Africans are falling prey to another classic Ponzi scheme called “Million Money”. Perhaps, this is the evidence of the insatiable nature of mankind’s greed and desperation.
Not too long ago, the global cyber space was filled with the frenzy of the defunct MMM ponzi scheme. Shortly before then was the one called Zarfund, both of which required participants to engage in some sort of organised crowdfunding program that hugely benefited the earliest participants. The injuries left in the heart of many after these schemes crashed are in most cases too deep to recover from.
Ponzis Take More Than Just Money From You
Apart from the financial losses and emotional injuries inflicted on participants, these schemes have been responsible for different levels of social troubles as well. Relationships have been bastardized, and significant loss of trust experienced in many cases.
It can be recalled very well how community leaders, even Pastors, Imams and leaders of other religious and social groups led their subjects into the bottomless pit of these schemes. Only to cover their eyes in shame when they could not explain what happened to the people’s money and expectations. Or, did they?
What is surprising is that this same group of people who have been affected by scams like the ponzi and pyramid schemes in the past, seem to be quick to go back to their vomit at the slightest opportunity. Sometimes you cannot help but wonder whether this is normal. You will ask yourself why and how they get over their pains so quickly and embark on another wild goose chase. Or, do they?
Hiding Under The People’s Ignorance
Newest on the block is the “Million Money” ponzi scheme which claims to be a blockchain smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. The scheme describes itself as a crowdfunding project and sweet-talks the ignorant into believing that it is a legitimate and sustainable implementation of blockchain technology. Meanwhile, it is simply a classical ponzi scheme like those before it.
Like always, Africa and Nigeria especially is a target for this newly launched ponzi. The reasons for this may not be far-fetched. A simple observation will lead to the conclusion that the unfavourable economic factors make citizens desperate for any promise of wealth, even without considering the dangers therein.
Many adults are out of work with little or no hope for the future. Therefore, with well constructed sentences and a good-looking website, you can almost make them give you a kidney for the promise of huge returns. Worse still, these platforms make entry into the system look very affordable in terms of cash, not minding the non-monetary implications that can only encourage one to sell his soul to the devil.
Suck in the crowd and abandon them in the cold.
A Deliberate Twisting of Knowledge
The lack of proper knowledge of how things work over the internet and blockchain industry especially is allowing a lot of people to fall prey to these dangerous schemes. Imagine the organisers of the Million Money ponzi scheme describing it as an implementation of blockchain’s smart contract. That is a criminal description of the technology and can only be used to deceive those who are ignorant of the technology.
This is not the first time that such a scenario is playing out. Remember in 2017, when the MMM ponzi was all over the place. Many of the propagators simply told unsuspecting victims that they were investing in “Bitcoin”. Today, they have changed their story. It is now “Smart Contracts”. The lack of proper education is perhaps the biggest setback under the scenario. The people need to be properly educated about online opportunities and the blockchain especially.
Unfortunately, the regulatory structure governing the industry is still littered with a lot of loopholes. It is this factor, coupled with the pseudo anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies that the scammers are capitalizing upon to unleash financial mayhem on their victims. By extension, they end up tarnishing the image of the emerging industry, making it more difficult for genuine practitioners to find acceptance in the marketplace.
How To Stop Scammers
Therefore, the most available means of stopping the havoc being wrecked by such ponzi and pyramid schemes is through the creation of proper awareness. Everyone concerned needs to stand up and callout the bad players. The unsuspecting masses need to be informed and made aware of the dangers ahead. Unfortunately, the majority of them are the same poor masses who are desperate for survival. Being hit by the global Covid-19 pandemic and an economic setback might be too much for some of them in this category to handle.
Putting an end to ponzi schemes is never an easy thing to do, this is why most of them run until they die naturally. The main reason why this is so is not because of total ignorance, rather it has to do with the mentality of the main propagators of these schemes. Many serial participants seem to understand the system so well that what they do is try to get in early, make the hit and pull out when the masses have trooped in to make them money. At this point, it becomes a matter of how well the conscience of the people can be appealed to.
A Fundamental Problem
Whatever might be the case, the damage caused by these schemes can never be underestimated. It is a behavioural pattern which is evident in the habitual corruption that is characteristic of regions where these schemes seem to thrive. They are like the oil that stains the fabric of not just an industry, but the people as a whole. This explains why ponzi schemes always find their way to the same regions over and over again.
There are currently a lot of ponzi schemes running at the moment. The so-called “Million Money” is loud probably because the propagators have decided to get more aggressive. However, all of them operate under the same principle of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Sooner than later, there’ll be no more Peters to pay the Pauls, after which the frontrunners will characteristically disappear into thin air and wait for the next season to launch.
Iyke Aru is a seasoned author and educator in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. He has been in the business of crypto content writing for many years with thousands of his articles across several platforms on the internet. Iyke is based in Nigeria where he stands out as one of the most informed and credible figures in the cryptocurrency industry. Outside blockchain and crypto, you will most likely catch Iyke playing or discussing football with friends and family.