Herald Express (Torbay, Brixham & South Hams Edition)

Crypto conmen, fairytales and your investment Peter McGahan


ITHOUGHT three columns on cryptocurr­encies would do it, but it has run on and on. Forgive me.

We have had numerous calls regarding fraud, and they will grow. Some are six-figure numbers, police and fraud are involved, and intelligen­t people are being sucked in. I’ll cover some research and issues to look for here, in addition to the previous five columns I’ve completed this year. If you haven’t seen them, email for a copy as a one-way read through.

Firstly, we are all at a disadvanta­ge to sociopaths and criminals who we just can’t compete with. While we are wary, we still believe that ‘someone wouldn’t do something like that’ which leaves you wide open to fraud.

We think it’s terrible and measure fraudsters via our moral compass knowing that our mothers would twang a wooden spoon off the back of our heads.

Sociopaths? Well, they have no conscience. Google ‘the brain of a sociopath.’ Seriously. The part of the brain that deals with empathy is in sleep mode. Don’t expect them to play fair. That’s not a good use of your time.

Conmen aren’t successful if they aren’t clever or charismati­c. Guess what the characteri­stics of a sociopath are. They see you as their steppingst­one, not a mother or father with savings to feed your children. They see you as stupid, weak and their opportunit­y. Forcing your view of fairness onto them and measuring them via that is their advantage over you.

You cannot compete with that so stay out of that boxing ring.

Their schemes are cleverly designed, created by psychologi­sts, and delivered by artificial intelligen­ce which targets millions in under a second on the basis that at each stage of the buy-in there will be a fall off, but at the end there will be some left who plunder huge amounts of capital.

You can buy crypto currencies, or you can buy into brokers, schemes, funds, future prices of cryptocurr­encies.

A cryptocurr­ency has a purpose not a value, and if it does have a ‘value’ it’s made up. Bitcoin will rise and rise, and it will, until it doesn’t. Its ‘valuation’ technique is meaningles­s. The truth is, there is no ‘it.’

There is due diligence if you want to look at crypto currencies, but I will tell you now that I don’t know anyone capable of fully understand­ing that research when you have it all in front of you.

Check their white paper reviews or any technical informatio­n they have. In there you will see the credibilit­y – good luck.

Check their website and review the team and projects goals, what tech they are using, the team members. This should be highly detailed. Look at the background of all the team members. When you have researched that, remember Sam Bankman-Fried is in jail now, and everyone researched him but ignored key points that were big bright lights in a train tunnel.

Check to see if it fits with regulatory compliance, look for independen­t reviews – not Trustpilot, or the equivalent, as they can use artificial intelligen­ce to have those auto filled.

Check the industry watchdogs for scam alerts. Community alerts and social media – forget the nice things they say as they can be populated and responded to via bots in millisecon­ds but look for the risks or downsides they are referring to.

In Einstein’s words: “If you couldn’t explain it simply, you didn’t understand it”, and therefore you shouldn’t be anywhere near it as you will either be congratula­ting yourself for an uneducated decision based on hope, or beating yourself up for a ludicrous decision you can’t quantify.

Many say the best plan is to trust your instincts, but most people who I see who have been scammed have the instinct but their dopamine rush, their fear of losing out or just hope and a way out makes them think: ‘I’ll override my instinct because it’s wrong.’ I’d rather make no decision than one based on fairytales and no reliable logic. In the end, it all comes out in the wash, but you don’t want to be the one spat out of the spin dryer. It hurts.

» If you would like a factsheet with the previous columns let me know and we’ll get one to you. If you have a financial query, please call on 01872 222422.

» Peter McGahan is the chief executive officer of independen­t financial advisers Worldwide Financial Planning. Worldwide Financial Planning is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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 ?? ?? ⟫Financial expert Peter McGahan says a cryptocurr­ency has a purpose not a value, and if it does have a ‘value’ it’s made up
⟫Financial expert Peter McGahan says a cryptocurr­ency has a purpose not a value, and if it does have a ‘value’ it’s made up
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