I personally don't pay a massive amount of my attention to cryptocurrencies. This isn't because I dislike them, more because they're just not that interesting to me at the moment. I'll occasionally hear about Bitcoin rallying or some Etherium app getting hacked, but other than that I avoid it.

Recently, I've had a bunch of people who wouldn't normally be interested in such things ping me about Initiative Q, asking what I thought of it. When people who aren't in the tech circles I'm in start asking me about something like this, alarm bells start ringing for me, given that usually we tend to know about these things before they become popular. So I investigated.

Firstly, and I can't shout this loud enough:

Q IS NOT A CRYPTOCURRENCY

Q is a centralized coin. It is issued by a central authority, and right now isn't even traded. This makes it presently completely useless; not that being able to trade it gives it much more use.

Effectively, right now, the website is promising to give users who sign up today over 100,000 dollars. Of course, they mean in future money, once Q has gotten up and running and is worth anything at all. How the hell they're estimating the future worth of a currently worthless token is anyones guess.

Q does not solve the problem it claims to

Q claims that it has found a way to incentivize shop owners to install their payment infrastructure, but as far as I can tell, they reckon giving a bunch of people worthless tokens will somehow encourage shop owners to pay to install hardware so that they can take these pointless coins. I somehow doubt it.

If the number of users was the barrier to a shops adoption of a new currency, then why haven't we seen shops cashing in on Bitcoin or Etherium payment terminals? It wouldn't be that hard really to build a payment terminal that can accept a large array of CryptoCoins - and they've all got the benefit of low/no fees and no central authority! Bitcoin in particular can do practically instant transactions using the lightning network these days too!

It smells a LOT of a pyramid scheme

Their marketing literally begs you to get others to sign up, and if you get others to sign up then you get more money! It even in a hilariously self aware fashion explains that if not enough people sign up, the project will fail. Unfortunately for the authors of this nonsense, 'enough', means 'infinite'.

Get rich quick schemes still work

What is surprising in all this to me is this:

  • Users are visiting the homepage of this website, and are seeing a dollar amount promised to them in the future, if they just give their email now!!!
  • After signing up, they're being told that they'll get 10% of that amount in worthless tokens, but if they want another 40% worthless tokens, they better sign a few of their friends up!
  • Users then are spamming referral links all over the internet attempting to get others to sign up with their link.
  • Users don't see anything wrong with all this!

Does this seem like a reputable scheme? A vicious threat to those fat cats at VISA and Mastercard? "If only you'd share your referral link one more time we could have defeated HSBC :(". "Like my Facebook page to take down AMEX". "Share this with 10 of your friends or Western Union will come into your house and mess up your pots and pans". I doubt they're losing any sleep over this nonsense.

How about a ponzi scheme to collect a bunch of emails for people who are interested in futuristic Fintech to exploit later? Seems a bit more likely to me, but hey, what do I know, I missed out on my Bitcoin millions.