3/11/17 (See my January, 2018 update here.)
Since the iPro network is now forming, naturally (and appropriately) behind MLM must ask, Is iPro Network a proxy for OneCoin’s US Ponzi scammers? (March 10, 2017, updated April 28, 2017).
OneCoin, being the Ponzi scheme that it is, was never going to risk launching in the most tightly regulated market in the world. Despite stringing early OneCoin investors along with promises of a US launch, the charade was quietly dropped in October, 2015. Spear-headed by Sal Leto, Maurice Katz and other affiliates, US OneCoin recruitment went underground. While publicly OneCoin wasn’t operating in the US, through offshore shell companies and bank accounts, unofficially US residents were still being recruited into the scheme.
Well, whether OneCoin (the network for which was changed to OneLife during 2016) ever intended to roll out in the United States, I think it was not their original plan. Their roots were pretty shady, and my hunch is they never expected their scam to grow as it did and never had any plans developed that would pass muster in the United States. It was finally decided (in late 2016) that network recruitment in the United States was not going to fly.
At this point, says behind MLM, “OneCoin’s US investors desperately began looking for a way out.” Actually the current status of OneCoin is that U.S. holders of OneCoin “ponzi points” still have access to their accounts (and can spend their OneCoins at over 16,000 vendors on the DealShaker website), but recruitment for the OneLife network within the U.S. has been stopped. Naturally U.S. members would have been looking for a way, not “out”, but a way to continue building their MLM commissionable network groups.
Leaders of the U.S. OneLife group(s) began scouting around to see what they could do. That is when another company, based out of the UK, came into the picture, with its iPro Network (IPN). Behind MLM says, “iPro Network is basically a snapshot of OneCoin in its current state, and it’s accepting signups from US residents.”
As I understand it (as an affiliate of both OneCoin and IPN), a deal was struck between OneLife, the U.S. member group, and IPN. OneCoin provided not only the geneology of the group to IPN, but also gave a copy of its MLM commissioning software. So yes, IPN would look like a “snapshot of OneCoin” today. Behind MLM quotes Sal Leto, one of the top leaders in the U.S. group:
Dr. Ruja (of OneCoin) said she will provide the genealogy of all the downlines so the structure can be transferred to another company.
Networking side (within OneCoin in the U.S.): Building and recruiting. These are two activities no longer allowed. If you got in before now, you got lucky. …
What Ruja did speaks highly of her. … She said that for our team only, she is willing to provide the full genealogical database to our team.
Don’t have to start over, just pick up where they left off… as an exit strategy.
But the roots of the UK company are very different than OneCoin. For one, as I mentioned, OneCoin did not originally expect to do business in the United States; but iProNetwork we are told has intended to do business in the United States from its founding and according to Sal Leto has an attorney who specializes in U.S. MLM law. Behind MLM doubts his word, saying, “At the time of publication there is no mention of an attorney, US or otherwise, on the iPro Network website.”
Visiting the Pro currency ICO page, I see the following parties involved in the initial development.
- Carlos Contreras – Project Founder and entrepreneur
- Irving Gerardo – Marketing Director and university (unnamed) professor
- Christian Orduno – Lead Applications Developer, an IT consultant
- RKANA – Lead Blockchain Developer
- Hugo Carmago – System Architect and professor at Universidad del Valle del Fuerte
- Miguel Gastelum – IT Manager, technology project manager and entrepreneur
- Max Rodriguez – System Administrator and college professor
My impression is that the above website and team pre-dates the introduction of IPN to the OneCoin U.S. group and the entry of IPN into MLM, so I’m not sure how many of them are still onboard. Visiting the current IPN website I see only one person by name, plus two glosses: “global management teams”, and a “specialized US attorney”:
- Armando Contreras – CEO of IPRO NETWORK, an entrepreneur with marketing and direct sales experience, and 25+ years experience in IT and Tech consulting.
- Global Management Teams
- A Specialized US Attorney
So it looks like they do have that attorney, in spite of behind MLM‘s claim that, “At the time of publication there is no mention of an attorney, US or otherwise, on the iPro Network website.”
Behind MLM also says, “by admission of iPro Network’s own affiliates, the two scams (OneCoin and IPN) are identical on the back-end.” But they overstate the case. IPN is using the identical software that OneCoin uses, yes. However anyone who has used software very much realizes that every user configures it to their own purposes and so no two applications of that software have to be “identical”. And yes, the IPN configuration of that software is very similar to OneCoin. Similar, though, is not identical. The fact that IPN is openly signing up U.S. citizens (unlike OneCoin), and their claim that they have a lawyer that specializes in U.S. MLM law should make it clear to us that they have configured their plan to be legal in the United States.
Behind MLM then continues, saying that, “As per iPro Network affiliate communications, shell companies used to launder funds into OneCoin from the US are now being repurposed for iPro Network investment.” Again they may be magnifying the issue here. It is not “companies” but one “company” that is “laundering” money into IPN. And I don’t see that we have to call it “laundering”, which I imagine is behind MLM‘s word. They like words like that. They do accurately identify Fintact Solutions LLC as processing payments for IPN. But it doesn’t seem like anybody is hiding who the sources of these funds are (the buyers) or who the recipient is (the iPro Network company). So, money laundering? I don’t think so. I don’t know whether Fintact Solutions processed for OneCoin or not.
Finally coming down the home stretch, behind MLM goes off the rails entirely in my opinion, saying, “So there you have it. With the blessing of OneCoin management, the scheme’s top US investors are going to have their own crack at Ponzi fraud through iPro Network.”
Haha! Ponzi? Fraud? There they go with those words again.
Let’s start with “ponzi”. As I see it, IPN potentially has real products with real value – which is something that a ponzi doesn’t have. I say potentially because as I write I haven’t seen any of their products yet. No one has. IPN is in pre-launch. One of the most valuable products they have, they won’t be charging money for. That is their “shopping portal” application, through which consumers can shop online stores (real, recognizable brands … Priceline, Amazon, Walmart and others have been named) and receive rebate rewards in the form of the PRO cryptocurrency. Up to 100% rebates are possible, but I think only when you buy IPN’s own educational products. IPN offers education coursework on online marketing, and the courses come with a 100% reward. When we become members we are joining a discount buying club. When we buy online marketing coursework we are buying educational business tools.
The cryptocurrency itself, the PRO ecurrency (PROC), is said to be an authentic blockchain cryptocurrency. As the company promised, it is tradable on cryptocurrency exchanges (only a few as of the end of April, and only a small float is trading, but it is up from the $0.04 ICO price to $0.20 the last I heard!), under the symbol, PROC.
It is intended that as the user-base for the PRO expands, more and more exchanges will be accepting it, and more and more online merchants (starting with 4,500) will be offering the rebates, and more and more merchants will be accepting it as payment for their goods. The company has plans in place to incentivize merchants to do just that (See their White Paper).
As for the MLM aspect, the company offers a free membership that allows use of the above described app. For those that are interested in working the business, payment of an activation fee and purchase of an education package comes with the right to sponsor people and receive commission on their purchases (the education package may be optional). All business-activated participants are eligible for various commissions, including “binary bonuses”. This is standard MLM practice. The only thing that seems porentially ponzi-like is that with purchases of more expensive a packages more levels of “matching bonuses” can be received. But ponzi-like or not, I’m pretty sure this is standard MLM practice as well. And they do seem to have that lawyer. He showed up during April at one or more public promotional events.
Fraud? Well it doesn’t look like it to me, but we won’t know for awhile. Presently the “money launderer”, Fintact, is scrambling to straighten out all the data that just got dumped on them for 10,000 some-odd group members and their orders. Once that is processed, we will see our education packages. And the biggee, in May I think, we get to see that shopping app! Personally I have been holding off buying some things I need at home so that when I shop I can get Pro Currency rewarded into my wallet.
That leads us to one final complaint that behind MLM raises: that the value of PRO currency is expected to rise. They say,
No matter how you cut it, investing in Ponzi points is a securities offering. … Meanwhile iPro Network does not appear as a registered company on a search of the SEC’s Edgar database.
First, “Ponzi points”? This was a term of endearment applied to the OneCoin due first to its lack of presence on the cryptocurrency exchanges. OneCoin “ponzi points” can be traded only between members. Secondly the OneCoin “blockchain” existed on its own servers only. Since IPN is following through with its claimed plan to let the PRO out loose in the wild we can not call it a ponzi points scam … unless all cryptocurrencies are ponzi point scams.
Then as for being a security, I have to disagree. For example, everybody likes to compare cryptocurrency with gold, since each currency has a finite number of coins that will ultimately be mined. Gold is not a security. You can buy gold bars. You can buy gold coins. You can buy rare and collectible gold coins. For that matter you can buy rare coins fabricated of any material. And you can hope that the value of any of these will rise. None of these are securities. behind MLM is completely wrong to say that PRO must be a security.
I agree that the coin offering, and creation of an economy for it, is one in which the value of the PRO ecurrency is expected to rise. I disagree, though, that this is a security. For that matter I disagree that it is bad to create a new coin with the hope that it will catch on and make lots of money for its early adopters. How many ecurrencies have been thus started already? Aren’t there over a thousand ecurrencies now?
On balance, I have to disagree with behind MLM that IPN is a scam. IPN may be risky right now, because its claims have yet to prove out. But to discard it out of hand as a scam – I see no evidence for that.
And for full disclosure, in case you missed it above, I for one decided to sign up. So if you have become interested in learning more about this ecurrency or this network marketing opportunity, (or if you just want the free shopping app!), click Two Ideas, or use the form below. Thanks!
And see Is iProNetwork a Scam, Update!