Mint.bz Review: MLM investment scam with restart
There is no information about who runs or owns the Mint.bz opportunity on the company website.
The domain ‘mint.bz’ was registered on the 1st of March 2011, however the domain registration is set to private.
A custom CSS temple hosted on the Mint.bz domain however reveals the following text:
Mint.bz is pulling an image from the domain ‘detroitventures.com’, indicating the two domains are owned by the same person.
Detroit Ventures appears to be some kind of investment website set up to attract investors to… well I’m not entirely sure what but presumably invest in something. The source code for the domain indicates that it’s running some sort of Tumblr –> standalone website conversion script (Tumblr is a microblog platform).
The HTML subdirectory structure of both websites is also identical.
Whereas Mint.bz’s domain registration is private however, the domain registration for detroitinvestors.com is public and names a registrant:
Domain Name: DETROITVENTURES.COM
A Chen email@example.com
1 Embarcadero Ctr
Whoever this A Chen person is, by owning Detroit Ventures they also appear to be behind Mint.bz and operates out of California in the US.
Despite the Mint.bz domain being registered for nearly a year, this appears to be the first incarnation of Mint.bz as a MLM income opportunity.
The Mint.bz Product Line
Mint.bz have no products or services available at a retail level. Instead, when investments are made with the company, Mint.bz bundles advertising credits with each investment.
These advertising credits can then be used by members to purchase display advertising on an advertising network featured on the Mint.bz website.
The Mint.bz Compensation Plan
The Mint.bz compensation plan offers members three investment plans and refers to these as “tokens”.
- Basic Token – $4.99 and offers a 120% ROI capped at 30% a month (min 4 months maturity)
- Standard Token – $9.99 and offers a 150% ROI capped at 40% a month (min 3.75 months maturity)
- Advanced Token – $14.99 and offers a 180% ROI capped at 75% a month (min 2.4 months maturity)
The ‘Advanced Token’ investment option also requires additional investment of funds into the Mint.bz scheme by purchase of a matrix entry and monthly membership fee.
These matrices are a 2×2 structure with 6 member positions to fill.
Upon filling a matrix with new members and cycling out, Mint.bz pay out a $30 commission and $1 per member recruited.
Joining Mint.bz to invest is free, however those wishing to invest in ‘Advanced Tokens’ (the highest ROI in the least amount of time), must purchase “Buddy membership” which is $7.99 a month, along with a one-time matrix entry buy-in costing $10.
The fundamental flaw of a Ponzi scheme is that new investments are made to pay off existing owed returns. Thus if new investments stop, the returns stall and the scheme collapses.
Mint.bz attempt to draw out the speed at which these flaws will eventually kill the system, but ultimately the fundamental flaw remains.
Mint.bz claim that should the new investments stall and the scheme find itself low on cash, then a ‘restart’ kicks in which essentially consolidates existing owed returns into new ones. As I understand it, this overall reduces the amount of returns owed and gives the scheme a bit of breathing room.
What it doesn’t address however is the fact that the new money being invested isn’t equal or greater than the existing returns owed, which is the only way a Ponzi scheme can survive.
A ‘Mint Restart’ temporarily addresses this issue by immediately reducing the total amount owed daily in returns, but if new investments don’t increase, the system crashes again.
Eventually what happens is the restarts get closer and closer together until they’re happening so often that the system just falls apart.
Things like membership fees, matrix positions and capping the monthly maximum ROI paid out will also prolong the life of the Ponzi, but they all still fail to address the inherent fundamental flaw.
As far as the advertising goes, you can’t purchase it separately and Mint.bz offer no refunds, so in actuality it is investments being made and not advertising purchases.
The company cannot provide refunds because new money being invested, along with membership fees and matrix buy-in fees are being used to pay off returns to existing investors.
A bit more complex than your bog-standard Ponzi scheme, but still a Ponzi scheme nonetheless.