StartMiner: Crypto’s 552 Day Ponzi Scheme
The fact that startminer.com is a scam may be fairly well established at this point, it’s been around for 552 days and dozens of victims have come forward, but the alarming fact remains: there’s no sign of this potentially multi-million dollar scam being shut down anytime soon, and worse still, it’s beginning to multiply.
Too good to be true
I’m not going to dive too heavily into the reasons people are susceptible to offers that obviously seem too good to be true to the majority of people, but the fact is, people do fall for these type of websites, and StartMiner is one of the worst.
Here’s a selection of the offers available on StartMiner, which suggest the company is cloud mining, although there’s absolutely no evidence of a mining operation. They also claim insanely high per minute payout rates that are completely implausible.
If the flashing mining offers don’t convince users to invest, the site also offers a free introductory version, that’s actually fairly generous at 0.0002 BTC per day ($1.29). Once you’ve built up enough Bitcoin to request a withdrawal (0.002), you’ll be met with the fact that it could take “5+ days” to issue your withdrawal unless you invest in a higher level miner, which will “make withdrawals process faster.”
While this may not fool the majority of people, it’s easy to see why some people would feel it’s worth the risk if they’ve already got a Bitcoin balance supposedly waiting.
“We strongly recommend to invite referrals”
If you’ve spent any time on StartMiner, you will have noticed the outlandishly generous (30% currently) affiliate reward system that’s critical to building out the pyramid scheme.
Interestingly, many users seem not to mind participating in a pyramid scheme as long as they can get in early enough and get enough users under them to gain personal profitability. Some people in the crypto space even spend their own money to advertise these scams to other unsuspecting people. Spend time on any of the crypto pay-per-click ad sites and you’re guaranteed to find several mining scams like StartMiner.
Sadly for those users who do spend the time and money building a downline, we found a multitude of evidence that no one receives withdrawals, regardless of their level or referral count. The site does pay out “referral commissions,” but these payments seemingly cannot be withdrawn.
Who’s running StartMiner?
That’s the mystery, as the fraudster also runs newer clone sites like 99miner. Unfortunately, the websites’ owners are well hidden behind their registration service, Enom, and virtual business address in London, which is sold by MadeSimple for £49.99.
The 38,892 most popular website in the world is based out of 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, according to their contact page, but the address is nothing more than a front used by online businesses. In fact, a google search of the address reveals some strange results that seem to suggest it’s one of the locations that has allowed London to flourish as the staging point for online scams.
While London may seem like a fairly legitimate location for a business, evidence suggests the city has become a hotbed for fraudsters and scam artists who find the availability of “registered office addresses” exceptionally convenient.
20-22 Wenlock Road
The 20-22 Wenlock Road address has become particularly notorious as a staging ground for scam websites after U.K.’s High Court liquidated 2 scam companies operating out of the address in 2016. Interestingly, the fake companies were allegedly part of a larger network of 50 or more scam websites run by the seemingly still at large Jade Evans.
While the majority of Evans’ companies were based at different virtual addresses in London, the link between the Wenlock Road address and StartMiner has led some to speculate that Evans is back to scamming, although there’s no evidence apart from the shared virtual address to suggest a link. Sadly, the fake address is all disgruntled ‘investors’ have to grasp onto once they realize StartMiner and its clones stole their Bitcoin.
We reached out to StartMiner on multiple occasions with no response.
Disclaimer: This article’s author has cryptocurrency holdings that can be tracked here. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.