Promises of “crypto” wealth often go unfulfilled

In the previous year alone, the FMA issued more than a hundred investor warnings. Now Paraiba World (for now) no longer makes any payments. A crypto forensics firm is investigating the provider.

Getting rich on cryptocurrencies – your neighbors or your best friends have done it too. If someone approaches and suggests a relevant deal, why would you turn it down? “Many people have no idea what cryptocurrencies are, but have heard that you can make a lot of money from them,” reports Stefan Embacher. “They are therefore not too surprised when an acquaintance approaches them and promises them high dividends.”

Embacher is the CEO and co-founder of crypto forensics company Foreus. This tracks crypto funds that have been stolen or extorted from, for example, or finds out how the masterminds cover money routes or how much money a questionable provider actually has. For this purpose, intelligence methods, open source intelligence (obtaining information from the Internet about perpetrators, business holdings, residence, etc.) and information from informants are used. This ensures evidence for criminal prosecution – or at least creates a basis for out-of-court settlements.

Based on the Comoros

The latter is currently being attempted in the case of Paraiba World. Many customers of this provider have not received any payouts for weeks. Due to a change, the company says. Instead, customers will receive a new, promising coin called “Trillant”.

Paraiba World has an address in the Comoros, no phone number listed on the website, but an email address. An inquiry from the press went unanswered. The Financial Market Authority (FMA) already warned in March that the company does not have permission to offer banking services in Austria.

Paraiba World appears to be polarizing: Trustpilot almost exclusively gives the extreme ratings “Excellent” and “Unsatisfactory”. Disappointed customers complain that they are not receiving any money. Fans counter that success takes time and trust. “People who wrote negatively didn’t understand what it was about.”

Customers are recruited via an MLM sales system, says Embacher. MLM stands for Multi-Level Marketing and describes a business model where a network of distributors sells products, recruits other distributors and receives commissions. In this way, Paraiba World collected a billion euros, about 200 million in Austria. The company promises high returns from crypto trading. Some of the sellers are recruited by acquaintances themselves, and some are professionals who were also active in the Onecoin cryptocurrency, which is based on a snowball system.

Embacher advises those affected to register. Many customers invested only a little money, 2000 or 4000 euros. It is usually not worth hiring a lawyer or a crypto forensics firm for this. But the more customers signed up, the more affordable it would be.

Foreus determines how much money is actually there and what claims customers can make who want to compare themselves to Paraiba. Foreus works with lawyers in this area. A comparison is often the best that customers can get, as they have often signed contracts that give them few rights.

The FMA has often warned

In the previous year alone, the FMA issued 112 investor warnings, two-thirds related to crypto providers. If someone wants to do business with a provider, they should first check the FMA’s website to see if the provider has a license or if there is even a warning against them, says Klaus Grubelnik, spokesman for the authority, to “the press”. In the latter case, you should keep your hands off the company.

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