Original article published on August 19, 2019. Was removed by the owners of Jubilee Ace after receiving 30k views. Copy this before being removed once more. Credit: PeasantForHire
Jubilee Ace came across my direct messages in Discord the other day. After passively clicking through the website, some disturbing clues of the Jubilee Ace project's intentions began to shine through. The word scam immediately came to mind. Not a low effort phishing email type scam. But a more elaborate, well-funded Bitconnect style scam that warrants everyone’s attention.
The TL;DR explanation of Jubilee Ace is an arbitrage trading platform that makes several triangular pair trades 24/7, resulting in serious profits for its investors. There are a lot of attractive buzz words like “AI analysis,” “quantum,” and “maximizing yield with minimum risk.”
I studied economics in college, and triangular arbitrage is a real, legitimate trading strategy. Something very few can afford due to its insanely limited profitability and capital demands. Jubilee Ace is using a legitimate trading strategy as its primary product will surely muddy the analysis done on the project by amateur investors.
It has been a while since I have had something good to write about when it comes to cryptocurrency. That is the nature of a bear market; not a lot of news to go around. However, Jubilee Ace caught my eye, and after doing some digging, I needed to put my journalist hat back on and bring you a new piece to read and ponder. Could this be the next Bitconnect scam?
I’m going to do a deep dive on this, examining the project, the psychological techniques they use to convince you to invest. And ultimately, the parallels this project shares with past scams and Ponzi schemes like Bitconnect. Let’s jump in.
How It All Starts
Your first year in cryptocurrency is a hellish gauntlet of mostly you just losing your money. You don’t know how to evaluate projects. You lack the experience to recognize the subtle signs of illegitimacy. The allure of massive returns on investment activates the ‘greed’ chemical in your brain. You abandon sound judgment, masked as false confidence and reassuring those around you of your heightened position in crypto and your critical analysis because the potential of earning exponential gains on your investment is too much to pass up.
Don’t take offense to that. We have all been there. I myself lost a few bucks in Bitconnect when it shut down in January 2018. Some people lost life savings, and a handful reportedly suicidal due to the scam. That trial by fire was one of the best learning experiences of my cryptocurrency experience because it solidified a costly lesson that often needs repeating: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Jubilee Ace appears to be next in line.
After Bitcoin peaked in December 2017, the impending bear market triggered a burn-off, like dead underbrush in a forest. Bitconnect and a plethora of other platforms and industry niches died and disappeared. All that was left was life long ‘hodlers,’ losers who wanted to change their stars, start something new (me), and smart investors who knew that when there is blood in the street, buy real estate. In this case, when the market is bloody, and despair is on full display, buy Bitcoin.
The burn-off also stops Ponzi schemes like Bitconnect because they only have one revenue source: new money. There isn’t enough new money flowing in to sustain a potential billion-dollar apparatus designed to scam thousands out of their newly purchased Bitcoin when there is a bear market. In cryptocurrency, ‘new money’ equals ‘dumb money,’ and these scammers prey on dumb money to line their pockets.
You want to know one of the drawbacks to bear markets like 2015/2016 and the most recent bear market that ended in the spring of 2019? It provides well-funded, professionally produced schemes the opportunity to launch and establish themselves without mass scrutiny or media coverage. Most eyes move away from cryptocurrency in bear markets. This is Step 1 of many, to lure in and capture new money when it begins to flow soon to follow the bull market.
The sales pitch for Bitconnect was simple and smooth. Buy Bitconnect coins, deposit them to the ‘state of the art’ trading bot within the platform, and earn 1–1.5% returns per day. The returns weren’t guaranteed, but they were consistent. The platform was simple and user-friendly; the process you deposited and withdrew was also simplistic, designed specifically for those new to cryptocurrency. And of course, the referral bonuses were great.
Previous Rewards started as high as 7% at Level 1.
Bitconnect was started in February 2016, during the darkest days of that bear market, somewhere in Asia by someone we never learned the identity of. Word began to spread, from friend to friend, connection to connection, about this new cryptocurrency platform that earned investors 1–1.5% returns per day. Unheard of in traditional markets.
The strategy was ingenious.
Start small in a ‘far away country’ and broadcast the evidence and success out into the darkness of the bear market. Only true cryptocurrency enthusiasts would see this first broadcast. Those people then become the Country Promoters and Regional Promoters of Bitconnect. Remember Carlos Matos, Trevon James, Dr. Roy Murphy, CryptoNick, John Bigatton, Craig Grant, Ryan Hildreth, Crypto Clover, Glenn Arcaro & Ryan Maasen? They would host their own Bitconnect events and gatherings in their countries and regions, signing up dozens of newly minted downline investors.
Jubilee Ace has already begun building their outreach and leadership network to become their top Promoters and Representatives. Public scapegoats during its inevitable collapse.
A man named Joerg Wittke is currently promoting Jubilee Ace on Discord under the username ‘Ice Man.’ This is how I found out about the project. A quick search leads me to partial web info of Mr. Wittke's deleted pages, also being a promoter for Bitconnect and BitClub.
Update: Joerg and the Jubilee team has rebranded at least Germany to Jenco. Still the same scam with a different name and a slightly modified logo.
Here is a picture of some of the other key players in the Jubilee Ace project. You can clearly see Wittke here as well.
You can watch this Zoom Promo Call here. The password is Tsunami. You can also check out two ‘proof of concept’ videos posted on Vimeo here and here. The password is AQUA2019. No promises the videos won’t disappear, or the passwords change after this article is published.
The most common strategy you will find in these scams is how the promoters talk about the project. If they say the following, you know you’re dealing with a scammer.
“My friend travelled there and saw it working firsthand.”
“I spoke with the founder so trust me, this really works.”
“There is literally no risk involved.”
“I just deposited and I’m already making big returns.”
Run for the hills, people.
I’m going to give you the basic, Occum’s Razor strategy that Bitconnect, BitPetite, and many other scam projects use to convince investors to buy into their schemes. This strategy also seems to be currently employed by Jubilee Ace as we speak.
1. Schedule the launch during bear market despair.
2. Launch in an Asian country where it is hard to verify claims.
3. Present a polished, diverse, and accomplished team.
4. Show massive event turnout in the launch region with paid actors.
5. Produce high quality video content, social media posts, and professional web design.
6. Release “official” press releases to improve legitimacy.
7. Use layman’s jargon in recruitment to attract new money while using nonsense technical jargon about the product to impress dumb money into investing.
8. Begin ‘referral link only’ access to establish Promoter leadership network.
9. Empower leadership network to host regional and local events.
10. Entice with ‘can’t pass’ incentives (bedrock of the pyramid scheme).
11. Lock in people’s initial investment. Minimum liquidity for investors.
12. Recycle new money to upper echelons of the pyramid until collapse or bear market.
#1 — Launch During Bear Market Despair
Bitconnect launched in February 2016 when Bitcoin was -60% from its previous all-time high.
Jubilee Ace launched in September 2018 when Bitcoin was -70% from its all-time high. If you’re just learning about Jubilee Ace, you’re late and likely to lose all of your money.
#2 — Launch in an Asian Country
Bitconnect was registered in several countries as well as had dummy offices in the UK. However, most of their highest level promoters etc. were located in Asian countries, where the project originated.
Jubilee was established in the British Virgin Islands and also hosts a Virtual Office in New York City. The British Virgin Islands are a known scam haven for international companies and organizations looking to set up little to no regulation.
#3 — Present a Respectable Team
Bitconnect launched during a period of time where project teams weren’t expected to be transparent. “Just like Satoshi!” Those days are long gone now. So scams have to evolve and adapt to continue to be profitable.
Jubilee launches with a visible team of three: Tony Jackson, Mark Davis, and Shaun Colbert. None of these people have a digital footprint outside of Jubilee's information online. I searched for a long time for corroborating evidence of their existence. The best I could find is that Tony Jackson looks a lot like Influencer Karim Jovian. We are 20+ years into the internet age and 15+ years into the social media age.
This is a highly suspicious piece of information. But don’t worry! I’m sure there will be corresponding LinkedIn accounts appearing very, very soon. Just don’t call the University of Iowa and ask about Mark Davis; they may struggle to find his school records for you.
#4 — Show a Massive Event Turnout
Bitconnect put on some massive shows. Thailand anyone? But high-level Promoters hosted events in London, Florida, Australia, just to name a few. And Bitconnect was there to document it and produce great, well-funded content to use as advertising material. How can we forget the classic “Beet-Cooo-Neccctttt!” guy? Good ole Carlos Matos… We never will, and either will the internet.
Jubilee Ace had its first big event in Macau. Macau is a lot like Hong Kong. It’s a part of China but has its own passports, money, legal systems, etc. It is also the Las Vegas of Asia and plays fast and loose with financial fraud and regulations. A perfect jumping-off point for a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme.
Judging from the video on their Youtube Channel, it was a well funded, jewelry gifting, full house affair. Topped off with awe-inspiring cinematography that makes any film industry professional (me) highly suspicious. These are most likely paid actors who have no idea what Jubilee Ace is, and we're just working a job. What a perfect way to show the legitimacy of your up and coming project.
#5 — Produce High-Quality Content
Bitconnect was very clever, in 2016/2017 terms, of creating good content and getting other people to produce content for them. They even hired native English speakers and writers to handle most of their content to present a truly international and professional organization. There was nothing cheap about Bitconnect’s presentation, that was why it was so successful at attracting dumb money, I mean new money.
Jubilee Ace looks good from a design standpoint. The website is well built. The platform the investors can see has a fairly simple UI and runs smoothly. And those Youtube videos, they clearly hired someone who knows Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro well. Knowing the Adobe programs, I can tell you the Jubilee Ace videos look nice, but they are basic templates with small adjustments. Nothing more.
This content and the perceived quality of them is vitally important to attracting new money. That is the make or break money for an inexperienced investor, looking at the website or videos of a potential investment and not being wowed by their content. Jubilee Ace knows this, and they took the time to make sure the quality of their content wouldn’t turn anyone with newly minted Bitcoin away.
#6 — The Official Press Release
Bitconnect was known to do this. They would send out paid press releases that would get published and then scraped by other websites. Web scraping is when sites will extract data from other sites and publish that content themselves. Most news websites and larger blogs use this to expand their content and growth their SEO rankings and overall traffic.
Jubilee Ace released two very “official” press releases on Business Wire in June and July. You can publish on Business Wire for as low as $400, and the results are impressive. Jubilee Ace’s June press release was scraped by Yahoo! Finance. Not to be outdone, Jubilee Ace’s July press release was scraped by Yahoo! Finance, Picante, Manchester Times, The Public Opinion, Newsway Cafe, and more.
This means they are legitimate, right!? Wrong. You can promote the launch of your fake homemade vibrator and sex toy business on Business Wire if you pay the fee. Just need a business address, some vaguely official documents, and it helps that Business Wire has no obligation to check the validity of a paid press release. And with the right SEO style writing, it will be picked up by multiple “legitimate” news sources.
This is nothing more than a ploy, not proof.
By the way, a person named Mansion Greenwood is listed as the Press Officer for Jubilee Ace on the press release. Guess who also doesn’t have a digital footprint just like the team? Yep…
#7 — Use Jargon to Impress and Convince
Bitconnect was great at using just the right amount of technical jargon to get new, self-conscious investors, who didn’t want to admit they didn’t know what it meant to invest. It’s a two-headed monster. Impress the dumb money with words they don’t understand like “artificial intelligence,” “machine learning,” and sadly, “trading bot.” Then compensate for this by using layman’s terms when explaining how much money they will earn. Simple answers satisfy the basic human desire for simplicity, and Bitconnect was good as keeping that part simple.
But things are not simple anymore. If you’re going to build a pyramid scheme today, you have to do it in a way where it is a bit more complicated and a little less ‘pyramidy.’
Jubilee Ace stepped up its game from Bitconnect. They use nonsense words without explaining them like “dynamic AI,” “quantum universal arbitrage,” and “high concurrency.” If you don’t know, concurrency is when a computer or program can simultaneously run two or more computations. We’ve had the capability of ‘high concurrency’ since Windows 95. We’re not impressed now. Don’t fall for these unexplained buzz words. They are utilized to trick dumb money into investing into a nothing burger.
Ambiguous, unverifiable, and simple. Just how dumb money likes their nothing burgers cooked.
#8 — Referral Link Exclusivity
There is nothing more attractive in investing and cryptocurrency than the feeling of exclusivity. You’re one of the first! It triggers something in our brains that spikes our confidence levels and reassures us that “you can’t miss on this one.”
Cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes start with a ‘referral link only’ phase to grow their leadership apparatus and establish their few at the top of the pyramid who will profit the most.
Even more important, it establishes the “I think I’m at the top” crowd of people who will be the main faces of the project and will also suffer the most recourse when the project collapses. Do I need to list off the Bitconnect names again, or do you get it? You’re not first; you’re on the front lines taking grenades for the people making the real money.
This strategy is dependent on ‘word of mouth’ advertising between friends. This advertising technique is proven to be the most powerful and most likely to result in strong loyalty to the mission. Perfect when you need to convince your uncle and your sister they should invest thousands into a technology they don’t understand but a payment plan you can explain in layman’s terms.
Jubilee Ace is doing this right now. Despite having launched almost a year ago, and their top promoters likely already in place around Asia, new international promoters and advocates are just now popping up. Through referral links only, trusted friends are sharing and growing their downlines.
#9 — Host Local and Regional Events
In Bitconnect’s peak popularity, Promoters hosted events, not team members, all over the globe. Every continent had a hoard of Promoters organizing Meet & Greets, presentations, setting up office spaces, etc. All done without having nether a clue who was running the whole operation. They thought they did. But they didn’t.
Usually, the top promoter you knew would say something along the lines of “my friend (insert name) who is above me talked with the head of (insert region closer to the geographical origin of the company). He spoke with the developer and (insert reassuring nothing burger).”
Jubilee has already begun this process as well. Like I mentioned above, Joerg Wittke is currently promoting Jubilee Ace on Discord. He is the first visible ‘western world’ promoter I have found.
Photos from Joerg Wittke Jubilee Ace Event in Frankfurt
In the coming weeks and months, if Jubilee Ace lasts that long, more and more Promoters and Youtubers will begin to pop up expressing their great success and “can’t miss” opportunities within this company. We know this is coming, and for those of us who were here for previous scams, we will try to warn each of you before it’s too late.
#10 — Time to Get Paid!
Bitconnect utilized a few different versions of their multi-tier payment system. Over time they slowly reduced how much each level got and how much daily returns their fake trading bot produced. Until it collapsed. But investors did enjoy 5%, 3%, 2% returns from their downline for quite awhile.
But again, people grow smarter, and so scams have also to be successful. Jubilee Ace is using what we call a ‘binary tree’ pyramid scheme. Instead of building your downlines wide, you build them deep. Each layer gets 2 slots. This establishes your legs. Depending on which is weaker or stronger, you get bonuses associated with them. They actually made this whole process quite convoluted intentionally to try and not appear to be a Ponzi scheme.
However, you can’t escape the classic shape of a Ponzi scheme. A pyramid is a pyramid is a pyramid is a pyramid. And thanks to Jim on The Office, the theory holds up every time. I challenge anyone to watch the video below before it disappears and tell me this doesn’t fit the pyramid scheme's exact definition. There is literally a pyramid drawn on the screen.
#11 — Lock-In That Money
Bitconnect offered shorter or longer lock-ins, depending on how much you invested. Ranging from 300 days to 120 days, your money was stuck in the platform—zero liquidity. In return, you were given Bitconnect coins to cash out, reinvest or trade on a couple of small market exchanges.
Those coins would become wildly controversial when the company “gave back” investor money in the form of BCC coins at a higher cash value. Then the coin value crashed to less than 5% of its listed amount. Which gave Promoters just enough wiggle room to tell investors, “you didn’t lose your money!”
Jubilee Ace does the same thing. They lock in your investment. Right now, forever. Sort of. Again, they make it confusing on purpose. In return, they give you Jubilee Credits, which are no good outside of the Jubilee platform.
Whatever money you put in is gone the moment they shut down the website, just like Bitconnect. If the Credits are traded on an exchange by then, they will claim they gave you your money back in the form of Credits. If you don’t see the parallels by now, I’m seriously concerned.
#12 — Recycle New Money Until Collapse
Bitconnect lasted for 1 year and 11 months. As soon as Bitcoin was clearly heading to a bear market, market confidence was waning, and they knew people would be leaving their platform. No new money equals no way to pay your older investors higher up the pyramid. Dead.
The day Bitconnect died.
Jubilee Ace is at 11 months old right now. If they follow Bitconnect’s strategy, they will collapse towards the end of the next bull run. If the next bull run is starting now before the next Bitcoin halving in the spring of 2020 and ends in early 2021, I would expect Jubilee Ace to close down somewhere between September 2020 and January 2021.
Hopefully, enough people will smarten up before then, and it will die a well-deserved death sooner. However, we learned in business school that “there is always someone out there dumber than you.” That you can apparently sell your pyramid scheme to on social media.
By now, I hope I have given you more than enough information about all of the red flags that point to the fact that Jubilee Ace is a clear and obvious Ponzi scheme. The psychological ploys they are using, the high-quality content they are peddling, and the absurd payment scales are clear indicators that this project is speculative only and based on nothing of substance.
Their payment setup for referrals alone gives away up to 12% of deposits, plus multiple bonus opportunities, and a 6–8% monthly company dividend. You’re looking at a project that will willingly give away up to 25% of the money it collects from new investors to up-line investors.
If they were a tech startup with legitimate technology, with a legitimate business structure, with a legitimate license to operate, with a legitimate working product, they would need to earn north of 40% a month in trading profits just to break even.
Logic dictates this is not sustainable or realistic, and new money will be used to pay older investors what they are owned. A legitimate business that makes money on its product does not need referral links to make money. If it does, that is a Ponzi scheme.
Here is your chance to choose how you will be remembered when this project collapses for anyone reading this. Will you be the next Trevon James or Ryan Hildreth? Will you sacrifice your reputation in the industry to make a quick buck?
They claim $50 million in seed funding. This should be your first clue. There is no central office, no legitimate business filing, no licensing, no customer service team for direct customer interactions, and no team directly interacting with the general public. And a $50 million funded project shouldn’t rely on or focus on building referral networks. The red flags mount quickly.
This project was designed to enter the market right before a bull run and present itself as a cutting edge, ‘can’t miss’ investment opportunity for the new, dumb money soon to be flowing in. Thousands and thousands of inexperienced investors fell into this trap with Bitconnect. Don’t let it happen again with Jubilee Ace or any other Ponzi that may crop up over the next year.
There are only two conclusions you can come to about Jubilee Ace after researching the project and reading what has been written about it:
1. It’s a scam and I won’t be touching it.
2. I know it’s a scam but I think I’m getting in early and will be able to make money.
Either way, there is nothing legitimate about this project, and anyone investing in it must know that. Yes, some people will make their initial investment back and more and use that as an argument against this article. Plenty of people made insane amounts of money off of Bitconnect as well. But a vast majority of people lost significant amounts of money when it collapsed. That is how a pyramid scheme works.
If you hold any sort of position of power, leadership, or respect in the cryptocurrency industry, I implore you not to get involved in this project, no matter how enticing the money may seem. Ultimately, you, too, will be labeled a scammer for life, and no one will take you, your project(s), or your opinion seriously ever again.
For more information on Jubilee Ace…
BitcoinTalk Ann: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5175843.0
Ice Man (Wittke) Discord: https://discord.gg/UnQZpW
Shoutout to those who reported on this scam first:
Behind MLM: https://behindmlm.com/mlm-reviews/jubilee-ace-review-jubilee-credits-arbitrage-ponzi-scheme/