Nairametrics| It appears Nigerians are still gullible when it comes to Ponzi schemes as helpcolony.com another get rich scheme has been launched. The operators of the scheme call it a community rather than a collective scheme. There are no indications from the scheme’s website if it has foreign affiliations.

About Helpcolony

  • The operators of the scheme claim that helpcolony is not a bank and that they do not collect money from any donor
  • They also claim that they are not an Online business, HYIP, investment, Loan or MLM program.
  • They claim that they are simply a community where people help each other.
  • They even see themselves as a Peer to Peer ( P2P) facilitator and claim that they are not a formal organization and so “no legal person in helpcolony”

So who are they exactly and what do they do?

  • They claim that Helpcolony is a non-profit organization managed by a dedicated team of volunteers who are also “Participants in the Platform”.
  • They claim to provide their participants with “a technical basic program/avenue, which helps millions of participants worldwide to find those who NEED help, and those who are ready to PROVIDE help for FREE.”
  • This is basically the modus operandi of MMM
  • They claim that there are no lenders and no debtors and that what obtains is that one participant asks for help – another one helps.
  • The only thing that helpcolony demands from its participants is to be” honest and kind to each other.”

What’s in it for participants?

  • Just like MMM this scheme relies on the contribution from participants which will be shared to individuals who require “help”.
  • Help can be provided in bitcoin or local currency.
  • Once registered, you will be rewarded with a “One Time Registration Bonus (depending on amount of Help Provided)” .
  • Upon registration, you get from $20 to $100 as a One Time Registration Bonus in Bitcoin and 4,000 to 20,000 as One Time Registration Bonus in Your Local Currency. The amount of bonus you get depends on how much you donate.
  • Participants can get a 30% return in local currency or a 50% return in bitcoin in one month. Give our 1000 bitcoins, and you’d earn 1,500 bitcoins in 30 days.
  • You start earning the interest once you registered even if you are not paired.
  • But once paired you will be told who to send the money to
  • Unlike, MMM, you can be paired to anyone in any country.
  • Interestingly, after receiving help, you are mandated to provide ‘help’ in three days.
  •  Participants will expected to provide a proof of identification

Is this a ponzi?

This is a classic ponzi scheme by all counts and bears a striking resemblance with the now crashed MMM. As explained during the MMM frenzy, ponzi schemes typically have no underlying assets yet the returns are astronomical. No value is created that warrants any interest payments

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is yet to comment on this new ponzi scheme. MMM was founded by Sergei Mavrodi, Vyacheslav Mavrodi, and Olga Melnikova in 1989 in Russia but collapsed in 1994 and was shut down by authorities.

It then moved to South Africa and several other countries before starting operations in Nigeria in January 2016. Participants were promised a monthly return of 30%. MMM abruptly shut down in December 2016 and many Nigerians lost millions of Naira.

Onome Ohwovoriole has a degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin and prior to joining Nairametrics in December 2016 as Lead Analyst had stints in Publishing, Automobile Services, Entertainment and Leadership Training. He covers companies in the Nigerian corporate space, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). He also has a keen interest in new frontiers like Cryptocurrencies and Fintech. In his spare time, he loves to read books on finance, fiction as well as keep up with happenings in the world of international diplomacy. You can contact him via onome.ohwovoriole@nairametrics.com

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