Crowd1 pyramid & Ponzi failings exposed by BBC Africa Eye
BBC Africa Eye has premiered a documentary exposing Crowd1 as a pyramid cum failed Ponzi scheme.
Aware of the BBC’s upcoming documentary, Crowd1 executives have issued a non-response response video of their own.
BBC Africa Eye’s documentary begins with an introduction to Crowd1, and follows through with investment into Crowd1’s €2499 Titanium package.
Full access to Crowd1’s “education package” pseudo-compliance provided about an hour and forty-five minutes of content, stolen verbatim from elsewhere on the internet.
With the education package nonsense disposed of, the documentary then moves onto what Crowd1 is actually about; investing and collecting a passive return.
This begins with blowing open the ruses Crowd1 claims to generate external revenue from, one by one.
We’ve previously covered how Crowd1’s gaming links are a sham. BBC Africa Eye wrote to the same gaming companies and confirmed there was no partnership.
Miggster and Epic1 Lotto haven’t launched. The Crowd magazine is full of plagiarized content.
BBC Africa Eye tested Crowd1’s recently launched LifeTrnds booking engine, only to find the bookings were made through third-parties “booking.com” and Expedia.
Further research revealed LifeTrnds was just a white-labeled platform scouring deals from third-parties. Safer Africa is a white-labeled security service from PanicGuard LTD.
In short and as we’ve previously pointed out, Crowd1’s entire “product” catalogue is pseudo-compliance for the investment scheme.
And even that isn’t paying well. BBC Africa Eye’s first quarterly ROI payment amounted to €3.36 EUR. Remember, that off an initial €2499 investment.
BBC Africa Eye eventually concluded the real money in Crowd1 lies in recruitment. Or, as they put it, a “classic pyramid scheme”.
As part of their investigation, BBC Africa Eye put a list of question to Crowd1 management.
In their response to BBC Africa Eye’s findings, Crowd1 stated;
[46:00] Crowd1 is not a scam or pyramid scheme, and does not break any South African law.
It’s a legitimate network marketing company that offers products to its members, and enables them to earn money by marketing those products.
Crowd1 does not make money from recruitment but only from these sales.
Lars Johan Magnus Staël von Holstein denied being CEO of Crowd1, despite bountiful evidence to the contrary.
Jonas Werner denied involvement in SiteTalk/OPN, again despite there being plenty of evidence to the contrary. Werner also claimed he had nothing to do with OneCoin.
BBC Africa Eye concludes that Crowd1’s business model sees money stolen from victims and funneled into the hands of Johan Staël von Holstein and Jonas Werner. As well as promoters such as Udo Deppisch, Kenny Nordlund, Tor Anders Petteroe, Angelo Black, Masilo Mokone and Renze Deelstra.
Aware of BBC Africa Eye’s documentary, Crowd1 filmed its own response.
Titled simply “CROWD1 BBC response“, Crowd1’s video was uploaded to a random YouTube channel on November 1st, 2020.
Predictably, Jonas Werner dismisses BBC Africa Eye’s entire documentary as them “not understanding what Crowd1 is.”
Despite Ponzi schemes being around since early last century, Werner goes on to claim “what Crowd1 does is completely new”.
The first question posed to Crowd1 executives pertains to their products, and whether they actually generate revenue.
No evidence of any of Crowd1’s products generating external revenue is provided, or that revenue being used to pay affiliates is provided.
In response to GritHub (home of Crowd1’s educational packages) being full of plagiarized content, Johan Westerdahl gives a long-winded response but fails to address plagiarism.
Jonas Werner doesn’t deny Crowd1 lied about having affiliations with third-party gambling companies. Instead he takes issue with them being referred to as companies instead of brands.
Westerdahl claims Crowd1 isn’t misrepresenting Epic1 Lotto, because tickets are purchased through a third-party locally (in the US).
Werner claims Crowd magazine is a “PR tool”. Werner claims that content that appears plagiarized in the magazine (or is available freely elsewhere on the internet), was “purchased”.
Despite both LifeTRNDS and SAfer being white-labelled products (I can personally vouch for this), Westerdahl claims that stating so is “totally wrong”.
Westerdahl fails to address the fact that these products can be put white-labelled with no effort. Instead he defends white-labeling as a concept, despite this not being a concern of BBC Africa Eye’s.
Bookings made under LifeTRNDS showing up to vendors as “booking.com” and Expedia is not addressed.
With respect to Crowd1 not having any retailable products (within its MLM opportunity), Johan Westerdahl states “this is absolutely false information”.
Wasterdahl holds up Crowd1’s free membership option as evidence of this, despite that having nothing to do with Crowd1 having nor retail products.
If an MLM company generates the majority of sales revenue from its affiliates, that revenue is tied to recruitment. In Crowd1 the percentage of revenue generated from affiliates is 100%.
Wasterdahl goes on to lie about Crowd1 not offering an investment opportunity (see BehindMLM’s Crowd1 review for evidence of investment scheme).
Jonathan, head of Crowd1’s international expansion flat out lies about Crowd1’s numerous regulatory warnings and action around the world.
This is incorrect. The investor warnings that had been issued are based on incorrect presumptions.
As they did with BBC Africa Eye, Crowd1 management dismiss securities fraud warnings issued the world over as regulators “not understanding” Crowd1’s business model.
Finally, Jonathan once again lies about Crowd1 targeting third-world countries. I’ve covered Crowd1 from its early days. If you look at where the majority of regulatory warnings and promotion took place, a clear pattern emerges.
It’s not a coincidence Crowd1 isn’t promoted in the US or Europe.
For the most part, rather than actually address the BBC’s concerns, Crowd’s response video is instead an excuse to market yet to be released promises.
Whereas BBC Africa Eye’s documentary appears to have been researched when Crowd1 was primarily targeting investors in Africa, the scam has since migrated to Russia and Azerbaijan.
Crowd1 is not registered to offer securities in any jurisdiction, and continues to commit securities fraud the world over. The company has also failed to provide legally required audited financial reports proving external revenue generation.
Crowd1 also has no retailable products or services, with all revenue generated internally via affiliate membership fees.
Fraud warnings against Crowd1 have been issued in Norway, Namibia, Paraguay, the Philippines, Mauritius, Gabon, Vietnam, South Africa (FSCA and NCC) and Côte d’Ivoire.
Crowd1 has failed to prove to any of these regulators that it is not simply recycling newly invested funds to pay existing affiliate investors. Or paying commissions on the recruitment of new Crowd1 affiliates.
Crowd1 is run by Jonas Werner and several other executives from Sweden. To date, Swedish authorities have failed to take any action against the Ponzi scheme.
God bless the BBC! With everything going on at Clown-1 and how badly this will crash, people might remember MTI as vaguely credible.
Johan Staël von Holstein lies once again, what a surprise.
But there’s a new twist to the lie: it turns out Crowd1 a few montsh ago switched to a new Spanish shell company, with JSvH as sole director.
I discovered this through the mention that the Miggster online gaming app is supposed to launch on November 15.
Looking into that, I found that Miggster has a website where future gamers can sign up, without bothering to mention which games or even what kind of games they will offer, with apparently an MLM pyramid of its own involved, with commissions paid in gaming credits for these unseen games.
It is the supposed product of an Australian company, Emerge Gaming, about which I found this:
That appeared to be a Spanish company name, but the shell Crowd1 used until now is called Impact Crowd Technology SL. That’s the one JSvH was briefly the CEO (‘Administrador Unico’) of, a position he did indeed formally give up, since when he’s been claiming he’s merely a ‘consultant’.
It turns out this Tecnologia de Impacto Multiple, which doesn’t even try to hide that it’s just Crowd1 (it’s clearly stated on the miggster.com website), is a brand-new Spanish shell company, registered on June 17, 2020, with a capital of €3,000, and JSvH as its Administrador Unico.
There appear to be no other directors, and I don’t know if and how one can find information about ownership of the company for free (the sites that apparently provide the relevant documents, as far as I can tell with my non-existent Spanish, charge for it).
Denying that you’re the CEO of something, when about five minutes of googling brings anyone straight to the company registration showing that you are – he’s not just a liar, he’s a pathetically bad one.
But why the switch of shell company? The first one is only 1 year and 4 months old. At a wild guess, could it be that they’re due to publish some legally required annual accounts statement, and want to avoid that?
Sadly I think Crowd1 might outlive MTI. MTI hasn’t been able to break out of South Africa.
Crowd1’s recruitment in South Africa has died down. Authorities in Russia and Azerbaijan aren’t going to do anything.
I think it’s a race between Sweden and Bulgaria to see which European regulator allows the most financial damage to happen due to inaction.
Coinmama (“coinmama.com”, New Bit Ventures Ltd ) is still helping these Crowd1 criminals to launder money:
Dirty companies like Coinmama are willing co-conspirators in this scam, and they will face justice someday along with Crowd1 frausters someday.
I don’t understand what Sweden is doing. Sweden Government thinks that they are a very advanced country, better than many or all others. But the biggest scammers in the biggest ponzis of the world have no worries in Sweden.
Just like OneCoin was “investigated” by just one incompetent police officer in Sweden, they are completely incapable of stopping these Crowd1 scammers as well.
Good work Sweden authorities.. you are as useful, competent and efficient as a pile of dirty underwears.
Funny that Jonas Werner denies being in OPN/Sitetalk.
Nyman and Werner are both connected to Frank Ricketts
FYI, Oz, the word you want there is “cum,” (pronounced “koom”), not “come.” It’s Latin for “with” or “and,” as in “cum laude,” for “with honors/praise”. (Magna cum laude means with great praise, but summa cum laude outranks it: with highest praise.)
Thanks for that. I think Kasey has picked me up on that before too.
Evidently I don’t use the phrase enough for it to stick 😀
just saw the bbc piece. holy shit, if they keep it up on all scams, Oz is gonna be out of a job lol.
I’m fascinated by the contrast between BBC Africa taking on C1 and BBC Sounds taking on OC.
As much as the podcast is a work of art, OC had it easier by being warned, given a right of reply and Bartlett focusing on a specific individual at the expense of the futility of a pyramid.
The C1 take down is clinical, to the point and presented bite-sized.
Anything C1 does in response will be on the back foot with its supporters having been surprised.
OC on the other hand trash talked the BBC before the first episode and had campaigns to complain to Offcom ready and knew who was to be interviewed and dead lettered beforehand. Surprise is a wonderful thing.
I think one of the reasons that Swedish police is not investigating these scams is the lack of victims that file a complaint.
When it comes to Onecoin, there should be a large number of victims, but also a large number that could be seen as co-conspirators, having promoted OC.
They may not even be net winners but have probably received gains from people they know. They will likely not report, and a lot of the people in the base layer will be too ashamed to file a report.
Crowd1 is a different case. It is most likely run from Costa del Sol which is a known base for Swedish criminals. With operations outside Sweden, and the victims in Africa, Swedish Police is not going to do anything.
It’s the same with the scam gang of Malmö, Kartrud with his Tron chains, and his friends who now promote MTI.
They target people outside Sweden, and keep the funds in digital currencies outside the Swedish financial system.
Oeeeeh Oz i do not know what to say myman
I am from the Netherlands and have put the heart and soul in this company
I have given away over 200 white packs believing that the company was legit and the earnings will come back to me
Seemed i was wrong as they suddenly started giving away free accounts and making payment problems
Feeling so shit about it with my leaders up still promoting like crazy ass they believe in the money that comes in the wallet and not the people.
trying to guide my people into safety.
I am building a team in trxchain now but you also do not feel great about that i believe.
I choose that 1 because of audited and verifeid.
Could you maybe tell me a program that you do believe in that generates a passive income.
Both Crowd1 and TronChain are Ponzi schemes. They are literally the same scam model dressed differently.
I’m sorry, TronChain was audited and verified by who?
The only auditing that matters when it comes to due-diligence of passive investment opportunities is that of a third-party, and only when said audits are filed with financial regulators.
Your due-diligence is on you. Stop expecting handouts from the world.
Did they start handing out these free packages to promoters as the payment problems got worse? If so, it’s something quite familiar.
It’s my understanding that OneCoin has, for years now, paid sales comissions almost solely by handing out free education packages to the promoters. (No bank wants to have anything to do with them, and the coffers are empty anyway due to thefts and confiscations.)
Promoters are supposed to sell these free packages for whatever price they can get — and preferably in cash to avoid bank trace — from the new recruits.
This just in. Alejandro Taylor, former OneLife Diamond and now Latam Crowd1 superstar, is in Brazil promoting C1 and promising he can push C1 membership to 16 million
@Stevie, the scammers already claimed yesterday November 2,on their official Twitter that they have 17 million members. 😀
October 28 they claimed they have 15 million..
17 million members is most likely big exaggeration, but I think they do have the most traffic of all the current MLM schemes. Of course it’s possible they generate fake traffic as well.
Daily Unique Visitors: 557,959
Monthly Visits: 16,738,770
Alexa Rank: 1,155
Maybe they just take Alexa’s “monthly visits” and claim that’s how many members they have?
Sorry, but after looking at the video, I cannot agree with that. It simply explains to Crowd1 affiliates how to set up a Coinmama account, so they can buy bitcoin, to then pay Crowd1 with.
Coinmama, unless I’ve completely misunderstood it, is simply a legitimate broker, which sells a number of the most widely used cryptocurrencies, taking payments through the normal financial system. They have no way of knowing or controlling what the people who’ve bought them do with them afterwards.
Outfits like Crowd1 would never be able to move large amounts of money through the normal financial system, except with the greatest difficulty and by constantly playing hide-and-seek, because no law-abiding bank or credit card processing company would give them an account (just look at the banking history of OneCoin). That they can use cryptocurrency unimpeded is a fundamental problem with the whole concept of cryptocurrencies, not with one broker.
Cryptocurrencies are an anarchocapitalist concept, designed to exist outside of any possible government control, subject only to pure free-market logic. Which of course means there’s nothing to stop criminals, the freeest of free marketeers around, from using them.
They’re of course also designed to make every transaction irrevocable, so no payments can be undone retrospectively, if they’ve been made before it became clear that crime was involved, as is possible to a certain extent with normal financial transactions. And of course there are also no legally imposed insurance schemes protecting small account holders, which are an additional layer of protection within the banking system.
In fact, as far as I’m concerned, despite all the high-flown rhetoric of crypto evangelists, that’s pretty much the only rational reason to use cryptocurrency at all: to pay criminals, or for criminals to launder money.
Anything non-criminal can be done in a much simpler, and less risky way, using real money and the normal financial system. But that’s a different, and off-topic, debate.
In short: as long as cryptocurrencies are legal, a company exchanging them for real money cannot be held responsible for the fact that criminals can then use them as a method of money transfer.
One thing that struck me about the Coinmama instruction video, though:
I’m amazed that there are people willing to send all their personal information, including a copy of an official ID document, to some random foreign company, without any real way of knowing or controlling what they do with that information. (Cryptomama are in Israel, so for 99.9% of the world’s population they’re a foreign company.)
Clearly, data privacy, and the possibility of identity theft, is not something many people worry about, at least not the ones using cryptocurrency.
It’s just the application of the old criminal adage “don’t shit where you sleep” or “where you eat”.
A slang dictionary just tells me that “shit where you eat” in the US specifically means “commit a crime in your own neighborhood”.
Smarter criminals have always applied this principle, and the internet has made it extremely easy to practice on a worldwide scale. Gone are the days when scammers needed to be in regular close physical proximity to their marks.
In the case of Crowd1, they even try and use the fact that they’re based in Europe as part of their marketing, especially from what I’ve seen in Africa, as if it’s some kind of badge of quality, or trustworthiness.
I was glad when I saw just the other day someone on a South African message board also pointing this out.
None,the moment they say passive income and it doesn’t involve putting a billion+ in you run,because its nonsense (unless you are able to hit a very specific niche,which majority of people can’t,and if you need to ask you aren’t one of them)
Passive income is the biggest scam indicator.