Bitcoin Code, a binary trading platform that exploits Bitcoin for attention, has been around since 2017. It’s unclear how many people lost their money after taking the bait, but the platform is still active. Despite the fact that its promises to investors are absolutely ludicrous, U.Today has performed an in-depth analysis to make sure that it’s a blatant scam.
$13,000 in a single day?
Many suspect that Bitcoin Code is just another scam, and their concerns are completely justified. This is yet another textbook example of a common binary trading scam. In fact, the crooks do not even have anything to do with Bitcoin – they are simply using the latest buzzword in order to bait investors.
The rule of thumb is that any trading platform that promises you guaranteed returns is a scam, and Bitcoin Code is no exception. Any reasonable person who has at least basic knowledge of how cryptocurrency trading works perfectly understands that you won’t be able to earn $13,000 in a single day. They are targeting gullible investors who are greedy enough to fall for such get-rich-quick schemes.
Of course, many of you have heard the numerous inspiring stories about teenagers becoming Bitcoin millionaires, so you might think that this is your golden opportunity. Well, not so fast.
First, the market is far behind its inception stage, and nobody makes huge returns anymore. This is not December 2017, when Bitcoin was inching closer to hit the $20,000 and investors were inebriated by the pervasive crypto craze.
In the long-term, there is still a remote possibility that you could become a Bitcoin millionaire if the wildest BTC price predictions translate into reality, but no shady binary trading site is going to make you rich in a snap.
Behind the veneer of high-flown words about ‘life-changing profits’, there is a cheap-looking website with stock photos and paid actors.
It’s not a Ponzi scheme (it’s worse)
The first thing that draws our attention when we open the website is probably the number of copies of free companies of their software (the top left corner). This is supposed to create an illusion of urgency – a very common trick in digital marketing that is also exploited by such fraudulent websites.
Some of our readers might be tempted to call Bitcoin Code a Ponzi scheme, but it’s actually worse than that. The whole point of a Ponzi scheme is to lure in new investors whose money could be used in order to pay out returns to older investors who jumped on the bandwagon early. The pyramid scheme is extremely profitable for early investors who get their promised returns. Case in point: BitConnect, a crypto lending platform with a market cap of about $2.7 bln at the peak of the bull market. The difference between Bitcoin Code and BitConnect is that the latter actually paid some of its members. As reported earlier by U.Today, New Zealand shooter Brenton Tarrant actually got rich from BitConnect.
With Bitcoin Code, there is a single proof that its users earned at least a dime. Concocting a Ponzi scheme requires a lot of skills (marketing, payouts, etc.), but Bitcoin Code seems to be a very low-effort attempt at getting on board those who feel disgruntled about missing out on Bitcoin when the iron was hot.
The only thing that Bitcoin Code managed to do is to come up with a rehash of ancient scam software that tricks users into believing that they are actually earning money. This is simply a simulation of trading with no possibility to withdraw funds. Their software is supposed to be semi-automatic, which means that you are given a possibility to react to different trading signals. In reality, you don’t have a choice. By showing 5x, 7x, 10x returns, they are targeting greedy users who will be tempted to deposit more funds before even trying to actually withdraw funds.
First, let’s get down to the website’s alleged founder, Steve McKay. McKay, a self-proclaimed genius who allegedly earned more than $18 mln in half a year because of Bitcoin Code, claims that he used to work at a large software company, but he chooses not to disclose its name. His startup is allegedly making people rich faster than Uber, Facebook, and other major startups. Does this seem suspicious? Yes, but anything is possible in the crazy world of crypto.
However, a quick reverse Google Image search shows us that his picture was taken from stock photo site Shutterstock. When we googled his name, there were no results related to cryptocurrency investment. As you can see, that was a low-effort attempt to scam people into believing that the creator of a site is indeed a millionaire who’s dressed in an expensive suit.
If that wasn’t persuasive enough, you also have to take into account the fact that Steve McKay was never featured in a single news article. He doesn’t have any social media presence. He simply doesn’t exist.
If the CEO himself turned out to be fake, you don’t really expect all these successful investors that are listed on the website to be legit, do you?
People who are exuberant about their potential gains in the video are simply paid actors, which means they were paid a couple of dollars in order to read the script.
Of course, the same applies to those individuals who share their experience of investing in Bitcoin Code – these are all lies.
Now, take a look at these fancy pictures. All these alleged Bitcoin Code investors are having the time of their life on an expensive yacht. To no one’s surprise, these photos have nothing to do with Bitcoin since they are stolen from a random promotional campaign. Most probably, they are simply smiling because they will get paid for the photoshoot (Bitcoin Code investors cannot relate).
Bitcoin Code tries to create the illusion of the life you will never have if you waste all of your savings.
The same thing applies to fake testimonials – it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that all the testimonials that can be found on the website are completely fake. For instance, Chris Hadid, who allegedly asks his wife to pinch him every day because he cannot believe how much money he makes, is an anthropologist from France who has never heard about Bitcoin Code or even Bitcoin itself.
Taking Facebook to court
As reported by U.Today, Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, is still engulfed in a legal battle with social media giant Facebook over fake Bitcoin Code ads that exploited his name. Bitcoin Code claims that Lewis made a fortune from their project. The British TV star with £125 mln in his bank account sued Facebook for defamation in April 2018, but he still expects an apology from the company. Facebook states that ‘disinformation harms their community’.
Lewis himself wrote a lengthy post on his official website where he explains why you should stay away from this website at all cost. He states that some people had already invested around £20,000 because he recommended it, which made him ‘physically sick’. He asks all his followers to spread the word about this scam and report on Facebook.
However, it appears that Lewis wasn’t the only investment guru who was targeted by that campaign. British entrepreneur Peter Jones, who’s one of the richest people in the UK tech world with a net worth of around £475 mln, was also featured in fraudulent ads.
Spreading fake news
In the world of crypto, which is still widely considered to be ‘the Wild West’ because of lack of proper regulatory guidelines, bad actors come up with a myriad of ways to scam you into oblivion. Spoofing CNN in order to promote your scam is just one of them.
Bitcoin Code even made it to BuzzFeed News after it was featured in a fake CNN article. The article claims that Elon Musk and Richard Branson ‘made some of their biggest investments’ by putting money into Bitcoin Code. After providing some brief information about Musk and Branson, the article goes on praising Bitcoin Code as a revolutionary tool that takes money from the richest 0.1 percent and redistributes wealth to the rest of the population.
Musk and Branson were allegedly in charge of all of the Bitcoin Code decisions after forming a venture called Bitcoin Trading System. The article also features an interview with Bitcoin Trading System CTO Dan Marconi who explains the modus operandi of this system, but it is bogus just like his picture.
In order to add an ounce of credibility to this announcement, the scammers integrated a fake Facebook comment section that is full of people bragging about their profits. One of the commentators suggests that she should quit college in order to become a full-time autotrader (good luck with that!).
The trick worked perfectly well – according to the data provided by SimilarWeb, the website has managed to accumulate as many as 425,000 visits between September and December. That means that plenty of people fell prey to Bitcoin Code. Overall, there are more than 72 addresses that are busy promoting Bitcoin Code.
— Matt Hunter (@matthunter) October 1, 2017
There were numerous reports about the intrusive Bitcoin Code ads popping up on other news platforms, including CBS.
Reached the Bitcoin Code website scam by clicking an ad on the @cbsnews website. Here’s a screenshot. The page URL was https://t.co/NUe7jsyjW9 and the page about Bitcoin Code was https://t.co/q7BmR3CXKp pic.twitter.com/Ygu5SIc65u
— Dotwise (@Dotwise) June 15, 2018
What happens after I join
After reading this report, it is reasonable to assume that very few people would be actually willing to join the website in order to be scammed by a bunch of con artists. However, in case you are interested, you will be redirected to the website of an unregulated broker once you sign up to the platform. Notably, your broker will change with every sign-in, which means that Bitcoin Code allegedly gets a commission for luring in customers.
The voice behind the screen encourages you to ‘start small’ by investing $250. The money you invest goes directly to the bank accounts of those people who stand behind Bitcoin Profit.
Of course, you will never be able to withdraw your earnings or even get your deposit back since their main goal is to scam you into oblivion.
NB! Never deal with brokers that haven’t obtained a license! There’s an extremely high probability that you will be scammed into oblivion.
What to do if you got scammed?
If you were gullible enough to fall for this trap, very little can be done to get out of this predicament. The thing is, the creators behind this website remain absolutely anonymous. As mentioned above, Steve McKay’s personality is fake, and it is practically impossible to track down who was the real ‘mastermind’ behind this blatant scam.
Don’t even think that you can rely on customer support, which would be totally expected from the company that promises such mammoth-sized returns. There is no phone number, no live chat or even an email (!). There is a very simple ‘Contact Us’ form, and that’s about it.
There are tons of comments about the unfortunate experience of dealing with that sham site. One user, who invested $500 in Bitcoin Code after falling for the above-mentioned Elon Musk article, reveals that he had no luck withdrawing funds when he realized that the whole story was fake. When he tried to do so, there was no option to withdraw his money in a single click (he had to click the button 500 times in order to reach the required sum!). After that, his actions led to a number of phone calls from individuals with ‘heavy Chinese accents’ who acted like ‘trained salesmen’ by trying to talk him into staying with the exchange. Eventually, he succumbed to their demands and provided his photos and the photos of his ID, but (you guessed it) that didn’t work as well.
It might get even worse than that – another victim of the Bitcoin Code scam states that apart from taking his $400, fraudsters also stole $2,500 from his credit card. He eventually contacted the local bank in order to report the bad actors behind the scheme to the local police so that they wouldn’t be able to accept Bitcoin payments. The comment was published two years ago, but, unfortunately, Bitcoin Code is still operating.
Hence, you should remember that there is no shame in trying to recover your funds. The case with Bitcoin Code shows there is still a gleam of hope that you can hold these fraudsters accountable by cooperating with authorities.
Other similar platforms
Bitcoin Code is not the only scam of such type in the wild world of cryptocurrencies. Earlier, U.Today reported about Bitcoin Profit, another platform that can trade on your behalf. Bitcoin Profit uses the same list of tactics:
Promising extremely high financial returns (the ad on the site’s main page states that you could become a millionaire in a snap).
Offering fake trading software.
Publishing videos from paid actors and stock photos.
Hiding the information about the site’s creator.
Spreading fake ads with celebrities across the web to lure in gullible investors.
Bitcoin Revolution is yet another salient example of a trading platform that was clearly desperate for celebrity endorsements. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern submitted a complaint to Facebook after she appeared in photoshopped ads.
The fact that scammers are trying to piggyback off Bitcoin’s success in order to promote their get-rich-quick scams is extremely damaging for the cryptocurrency industry. Bitcoin, which became known to the general public as the dark web darling, is still struggling to restore its reputation after the crypto rout in 2019, and the likes of Bitcoin Code certainly do not help. When the price of Bitcoin was inching closer towards $20,000, Facebook was plagued with the ads of binary investing platforms that promised greedy users huge returns. Subsequently, Facebook decided to ban all crypto-related ads back in January, but this ban was eventually lifted.
The bottom line
You can find numerous reviews on the internet that shamelessly describe Bitcoin Code as a legit investment platform. They even bought fake Quora reviews to add an ounce of legitimacy.
With tons of evidence presented in this article, hardly anyone would be foolish enough to believe all the promises. Beyond any reasonable doubt, Bitcoin Code is obviously a scam if one considers its fake testimonials, software, and even its creator McKay, who also turned out to be fake.
The rule of thumb is that if something is too good to be legit, it’s most probably not, so you should stay away from such platforms at all cost. Remember that there are plenty of legal ways to invest in Bitcoin with practically zero risk. Meanwhile, the only thing that Bitcoin Code has in common with crypto is its name.