TL;DR: Not a scam, but it’s not much of anything else either.
If you have a Facebook account or are active in crypto, you’ve probably stumbled across Initiative Q recently. If so, you’re probably scratching your head trying to figure out what it actually is, and possibly whether to get in on the action. It’s not an ICO, but it claims it will one day be huge – like multi-trillion-dollar huge.
As ever, do your own research, but here are Inferno’s thoughts on Q.
Note: lots of people are giving out referral link to draw in other people and earn themselves more Qs. We do not give a referral link here, for reasons that will become clear.
Initiative Q is the creation of Saar Wilf, a payments expert and entrepreneur whose company was acquired by PayPal in 2008. In the words of the website itself, Q is ‘tomorrow’s payment network’: a solution to the inefficiencies of our current payment system. It’s the view of Q that new technologies have the potential to revolutionise payments. The issue is getting everything started. There’s a network effect at work here, and it doesn’t matter how good the new system is – businesses won’t use it until there are enough buyers and sellers using it already. It’s a chicken and egg problem.
And so Q is going about building that network effect, which it believes could lead to a $20 trillion payment system – yes, $20,000,000,000,000. As the site states, ‘It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. As millions join, advanced payment technologies are deployed, the payment system becomes even more popular, the Q currency becomes valuable, and rewards given to early users reach their potential value.’ It’s going about this by signing people up, creating a register of future users, who are granted a stake in the future currency according to how early they sign up and how many more people they bring in.
That sounds like a few ICO bounty campaigns, and maybe they’ve picked up a thing or two from the crypto space, but they are at pains to point out that Q is not a cryptocurrency – even if it sure sounds crypto-like in key aspects, and especially as they’re not actually very clear on what Q really is, yet. They’re also keen to point out that Q will avoid the volatility that is a signature of the crypto markets. (There are a lot of comparisons to bitcoin; what Q are most sure about is that they’re not crypto.)
So what’s the skinny here?
It’s not entirely clear how they will avoid volatility when revaluing a currency from zero – its current market cap – to $20 trillion. Q takes a ‘central bank’ approach to managing value and maintaining stable value. ‘Initiative Q’s monetary policy will eventually be overseen by a monetary committee that is directly accountable to all Q holders, and independent of the Initiative Q corporate entity.’ Let’s hope they’re better at that than central bankers and their committees, who are some of the most highly trained and experienced in economics and still haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory. In other words, that’s a big promise to make, and very little to back it up with. And that’s really the tagline for Q.
In a similar vein, Q also has no product. They don’t even have a clear roadmap. They simply note there are lots of promising technologies around, which could benefit payments enormously, but don’t elaborate on which ones they will be using – presumably because they don’t know or haven’t decided yet.
Q would presumably argue that building network effect is more important at this stage. Get people on the bus, then decide where you are going. But to do that, they engage in MLM-style marketing and hard sell tactics. Once again, they are at pains to state this is not a pyramid scheme – which it is not – or MLM. There’s no money involved at this stage, so that’s factually correct. There’s no financial scam here. However, it remains highly reminiscent of the chain letters of the 1990s. ‘Forward this to five people now and good things will happen to you! Tarquin McWinter of 45 Penthouse Avenue, Boston did and he received $23 million in Q!! Hugh Skudgeon of 14 Herpes Drive, Slough deleted it and the next day, his buttocks were both eaten off by an enraged goat!!!’
In short, there are holes in the idea you could drive a truck through. It’s mostly holes, in fact. Not dishonest. Not really anything else, though. It’s a vague good idea that is, at present, not underpinned by anything of substance. They might make something of it. They might not. But right now, Q is very long on promises and somewhat short in the tangible reality department.
So what do they have?
Your data. Lots of it. That marketing campaign has been pretty successful and a lot of people have signed up in the hope of getting rich quick.
That data is worth a lot. Not $20 trillion, but a lot. Naturally, Q say they won’t sell it, but a pool of likely millions of verified, unique and real accounts is one heck of a honeypot for hackers. Should it ever make the journey out of Q’s servers and onto the data marketplaces of the darkweb, we’ll see exactly how much Q is worth.
So, it’s our view that Q is not a scam. The team apparently have honest intentions. But they don’t have much more than that. It’s total vapour. There’s nothing there, just an idea to do things better and very little in the way of how to make that actually happen. Good luck for the future guys, and we wish you the best, but we’d need an awful lot more to go on before we get excited.
To conclude, Q is aptly titled because it raises more questions than answers. We suggest a follow-up, Initiative A, to address this considerable shortcoming.
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