South Africa FSB Forex License - Atomiq Consulting

[Econ] Making the Best of a Very Bad Thing

November 2030
Well, uh, this sucks. Just a few short months after the Arab States of the Gulf finally unified, the world economy decided to explode. This is what we in the business of economics call a very bad thing.
The effects across the FAS have been relatively disparate. The United Arab Emirates, easily the most diversified economy in the region, has been the least heavily impacted (though it's still bad). Diversification programs in Oman and Bahrain have also helped to stave off some of the worst impacts of the crisis, though they haven't been as successful in avoiding the effects as the UAE. Qatar and Kuwait, still almost entirely reliant on hydrocarbon exports, are not happy with this turn of events. Falling global oil prices, though propped up a little by a sudden increase in demand from China, have left their economies struggling much more than the rest of the country, and in desperate need of assistance from the better off parts of the country.
One major pain point in this crisis has been the FAS's economic ties to the United States. While most of the FAS's trade is with Asia, Africa, and Europe, the US financial system still plays a crucial role in the FAS. The stability of the US Dollar has long been used to protect the economies of the Gulf using their vast Forex reserves (earned from oil sales) to peg their currency to the US Dollar. With the US Dollar in complete collapse, the value of the Khaleeji is plummeting right along with it, causing a significant degree of harm to the FAS's economy.
To help offset this harm (and to decouple the FAS's economy from a country that the FAS is starting to view as maybe not the most reliable economic partner), the Central Bank in Dubai has announced that the Khaleeji will switch its peg from the US Dollar to a basket of foreign currencies (the Euro, the Pound Sterling, the Swiss Franc, the US Dollar, and the Japanese Yen). The FAS hopes that this will help to salvage the Khaleeji's value, better protecting the economy from the collapse of the dollar-based international financial system. Rumor has it that the Central Bank is discussing the idea of unpegging the Khaleeji entirely and allowing it to float freely, but so far, the Central Bank has made no moves towards floating the Khaleeji.
Crises suck. They shatter the status quo and throw established norms and procedures into chaos. No one really wins during a crisis.
But in another sense, they're a double-edged sword. The status quo is often a repressive entity, reinforcing existing hierarchies and preventing dramatic shifts in the order of things. Chaos breaks that apart, giving the ingenuitive and the entrepreneurial on opportunity to better their lot in ways they otherwise could not.
Put differently: chaos is a ladder, and the FAS intends to be the one climbing it. As the largest economy in the Arab World (and one of the world's 20 largest economies) by both nominal GDP and GDP per capita (by a significant margin--it's probably either Saudi Arabia or Egypt in second place in nominal GDP, and definitely Saudi Arabia in second place in GDP per capita, but the FAS more than doubles the country in second place in both categories, so it's sort of a moot point), the FAS hopes to cement its place as the regional economic power.
The FAS has announced a new slate of policies intended to attract rich investors, manufacturing firms, and financiers fleeing the new nationalization program of the United States. New free trade zones have been created throughout the country--especially in the struggling, undiversified regions of Kuwait and Qatar--with the goal of convincing fleeing American manufacturers to set up shop in these areas. Attractions include wildly low tax rates (as low as zero percent in some instances), a common law framework (as opposed to the Sharia-based legal system in most of the FAS), highly subsidized land prices (sometimes free), relaxed financial restrictions (making it easier to move money in and out of the FTZ), and, for large enough firms moving enough operations into the country, preferential visa treatment (making it easier for them to relocate foreign employees into the country). Sitting at one of the major crossroads of global trade, moving operations to the FAS offers easy access to both the world's established consumer markets (like the EU and East Asia) as well as to some of its largest growing markets (South and Southeast Asia, East Africa, and MENA). Pair this with wildly high standards of living (for people who aren't slaves Asian or African migrant workers) and established expatriate communities, and the FAS becomes an incredibly attractive option for American and other foreign firms looking to relocate.
In addition to manufacturing-oriented FTZs, special attention has been paid to attracting service-oriented firms to new and existing FTZs in the vein of Dubai Internet City, Dubai Design District, Dubai Knowledge Park, and Dubai Media City, with the goal of developing a robust service economy that can capture growing markets in the MENA, South Asia, and East African regions. In advertising these zones, the governments of the FAS have highlighted the success of previous ventures in Dubai, which have attracted the regional headquarters of giants like Facebook, Intel, LinkedIn, Google, Dell, Samsung, Microsoft, IBM, Tata Consultancy, and more.
Perhaps one of the most substantial pushes, though, is to attract American financial services and FinTech firms to base in the FAS (particularly Dubai, Kuwait City, Doha, and Abu Dhabi, the traditional centers of regional finance). New financial industry free trade zones have been set up in the four cities, structured in the vein of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). These financial FTZs boast an independent and internationally regulated regulatory and judicial system, a common law framework, and extremely low taxation rates. All government services in these regions are available in English (the lingua franca of international finance), and in events where ambiguity exists in the legal and regulatory systems, the systems are set to default to English Common Law (except for the Kuwait City International Financial Centre, which is hoping to better tailor itself towards American financial firms by defaulting to American Civil Law from pre-2020 rather than English Common Law). Much like in the DIFC, these new FTZs will also run their own courts, staffed in large part by top judicial talent from Common Law (or in the case of Kuwait City, American Civil Law) jurisdictions like Singapore, England, and (formerly) Hong Kong. Using these FTZ, the four cities hope to raise their profile as financial centers. Dubai in particular is hoping to break into the top ten global financial centers--and it stands a good chance of doing so, too, as it sits at number 12, just behind cities like LA, SF, and Shenzhen--while the other cities are just hoping to boost their profile into the 20s or 10s (according to Long Finance, Dubai is number 12 in the world and 1 in the region, Abu Dhabi is number 39 in the world and two in the region, Doha is number 48 in the world, and Kuwait City is number 91).
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TIL: The latest ponzi scheme - PIPcoin

Well today was interesting. After seeing a ton of people trying to spam their referral links into some of the big Facebook groups we run at work, I decided to investigate a bit more after dinner & a couple of glassses of wine.
Let me introduce you to PIPcoin. (for those like me who missed it when it last came up on the sub)
PIPcoin from the horses mouth
PIPcoin's CEO on SABC
One of his "free" seminars.
Here is a quick recording off their homepage :-(
Pipcoin is Africa’s first P2P Cryptocurrency and is more seen as an emerging digital currency that seeks to revolutionize accessibility and raise awareness about the importance of online trading to the multitudes of both the aspirant traders and those who are completely unaware of the abounding benefits and opportunities offered by the digital market. Thus, for all its worth as a potential life-changing tool, we want Pipcoin to be everybody’s business.
So this is new... lets take a look at their FAQ's because I have many! here are my favourite bits:
What Is The Structure Of A Pipcoin? Pipcoin Concept (for developers) -IF YOU HAVE 0,9999 MICRO-PIPS THEN IT WILL BE ROUNDED OFF TO 1.0000 – MAKING IT 1 PIPCOIN-
lol really? Where does that extra micro tit pip come from?
Why Pipcoin Isnt A Get Rich Quick Scheme Whenever there is a new digital breakthrough it is natural for people to be sceptic, this has been scientifically proven. Even at one stage the internet was said to be a scam, same goes to online trading, they said it won’t last. Same goes to Facebook; they said it’s an information-leaking scam. Same goes again to Bitcoin they said it’s a ‘failed experiment’. Pipcoin is the people’s currency and can never in a scale be compared to ponzi schemes and investment bonanzas; Pipcoin is a friend-to-friend digital currency which has its own crypto keys and public ledger just like any other legit digital currency. Everyone is a host to the currency, every participants’ computers serve as servers to the system and just like forex trading it is a zero-sum game, when you buy the coins there will be someone selling to you.
SkepticalHippoIsSkeptical.jpg
Who Is The Founder Of Pipcoin? However the inception of the idea can be credited to David Schwartz and the inception of the algorithm and mathematics behind to Ref Wayne, a 21 year old South African who is behind the creation of most high-tech forensic software as well as the indicators for financial trading platform (Forex Metatrader), it is without chance that the creation of Pipcoin is water-proof and crack-free.
Aside from the laughable wording, this is perhaps the most interesting part. If you can make it through this interview or this video his story sounds a lot like this "David Schwartz" story here. Excuse the popups but give it a read and obviously the comments at the bottom.
Is Pipcoin Legal? ...After all, there is no authority that can stop anyone from buying and selling a product online.
hahahahahahahahAHAHAha!
Do I Need To Provide Any Id Documents To Join Pipcoin is a cryptocurrency which means it’s completely encrypted, even for its users, it remains completely confidential. You don’t need to submit any documents.
erm... surely this goes against SO many laws in SA?
How Reliable Is This Website In Terms Of Security And Keeping Personal Data And Pipcoins [no ? at the end of these ones for some reason] We pay great attention to security and the confidential information on the website is protected by EV SSL. We don’t divulge any personal data of members to third parties. Your participation too, is strictly confidential.
thats...not really explaining it at all. SSL isnt the be-all and end all - but oh there's another one right below. Im sure that'll clear it up...
Are You Protected From Hackers We have installed power Anti-DDOS protection on our servers and have many other security measures.
well that settles it.
ok ok so whats next?
Some points/gems from their Terms of User PDF [mirror here] (i've never heard that phrase) but looks like something from the lawfirm of Copy, Pasta and Google.
All references to the ‘company,’ ‘us,’ ‘our,’ ‘we’ or ‘Pipchain’ means Pipchain South Africa S.a.r.l., a company registered under the laws of South Africa, with a share capital of EUR 55,222.08, having its registered address at L-2340 South Africa, 1, rue Philippe II, registered with the South Africa Trade and Companies Register under number B 190.078 (Business License number B190078).
I tried to find out if thats real but I couldnt figure out how to do it via the new http://www.cipc.co.za/ site.
Their privacy policy link https://pipchain.com/PrivacyPolicy.pdf 404's
Typos galore eg - " Server failure ordata loss;"
We make no warranty that the Website or the server that makes it available, are free of viruses or errors, that its content is accurate, that it will be uninterrupted, or that defects will be corrected.
wut?!
  1. AGREEMENT TO HOLD PIPCHAIN HARMLESS
wut2
7.2. If you are obligated to indemnify us, we will have the right, in our sole discretion, to control any action or proceeding (at our expense) and determine whether we wish to settle it.
ok...
9.1. You need not use a Pipchain Wallet. If you wish to use the Wallet, you must create a wallet with Pipchain to access the Services (“Wallet”)
I need an adult.
10.5. No Storage or Transmission of Pipcoins. Pipcoins are an intangible, digital asset. They exist only by virtue of the ownership record maintained in the Pipcoin network. The Services do not store, send or receive Pipcoins. Any transfer of title that might occur in any Pipcoins occurs on the decentralized ledger within the Pipcoin network and not within the Services. We do not guarantee that the Service can effect the transfer of title or right in any Pipcoins.
and
10.8. No Cancellations or Modifications. Once transaction details have been submitted to the Pipcoin network via the Services, The Services cannot assist you to cancel or otherwise modify your transaction details. Pipchain has no control over the Pipcoin Network and does not have the ability to facilitate any cancellation or modification requests.
In the SABC interview (linked at the top of this post) the CEO says he took bitcoin and 'modified' it to be safer and so you can track 'stolen or lost' coins. So thats a lie.
  1. DISCONTINUANCE OF SERVICES 15.1. We may, in our sole discretion and without cost to you, with or without prior notice and at any time, modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, any portion of our Services. You are solely responsible for storing, outside of the Services, a backup of any Wallet Address and Private Key pair that you maintain in your Wallet.
erm, ok but because PIPcoins can only be traded on their website and not transferred to anything else... how does that work?
17.1.3. Use any robot, spider, crawler, scraper or other automated means or interface not provided by us to access our Services or to extract data; 17.1.4. Use or attempt to use another user’s Wallet without authorization
the enter key is a hard one to find on a laptop I'll give them that one...
---- gets more wine ---
They claim to have a 30-35% growth rate on any and all investments! Crazy returns.
I did a bit of a google on them and immediately found these posts.
Some choice excerpts:
The company has promised that it will soon be issuing a debit card. Promising to issue a debit is an old trick used by fraudulent companies to create a false sense of trust and legitimacy to unsuspecting investors.
and
The transfer of pipcoins is verified by one sources, instead of 3 independent source as is usually the case with legitimate crypto currencies with a blockchain.
and
They also use wording similar to ‘get-rich-quick' scheme lines such as “Pipcoin will create over a 100 millionaires by the end of this financial year”. These are revealing signs of a fraudulent scheme. Moreover, pipcoin is a closed system, you cannot trade with anyone other than randomly chose people registered on the website. Their blockchain is not public or transparent, in fact, they do not have a blockchain and, if they do have one, then it is not operational.
So who's behind it? Who is this Ref dude?
According to his Twitter bio he's "Youngest Billionaire in Africa | Founder of African 1st ever digital currency ! Get a minimum interest of 35% @infopipcoin"
here are some choice images from his public FB:
I tried to register on https://mypipcoins.com/ but there's an ASPX error during the registration process and it kept trying to switch between https and http. Great start. I tried in all major browsers and they all failed so I gave up on trying to signup with my temp email [email protected] :(
So then, lets take a closer look at the support they offer on their site. They've got one of those "live chat" widgets on their site and this evening there was actually someone online :)
I said "hello" and saw "busi has joined the conversation" - sweet.
Here is the transcript I downloaded before they killed the chat. Lucky I insta-clicked the download before they killed my chat session.
As you can see by the chat log, Busi linked me to whats obviously the new 'site' they're launching this weekend https://pipchain.com/
The site looks a lot like the blockchain.info website.
Their market page is awesome compared to blockchain.info's one! its even got a bigger market cap! Note the article links are all the same, except for two small things.
  1. None of the links work...because
  2. they've done a find&replace in the code, replacing all instances of "bitcoin" with "pipcoin" XD
Anyway, I thought I'd try signup on THIS site and lo 'n behold I managed to sign up! [email protected] lives!
Here is PIPcoin's dashboard and here is Blockchain.info's dashboard.
Here is PIPcoins transactions page and here is Blockchain.info's transaction page.
So pretty much a blatant copy/pasta job.
-- final thoughts --
Its unfortunate that the quality of journalism in SA is so weak. PIPcoin getting a lot of media attention for something thats honestly so dodgy, if you looked at it for more than 5 minutes you'd know. Many people are going to fall for this and if you look at the comments on twitter or on his FB posts or on any video calling out the scam you'll shake your head.
Someone (not me) has even put this site together https://www.pipcoin.co/ which is as informative as it is awesome! Click the login and it takes you to "Logging in should be the last thing you should be worried about right now." and the bottom of the site has the best burn ever
"This website was built as a public service announcement by concerned citizens (and shows what a legitimate site should look like"
I did try connect with the 'owner' via twitter to find the source/calculation of the "R40 314 800,00 lost & counting" figure but so far no reply.
Anyway its late and I'm going to bed. I hope you learnt something and if you see anyone in your social circles promoting this please make them aware.
EDIT: Reddit formatting is hard.
EDIT2: Got a reply from the person behind the pipcoin.co site - http://imgur.com/a/995oN which honestly shows the lack of skills the scheme has in the development/security field and now if you rewatch the interviews you can see why he's so scripted when talking about the tech stack.
EDIT3: Sigh. I made a comment on the PIPcoin FB page to warn people about this and this is the response I found this morning - http://imgur.com/a/tFoAy I dont even know what/how to respond...
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Transcript of George Webb Video Series Part 101: "Hillary's Leakers, Hackers, and Henchmen" [@Georgwebb / #HRCRatlne]

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