will open". Guess what? On that day nothing happened either. No merchants, no explanations, no new deadlines, nothing. As usual with OneCoin, the investors were left hanging on thin air, like Wile. E. Coyote after he has ran over a cliff. 

It took until late 2016 before the Dealshaker platform was announced and up to 16th of February 2017 before it was open for buyers. Currently it is the only place where OneCoins can be exchanged to something that has a real world value. Here's how it works:
  • Merchants set up "deals" where one or more items of the same goods is available.
  • After the "start of deal" date users can buy coupons with OneCoins (or a combination of euros and OneCoins where Dealshaker platform charges 25 % of the euro sum as a mandatory "fee").
  • Coupons can then be used for actual purchase of the goods – outside the Dealshaker platform.
  • And when the expiry date of the deal is reached, the deal goes off from the list of available deals and is no longer available for purchase.
It seems that for some reason OneCoin/OneLife does not want the coins to be exchanged directly into anything of value. My guess is that upon the inevitable collapse of the Ponzi scheme they want to be able to say that the coins were never supposed to have any monetary value. Let's now take a look at the Dealshaker platform and witness that it is not only poor implementation but also a combination of similar forgery as the OneCoin Ponzi fraud itself.



The registered businesses


Remember the 50.000 merchants the Finnish country director had promised for the very opening of the merchant platform? On the DealShaker landing page two counters are shown: the "Registered Businesses" and "Individual Logged In Users". When the platform was opened for merchants in January 2017, the counter showed 2 000 merchants as signed up. That's a far cry from the 50.000 merchants that were supposed to be lined up ready to join. 

In February when the platform was opened for users, the counter hadn’t even reached 10.000. The counter finally got over 40.000 on August 5th 2017 and at the time of writing this it still hasn’t reached the 50.000 merchant marker. 

But that's not all. I've Googled for old publications and gathered the numbers from discussion forums, blog posts, OneLife newsletters etc. After combining them you can see below what the progress of the number of merchants looks like. 



This graph is not realistic as it is too linear – new merchants have apparently been signing up on pace of 100 businesses per day  ever since the day 1. The merchants were signing up on a steady pace before the platform opened for buyers and they continued in that pace afterwards. 

Please do understand how impossible this chart is to be true: 100 businesses per day, each day, regardless of such things as the Easter (in western nations), or the Chinese New Year in China, or the summer holiday season of the Europe and so forth. The graph should have variation that takes place weekly, monthly and seasonally but any such variation is totally missing. In fact the variation we see here comes almost exclusively from the sources where the date of publishing is visible but number may be day or two older as well as from the fact some of the publications were using rounded numbers. 

And what are these merchants doing? There are supposed to be 40.000 registered businesses but if we go into the Dealshaker deals, there are only 11.155 open deals. 10 % of those come from handful of merchants (more of that later), which means that even if we assume that there is only one deal per merchant, three out of four of the "registered businesses" have never put a single product for sale! 

Clearly the number of "registered businesses" is not valid. The most logical explanation for the linearly increasing (and clearly too high) number of registered businesses is that the number of the counter is automatically generated by some machine script, and is not showing the real amount of merchants that have signed up for the platform.



The individual logged in users


According to the Dealshaker landing page there were at the time of writing this 247.963 individual logged in users. I suppose it is needless to say that I've gathered a graph of that too: 




Once again the graph is almost linear. New users are signing up on a pace of 3000 users per week, every week. Once again most of the variation comes rounded numbers and inexact days. And the same as with the registered businesses graph, it is equally unrealistic that the users were signing up at that steady pace both before and after the platform was opened for buyers. Or that the very same holidays and seasonal variations are missing. And by rights there should be initial rush of new users at the time of Dealshaker launch, followed by a slowed down period and possibly some faster increases as any news of the platform are being broadcast. None of that is visible. The most logical explanation for this unrealistic growth of users? The same as for the number of registered businesses: the number of the counter is automatically generated by some machine script.



Number of open deals


The Muro BBS Forum had number of open deals in Dealshaker platform posted by users, coupled with dates the numbers were taken. This made it possible to create the following graph: 




Let me start by saying that this graph looks more organic than the previous two. There is no linearity, there are plateaus as well as ups and downs (although the amount of accounts before could not have downs anyway). I have added one data point, which is the amount of deals on day zero and that is zero initial deals (as it is reasonable to assume there were zero open deals before the platform opened for merchants). Yes, it would have helped if there were more data points but even now we can see the timeline:
  • Initially new deals were created on a rapid pace (and there were no "expired deals" to affect the amount of open deals).
  • After about 120 days the amount of open deals started to decline (as the expiry times of the initial deals had been reached and there were more expiring deals than there were new deals added).
  • Around 150 days timestamp there happened a burst of new deals as a "corrective action" - the amount of new deals jumped up literally in a matter of days.
  • Amount of open deals has been in decline since (as once again the deals expire and there are no new deals to replace them).
I count there to be two clear "bursts" of new deals: the initial burst when the platform opened and the second, corrective burst at around 150 days. Without those, the amount of deals would have gone downwards for a while now. 

Then if we look at the deals per category: 




We can see that during the second burst there was a massive move of deals from "Products" category and "Services" category to "Home & Auto" category. As said that burst took less than a week to take place, I wonder why so many of the merchants happened to log in at the same time to change their deals? Okay, that was a trick question – it is unrealistic that the merchants logged in at once unless that was somehow organized or then some sort of corrective actions were taken by the platform itself. 

This funeral service that was moved from "Services" to "Home decor products" strongly suggests that the merchants did not alter the deals by themselves, but the Dealshaker platform did it for them. What is more interesting is that the merchant has not changed it back. If we want to understand that better, we have to check the merchants a bit.



The merchants behind the open deals


Now that I mentioned the "bursts" of new deals added to Dealshaker, I should perhaps point out that in the most recent dump of new deals a large number of new merchants appeared (although that is not visible in the registered businesses counter at all). These new merchants each were selling only some 1-10 deals and no more. But those merchants do not seem to be very legitimate:
  • User names are something that I don't think is easy to remember, like "lyt678899a". (Nope, that is not a password!)
  • The "real names" are not some realistic "John Doe" or "Jack's car repair shop". Good heavens no! These merchants have told their full name is something more simple like "hanpang292". (Nope, that is not the user name, user name was "hp08".)
  • No web page to the own website of the merchant. If there is a link, it leads to somewhere that has nothing to do with the subject, like in this merchant profile.
The initial burst of deals happened before Dealshaker was open to public (and quickly after that) and for all that I can tell, less merchants were added then. Actually so few merchants took part of that burst that even today there are 15 accounts that together sell over 10 % of ALL open deals in the Dealshaker platform. Imagine if there were 150 of them – the remaining 40.000 merchants would not be needed at all! (This is improving, though: originally there were 10 merchants selling over 10 % of the deals but some of them have 0 open deals left as all of their deals have expired and no new deals have been added.) 

Usually any criticism towards OneCoin is quickly refuted as a hoax, as hate speech or as made up numbers. Therefore I'm now listing those 15 merchants here. (Please note that this is the current situation, as the deals expire or are added, the numbers will change)
  1. Merchant with 121 open deals.
  2. Merchant with 118 open deals.
  3. Merchant with 102 open deals.
  4. Merchant with 100 open deals.
  5. Merchant with 94 open deals.
  6. Merchant with 75 open deals.
  7. Merchant with 72 open deals.
  8. Merchant with 66 open deals.
  9. Merchant with 64 open deals.
  10. Merchant with 62 open deals.
  11. Merchant with 57 open deals.
  12. Merchant with 54 open deals.
  13. Merchant with 53 open deals.
  14. Merchant with 50 open deals.
  15. Four different accounts of "weikabao", (1, 2, 3, 4) that together have 75 open deals. (I still count that as one merchant.)
And not all of the deals these merchants have set open for sale are that legitimate either. They are mostly copy-pastes of each other, like these: 




The items rounded with red are just three incarnations of the many identical items in Dealshaker. I'll link you three of them that are not only the same but in addition from different merchants: 
Internal health instrument, seller user name "dyzhang001". 
Internal health instrument, seller user name "lhy987". 
Internal health instrument, seller user name "dyzzq888888".
  • All of these deals have the same photo of the product.
  • All of these merchants sell multiple deals of the same product. (I wonder why, when they could just have more of these for sale in one deal?)
  • All of the deals from all of the merchants have the same (long) description of the product.
The most logical explanation for the merchants and goods that do not look authentic is that they were mass-produced (copy-pasted etc.) in order to fill the store with items. This would also explain the sudden corrective action to fix the decreasing amount of open deals (using fake deals to fill the store) and it would also explain the existence of the very few merchants that sell over 10 % of all open deals. (Please note: I'm not saying that all the Dealshaker accounts are fake. Definitely some of them seem to come from OneCoin affiliates that think there is something in the platform. But they will get disappointed in the future as you can see next.)



Pricing


OneCoin has advertised itself as the future of payments – something that will replace the traditional currencies. From that aspect I find it quite interesting that when OneCoin price (in euros) increases in the OneCoin/OneLife backoffice, the prices of goods in Dealshaker are automatically adjusted down so that the price keeps its euro value! 

It must be quite confusing for the merchants that priced their goods in Onecoins but later found out that their already set prices have been set cheaper automatically by the system! The explanation is of course that the system stores the prices of goods in euros, not in OneCoins. 

It seems very impractical that "the future of payments" stores its prices in a currency that is supposed to be "past of payments", but all in all none of this is not really a problem due to one point that should be made: It is illogical to expect any merchant to actually sell goods in order to receive OneCoins, at least not on the face value of OneCoin (which currently is 12,35 €). Reason for this is that through "Power Pack educational package" anyone can buy OneCoins and get 22,3 OneCoins per euro (or equally: an OneCoin can be bought for 0,04 €  270 times less than the value stated by OneLife). 

Any sane merchant would either sell goods for a price that is 270 times higher than it should be according to the face value price of OneCoin... ...or then they would just go and buy the coins via the educational package, if they really wanted to own OneCoins. 

Let's assume someone has OneCoins and he/she expects them to be worth 12,35 € each. What can he/she buy with his/her coins, then? These deals look extremely interesting:
At least these merchants have understood the real value of OneCoin. That phone (from year 2016) can be bought for less than 100 euros according to websites from India - 1/610 of the price of the coupon. 

There are also some real-life users that seem to genuinely believe the system works, like the two restaurants in Finland that sell food and take payments 100 % in Onecoins. The prices of those two restaurants are around 3 times as high as they should be by the face value of OneCoin (a Pizza was set to cost ~30 euros "worth" of OneCoins - i.e. using coin value of 12.35 euros - when a proper price would be at 10 euros). And even then those prices are still too high compared to the price coins can be bought for (0,04 € / OneCoin). 

And as a last problem in selling goods 100 % in OneCoins: the merchants who receive OneCoins as a payment cannot use the coins to refresh their inventory, they can only try to find another user who is silly enough to sell goods for OneCoins. That is a process trying to find "the greatest fool". The merchants as a whole are going to make loss when selling in Dealshaker.



Conclusion


Dealshaker platform official numbers are unrealistic and can best be explained by being a forgery. That also applies to several of the open deals and the merchants behind them. There are open deals also from good willing OneCoin affiliates but those form a minority and are going to only result to losses of the seller. Like pointed out several times before, forgery is the nature of this scam. 





10 comments:

  1. Great analysis and data. What a joke. How can people be stop blind to STILL not recognize that this was by design for so long and then they just began to run out of options and had to make shit up.

    ShakyDealer at best.

    ReplyDelete
  2. One small correction: "Dealshaker platform charges half of the euro sum as a mandatory "fee".
    The fee is 25% at least for normal deals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, correction done.

      For those unfamiliar with the early stages of Dealshaker:

      The platform actually was set to charge half of the euro sums in the beginning. If I recall correctly this rule was applied for the first couple of weeks, until Ruja decided that maybe it wasn't so great idea.

      Even the 25 % cut is ridiculous, but then again it's probably designed just to keep merchants who ask awkward questions out of the shitty platform.

      Delete
  3. Good analysis! You could also include the recently imposed limitation on coupons that can be claimed. Ruja has decided that merchants can claim only 5 coupons, however the platform doesn't restrict them from selling, or more correctly giving away, more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe your comment is enough to bring this up, but in case the contributor wishes, I'll do modifications to the text.

      Delete
  4. Once again we get to see these interesting DealShitter deals:
    OneCoin pin, apparently in gold and silver, price is 100% in OneCoins (137.65 ONE)

    Except that the deal says: "The rest of the cost of 845 euros is sent to the requisites specified by the seller"

    I thought that it was verboten to ask for additional fees outside the Dealshitter platform? :D
    And what are the OneCoins even needed for here? IMO a price that high has 0 euros of discount in it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Either something is wrong with your link or the staff from OneCoin office deleted it already. At least they were reading this blog post during this morning.

      Delete
    2. That URL is valid (I mean there are no missing letters or such). Judging from the time stamps it was deleted within 5 hours after I posted it here. Perhaps your method of knowing where the traffic comes from has been therefore proven to work? :D

      Delete
  5. The Quadruple account merchant mentioned over there has at least two more accounts, I noted: (link) and (link).

    ReplyDelete

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