Social media’s got itself a new trend, but it doesn’t ask you to post a video of you chucking a bucket of ice on yourself, or doing 20 push-ups – instead, it asks you to sign up to a new financial network called Initiative Q.
You may have already been accosted by friends on Facebook or Twitter, telling you there are only a limited amount of invites to join in on the next bitcoin that will potentially get you rich quickly.
A message from a friend might say: “Initiative Q is building a new payment network and giving away significant sums of their future currency to early adopters.” It may also tell you that this is a free service that could net you big profits should it take off.
It will also tell you there are only a limited number of invites, urging you to quickly click your own personal invite before the free positions end.
Naturally, you should always think carefully about any links sent to you, particularly if they claim to make money for you for free. So, should you click the link and sign up? What is this new Initiative Q, really?
What is Initiative Q?
If you google Initiative Q and head to its website, you will be greeted with a giant splash page bearing the catchphrase “tomorrow’s payment network”.
The trend of finding the next global currency was kick-started with the immense blow-up of bitcoin, with investors raking in huge payouts thanks to the meteoric rise in price.
If you’re unfamiliar with bitcoin, it’s essentially a digital currency that you buy with real money. This currency can then be exchanged online for goods and services, without any central bank tracking how you spend it.
It’s fast, discreet and accountable, with each transaction being written on a digital ledger called a blockchain, ensuring that you can always keep track of where your bitcoins are going.
Hundreds of alternative coins sprouted from bitcoin, and it appears that Initiative Q is just the latest in a long line of these digital financial initiatives, although they stress that they’re different from a cryptocurrency – which they describe as “a brilliant solution to a problem that doesn’t exist”.
However, Initiative Q does acknowledge that “some of the concepts behind cryptocurrency are valuable, and may be deployed in Initiative Q’s backend”.
The website claims that Q will be on the cutting edge of technology, which will ultimately create a “flexible, easy-to-use and inexpensive payment network”.
The website goes on to say: “Initiative Q solves the adoption problem by associating the payment network with a new global currency, and distributing this currency to early adopters for free.”
But it encourages you to sign up quickly to secure free entry, with early adopters enjoying “higher rewards”.
Entry is only available to you if you are referred by an existing member of Initiative Q, which explains why you may have been blasted with invites from various people online.
But the ultimate question on many people’s lips is: is Initiative Q real or fake?
Short answer – we have absolutely no idea.
To be honest, our spider-sense is tingling when it comes to online offers for free money.
The cryptocurrency world has been bugged with dozens of fake promises of money. ICOs – or initial coin offerings – are essentially crowdfunding projects, where budding crypto-preneurs explain their blockchain business plan and ask for cryptocurrency investment from crypto-holders.
As you would expect, many of them have ended up as scams, disappearing into the ether with millions of digital coins.
Initiative Q is different, however, as it doesn’t ask you to invest any money. The free offering simply promises to garner better financial reward if you secure one of the free slots, meaning there should be no financial risk to you to join.
All they are offering is to set up a new payment network utilising the very newest technology and then run a private currency – Q – on that network, with a base of 2 trillion Q, which will be worth $1 per Q.
This may make you think of a pyramid or Ponzi scheme, whereby a scammer will trick new investors out of their hard-earned cash and repay earlier investors with the proceeds – but no money has changed hands – yet.
Initiative Q says in its FAQ: “Pyramid schemes collect money from new members and distribute it to earlier members. In contrast, joining initiative Q is completely free. So, clearly, there is no money to hand up the ‘pyramid’ to earlier members.
“Initiative Q does give Qs to members who join, and more Qs are given to early members and to those who invite their friends. However, the value of these Qs will come from them being gradually accepted as a better currency, in accordance with the ‘equation of exchange’ in economics…
“Initiative Q’s marketing approach is not different than that used by many companies, such as Dropbox, Uber, AirBNB, Zoho and others, that compensate users who invite their friends. In Initiative Q’s case new registrants may sometimes see more value in the reward, resulting in more invitations being sent.”
Should I sign up to Initiative Q?
We won’t claim to tell you what to do with your money or time, but we would err on the side of caution when it comes to Initiative Q or, indeed, any online promises of quick wealth.
David Gerard, a technology journalist and crypto-expert, says much the same thing. In his blog, Gerard writes: “There’s no such thing as a get-rich-quick scheme that works, particularly one that badgers you to get in early. And the marketing is entirely pyramid-shaped.
“But as far as I can tell, they’re completely sincere! It’s just their ideas that are bad or don’t actually exist yet.”
If you want to sign up and potentially be in for crypto-millionaire-hood, then go right ahead, but as with any investment, be cautious about what you are signing up for and read everything carefully.