Is Initiative Q a Scam? Money is a Scam
No doubt, over the past few days or weeks, you’ve been invited to register for “free, future money”, in a new initiative by “ex-PayPal guys”, called Initiative Q.
In this, early adopters are rewarded with some sort of fictitious, non-cryptocurrency tokens, purporting to be eventually worth in the range of $100,000, if/when Initiative Q fulfills its lofty objectives.
Their pyramid scheme-style marketing encourages referrals, boosting the supposed number of tokens one receives based on invites to the Q network.
Initiative Q’s mission? To change the world? To bring prosperity to all?
No. Simply to create an alternative, “lower-fee” money system, transferring the power of money out of the hands of one centralized establishment, and into the hands of another, unknown entity.
Marketed through desperation-inducing taglines like, “Your chance to invest in the new Bitcoin”, using time-limited scarcity to entice rapid registrations, while denigrating and disregarding the philosophical concepts behind blockchain — the cryptographic technology upon which Bitcoin, and most other cryptocurrencies, are built.
The only surprise in Initiative Q is how incredibly gullible society has become, to sign up en masse, to a system with no vision, no plan, no legitimate privacy controls, not backed by decentralized technologies that have been designed to remove the need for flawed and corrupted intermediaries like governments and banks, while protecting people’s privacy and empowering the individual.
Instead, people ride out their desperate hope for riches on yet another promise of a better future, conceived by further more rich men, who stand to profit individually well more than anybody else, should Initiative Q approach even a percent of its lofty ambitions.
There is no denying that Initiative Q touches a raw nerve among society, and they deserve credit for uniquely rallying people against the status quo — despite, ultimately, offering nothing tangibly new to the status quo.
However, all of people’s fairy tale intentions of riches for nothing, assumes the world will continue on the path where money, as we know it, is still worth what it is a few years from now. This glosses over that the entire money world has been a con for the super-rich, since the beginning, and becoming ever more so.
Through this, most people fail to acknowledge that a correction is coming, and the darkest and deepest financial crisis, perhaps in history, is looming.
Who is behind Initiative Q?
Initiative Q is the brainchild of Saar Wilf, a successful Israeli entrepreneur, best known for selling his Fraud Sciences venture to PayPal for $169m. He is responsible for intriguing “ultimate truth machine” Rootclaim, several user tracking technologies, app monetization, probability analysis, brain preservation, a biopharmaceutical company that commercializes drugs and treatments, mobile payments, and a lot more.
Wilf served in the Israeli military, and, after the PayPal windfall, enjoyed a tenure as a top world poker player — finishing 11th in the 2009 World Series of Poker.
Initiative Q’s monetary policy is co-authored with Lawrence White, an author and economics professor, whose writings call for the abolition of the controversial Federal Reserve.
As of yet, they have no clear development strategy. This will be later explored should they reach critical mass during their user acquisition campaign:
The idea behind Initiative Q is to first create a critical mass of users, which can then be harnessed to create the world’s best payment network. Therefore, our primary focus is to get millions of Q members registered, after which we will continue recruiting the world’s top professionals in payment systems, macroeconomics, and Internet technologies.
It seems odd that anybody, let alone millions of people, have signed up for a hypothetical system, years in the future away — if ever, without knowing the basic details — what the rates and fees are, the terms, advertisement exposure for users, privacy policies, and so forth.
Yet these millions of people believe blindly supporting a soulless, corporate campaign, in a coming world of autonomous transportation and robotic workers, will make millions of people, hundreds of thousands of dollars each.
What does Initiative Q claim?
While nothing new or specific, Initiative Q purports its revolutionary vision: “The Q payment network will allow safe, fast, and low-cost transactions, using a global currency.”
Source: Initiative Q — Economic Model
“The use of a centralized payment page for all Q users will help establish patterns of appropriate and inappropriate behavior”
We are in the early phases of the groundbreaking revolution of decentralization. Why pursue any further centralized solution, with the Initiative Q company having access to and control over all data and user behavior patterns? Who might Initiative Q share this with — Military? Intelligence? Corporatocracy? Have we not learned our lessons?
“Since every new member must be verified by an existing member, who risks losing their reward in case of fraud, the Q payment network will build a network of trust relationships that can be used to verify transactions…. Disputes that cannot be resolved automatically can be assigned to a trained representative, who investigates the claims to determine whether there has been a violation of the Q payment network regulations.”
Your hard-earned bonuses will vanish (re-distributed to whom?) if one of your referrals ever defrauds the system. How many people have you invited do you actually know, and fully trust? Who decides what is fraudulent and how it is enforced? PayPal is not an inspiring answer!
Trade secrets — Initiative Q has several tools to accelerate growth, which will be rolled out in the future. To keep the competitive advantage these will be exposed only when necessary.
Such as rolling out pyramid-style marketing schemes, or perhaps freezing your brain to one day wake up in a world full of Qs. More on the monetary fable of “growth” later.
Discrediting Cryptocurrency and Alternative Blockchains
A hint that Initiative Q represents the corporate establishment is in its criticisms of the cryptocurrency space.
They lump in all cryptocurrency solutions as failed payment solution attempts that focus on scarcity, neglecting the radical benefits of decentralized systems and society, which strongly fuel the devout, growing uptake in blockchain popularity.
You will help reduce the enormous waste and pollution caused by Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, currently consuming as much energy as 6,000,000 households!
Cryptocurrency is digital money that is hard to counterfeit. While the mathematical foundation is ingenious, an “immutable money ledger” is far from being a major need today. Our money is already digital, in the form of bank computer records, and no one is worried that these records will suddenly disappear. This is due to a robust system of trust and governance that protects individuals from such risks.
Cryptocurrency is popular because people fear the increasing control of banks and governments over their digital money.
Value: A cryptocurrency comparison
An alternative approach to estimating the value of Qs is by studying the cryptocurrency market, which is another attempt to create a new currency. So far, cryptocurrencies have failed as currencies. Their focus is on ensuring scarcity (i.e. that no one can easily generate new coins), but they neglect stability of value and ease of use. This makes them ill-suited for trade, with nearly all activity fueled by speculation (see more about the shortcomings of cryptocurrencies).
Was the Internet so easily usable in its early days? For many years, it was not. As more people and developers came online, the Internet experience improved. Holochain is an excellent example of an ethical development group working on more viable and environmentally-friendly blockchain alternatives.
The US government maintains a fork of Bitcoin for potential future, national cryptocurrency projects of its own.
And, if the current system is so good, why does Initiative Q insist on reinventing the wheel?
Reversibility: No matter how good a system is, if humans are involved there will be mistakes and misunderstandings… Of course, reversing a transaction should be allowed only for certain reasons — something that can only be determined by human beings following procedures.
With all the “mistake-prone human” capital requirements, this sounds like an extremely high priced system to run — on top of the alleged trillions of dollars to pay out early adopters for their tokens in their suspect marketing scheme.
Furthermore, Initiative Q offers numerous, frightening hints at centralized control of money and customer data:
To meet this need, Initiative Q will feature a monetary committee that is independent of the Initiative Q corporate entity… This committee will be in charge of setting and running the monetary policy: determining how many Qs to add or remove from circulation, and through which monetary instruments. Members of the monetary committee are financially incentivized to meet their goals by tying remuneration to performance.
By this point, it’s astonishing Lawrence White would sign off on a paper that essentially establishes new, centralized Federal Reserve-type economics.
In the rising dawn of decentralized organizations and AI, the world is moving towards less human intervention.
“Eliminating the Need for Anti Money Laundering Procedures”
Initiative Q also seeks to sidestep Anti-Money Laundering laws:
The Q currency resides solely on the Q network, and therefore each Q can be tracked to its source, eliminating the need for AML procedures
As an additional means of instilling trust in the long-term purchasing power of Q, the monetary committee will continuously offer to buy Qs in exchange for USD (and other currencies) at the target rate of 1 Q per 1 USD. This will assure sellers they can confidently accept Q as a payment method.
This requires the monetary committee to hold large reserves of USD
And, there you have it: The Initiative Q monetary committee will hold “large reserves of USD”.
Do you trust relative unknowns to manage trillions of dollars of money that doesn’t yet exist, and comparable amounts of USD?
What about when Initiative Q, the company, is sold to a corporate buyer? Company founder Saar Wilf, a high stakes poker player, has made a career out of offloading commercial ventures to bigger players (PayPal, Oracle, Yahoo, etc), worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Then, who will be in charge of your money and data, and the governance of how it is utilized? Who dictates the monetary commission — or will these players already be well entrenched in it?
The issue here is not solely about Initiative Q, which is only one of thousands of recent, shaky initiatives purporting to disrupt money.
The true scam is money itself.
The Scam of Money
We won’t explore the fallacy of money in depth here, but here are a few things for you to think about, in between pay cheques, stressed about bills, paying off credit your entire life, even suicidal tendencies because of the weight of it all. A lot of it doesn’t add up, and something doesn’t make sense.
“The world’s total economic activity is around 100 trillion US dollars, and the total amount of money in the world is between 40 and 90 trillion dollars (depending on the definition of money).” — Initiative Q
This mainstream accepted viewpoint, repeated by corporate-influenced Initiative Q, conveniently excludes the real hordes of big money, including around half a trillion dollars solely in something called “financial derivatives”, and over a quadrillion dollars of total monetary value in the world.
Take a look at this visual chart, showing a comparison of all the money sources in the world, by market:
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You may be surprised to see that the biggest, by far, is under the final, Derivatives heading.
Whatever are derivatives?
They are “an arrangement or product (such as a future, option, or warrant) whose value derives from and is dependent on the value of an underlying asset, such as a commodity, currency, or security.”
In essence, much of this is speculative, hedged money that does not necessarily exist.
Stocks, bonds, futures, commodities, currency rates, interest rates, market indexes, and so forth.
Then, there is Fractional Reserve Banking:
Fractional-reserve banking is the practice whereby a bank accepts deposits, makes loans or investments, but is required to hold reserves equal to only a fraction of its deposit liabilities. Reserves are held as currency in the bank, or as balances in the bank’s accounts at the central bank.
I first learned about fractional reserve banking 6 or 7 years ago, watching the enlightening Thrive documentary. In Thrive, we discover that for whatever money you deposit in the bank, the bank is only legally required to hold approximately 10% of that. Then they loan out the other 90% of your money to other parties — your money!
If everybody withdrew their money at once, most of the banks would collapse — they just don’t have enough for everybody.
Undoubtedly, when banks fail, governments would, and do, bail them out, with billions of taxpayer dollars. The CEOs survive, and even receive multi-million dollar bonuses for their efforts. No jail time.
Furthermore, the Federal Reserve, is accountable to nobody (according to Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve).
Taxation is another example of long-accepted fraud within society. Centuries ago, the royals and elite bullied peasants into paying taxes for whatever they decided. More recently, taxation was promoted by countries to aid reparations in the wake of war. While the wars have never really ended, neither has taxation.
Cryptocurrency Hints at Human Greed At All Costs
We cannot let cryptocurrency off the hook. The entire space is flooded with senseless get-rich schemes and insane, worthless coins. For instance, Tether is a horrible scam, with a market cap around $2.8 billion at its peak, and their jig is up. Blockchain conferences are priced solely for the rich, defying one of the supposed benefits of radical inclusion for all.
By now, with the attention and avid participation of the world’s elite, cryptocurrencies are easily manipulated, allowing the those in the know to cash in on the endless ebb and flow, like tides, in fluctuations between individual coins. Not dissimilar to decades of systematic manipulation of the stock markets.
This all distracts from the underlying principles that make blockchain ingenious and so useful for the potential of better societies.
It is this unabashedly selfish, money-first condition that fronts the greatest barrier to a fairer society for us all, accelerating our social collapse.
Why are there Global Financial Crises?
The phony house of cards comes down every ten to twelve years, as it has for over a century now.
You know one is approaching when stock markets are at all time highs, and people jump on stock bandwagons, even at inflated rates. The economy is doing “record well”, there are cheap loans everywhere, “unemployment is down”, and more people sign up for houses, vehicles, plus just about anything on sale with a favorable lease.
Interest rates go up, loans become more expensive, people and companies have less money, people lose their jobs so can’t afford their loans, and they default on payments. The banks acquire the assets.
One true and tested way to come out of a recession? War — another industry that must exhibit, and often manufacture, growth to its shareholders — is a proven remedy.
Growth is a whole other fallacy, particularly in that it encourages immoral practices from any industry to boost profits — for example, war profiteering, the private prison industry, food, education, and commercial medicine at the forefront. At any cost.
When all the prices on stocks are low, and defaulted property is owned by the banks,the super-rich load up by “buying low”, accumulating new wealth and assets for the coming decade again. The unfortunate who lose everything continue their struggle. Life gets more expensive for everybody. The cycle continues.
The Next, Mammoth Global Financial Crisis is on the Cusp
The mother of all GFCs is well within a year or two away, when the house of cards comes crashing down again.
This time, the media and respected voices have been warning us for ages, but are people really paying attention, with so many superficial distractions and divisions?
Bitcoin surfaced in the wake of the last financial crisis, as a reaction to banks being bailed out. During the looming GFC we will assess the impact of cryptocurrency on people’s everyday lives, when the old ways fail again. If you haven’t loaded up on any crypto, it might be worth a flyer. Like it or not, it’s where the money world is going.
This time, the banks aren’t the only option we have.
We don’t need another Initiative Q — We need a whole new system and society
How important is yet another, faraway payment system in the broken money world, whose only point of difference is its “lower transaction fees”, and a new corporate money entity to wonder about, fear and distrust?
We don’t need Initiative Q. We certainly don’t need PayPal. In many ways, we don’t need Bitcoin or its peers.
We do need to develop a far more conscious social mindset that is not so motivated by money — having it, not having it, seeking more of it, desperately doing anything for it. At the sake of the environment, future generations, and even today’s relationships. A further, starker separation of rich and poor. Taxed and tracked for everything we do. Funding the luxurious lifestyles and misguided ideologies of gutless, corrupt and often criminal politicians, who keep the whole game running — often through simple divisions of fear, like immigration.
Surely, with the advent of new technologies, and the coming quantum computing revolution, we will uncover numerous, tangible solutions for objectively distributing wealth and resources for everybody on the planet. Of running vibrant societies that simply facilitate the bare necessities — clean air and water, food supplies, roads, schools, hospitals, security, community.
Until then, every new cryptocurrency token, modern data pyramid scheme like Initiative Q, or upstart startup that is all and only about the latest, shiniest wealth-creating widget, is completely missing the point. They are not really helping society at all.
And, most, if not all, will inevitably fail, just as money, as we presently know it, one day will.