Crypto-Scam and the exponential function

Since several years, I’m interested in crypto-currencies. I’m active in some chat groups on the topic on several platforms, one of them being Telegram. Every once in a while, I get messaged by people with very professional profile-pics, a trustworthy name („Stan“) and a very creative opener („Halo!“[sic!]). The person I am, I usually reply to spam and go with the conversation. Recently, one of those conversations brought up a homepage, where you can supposedly make A LOT of money by automatically investing in crypto currencied and other. But how much is a lot and can that actually be true?

Note: All of what follows is to my best knowledge either a right-out scam, a Ponzi- or pyramid-scheme or just plain BS – just to make sure, I’m not promoting any of the below.

The homepage in question is investiafinancial[dot]org and if you scroll down a little, you will find two investment plans. The idea is, that you transfer some money to an unknown institution on the internet, and they promise to transfer more back after 12 days. That itself sound totally legit, but let’s run the numbers and see what we can actually make if those guys hold true to their word.

The first investment plan is not that spectacular: starting with a minimum pay-in of 150$, you’re promised 2.8% daily revenue, running for 12 days. The maximum pay-in is just one dollar below 15k. So, with the maximum pay-in, the generated revenue is about 5.800$ per 12-day period. If you repeat that every 12 days for a year, this will give you just a little below 180k every year. Does sound too good to be true? It most probably is, but that’s just the start. There’s another plan, that sounds even a lot better. Starting at 15k initial pay-in, they promise a 3.2% daily revenue. Now, the interesting thing is, that there is no maximum pay-in (those scammers need something to live, too).

Whenever one hears constant growth, this immediately should translate to „exponential function“ (There’s an amazing talk here by Al Bartlet about that exact topic). So, let’s imagine we do the following: We start with a minimum pay-in of 15.000 $ in that 3.2% daily plan. 3.2% daily growth doesn’t sound much, but corresponds to a doubling time of about 22 days. Now, as there’s no maximum, we can assume that you’ll be able to hand over those trusty people all your gains from an earlier period to start the next one. Doing this for one year, you will have gained about 1.4 billion (I’m German, so I prefer „Milliarde“ here). That would technically be enough to put you on this list – however nowhere close to the top, so let’s go on. After one more year, you will have gained about 145 trillion dollar (145*10^14). Now, that definitely puts you on top of the list as the richest person on earth. At that point, you will have outpassed the GDP of several countries – actually you will have surpassed the estimated GDP of the whole world (~$80,934,771,028,340 in 2017) by several orders of magnitude. Also, you would have more money than there is right now in the whole world according to this (or to be fair, you would probably have all existing money).

I’ve asked my trusty advisor, how long he has been investing to which he answered „about one year“. As I couldn’t find anyone on the list named „Stan“ I suppose, he must have picked the wrong investment plan 😉