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Is Apexcoins the Latest Bitcoin Scam to Hit Africa?

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Apexcoins

As more and more people are becoming interested in investing in cryptocurrencies, there has been an increase in the number of scams that have been set up with the sole purpose of stealing funds from digital currency investors. Apexcoins seems to be the latest cryptocurrency scam to hit the African market.

What is Apexcoins?

Apexcoins scam“Apexcoins offers investors an opportunity to obtain exposure to cryptocurrencies whilst benefiting from the stability of asset-backed security,” according to their description on their LinkedIn page.

They go on to state that they “allow investors the opportunity to move against volatility in the cryptocurrency markets, without incurring the frictional costs of converting their holdings into fiat”.

In simple terms, Apexcoins claims to give its investors an opportunity to see their cryptocurrency grow by investing it for them.

Apexcoins was allegedly established in 2016 and is a subsidiary of Apex Limited, a United Kingdom registered company. Moreover, the company claims to have operations in 20+ countries, including Kenya, where it says it serves 2,000+ customers and has more than ten representatives.

How Does Apexcoins Claim to Work?

Priding itself as a company that is a link between financial traders, experts and investors globally, Apexcoins boasts that its investments are backed by real-life assets. In order to invest in Apexcoins, you first need to buy bitcoin, which is the primary and only digital currency that the company uses. If you do not own bitcoin, you will have to purchase BTC from online exchanges.

With bitcoin at hand, the next step is to engage with an “Apexcoins specialist” to invest the cryptocurrency for you. What the Apexcoins specialist allegedly will do is reinvest your money, now in cryptocurrency and not fiat currency, for you in real assets like real estate property and securities in a bid to have your money earn profits for you.

Simply put, for you to have Apexcoins invest and earn profits on your behalf, you first have to buy bitcoin and deposit them in their Apexcoins account where – through a claimed partnership with financial traders and experts, the company says it will generate a guaranteed profit for you.

These “guaranteed” profits are allegedly paid out weekly in bitcoin at a given rate depending on one of the three investment schemes that an investor chooses. Apexcoins has three investment schemes with interest rates – each much higher than interest rates on any established investments. An investor can opt for either one of the three schemes as described below:

  • Basic investment plan where investors invest anything between $100-1,000 with a guarantee of 8.25 percent weekly interest for a period of three months.
  • Premium holder plan where investors invest anything between $1,000-100,000 with a guarantee of a 30 percent monthly interest for a period of either one, three or six months.
  • VIP investment plan where investors invest anything more than $100,000 with a 33 percent interest guarantee per month for a six month period.

Investors have the option to reinvest their returns back into the business or take the whole amount after the end period for the particular investment scheme they have chosen.

However, no mention was made on the company website (before it went offline) of how Apexcoins goes about investing your funds and how they are able to generate a much higher return on investment, on a monthly basis, than any other legitimate investment management company ever has in the history of the financial markets.

Is Apexcoins a Scam?

Unfortunately, Africa has become a popular market for Ponzi schemes and other fraudulent get-rich-quick schemes. A lack of jobs, financial resources, and investment education make people very susceptible to these type of schemes.

Apexcoins is keen on solidifying its interest in not just the Kenyan market but also in South Africa and Ghana. However, for a company that prides itself in professionalism and transparency, there seems to be a lot to question about Apexcoins.

Apexcoins

For one, their LinkedIn page seems to have information that cannot be verified as it shows that they are located in three countries: Great Britain, South Africa, and Kenya. However, despite being in these three locations and stating that they have more than 10,000 plus employees, a simple search on LinkedIn only shows results for three employees, two in Kenya and one in Ghana. In addition, they seem to have no employees in London, which is where they are supposedly headquartered.

For a company with alleged operations in three countries and which boasts of 10 plus representatives in Kenya alone, this information cannot be verified with a simple search on one of the world’s leading recruitment platform. Apexcoins launched in Kenya in 2018 and even held a seminar titled ‘Investing for Profits With Apexcoins in Kenya’ to lure in “investors.” It also held seminars in other African countries. Since the completion of the seminars, however, all of its websites have since gone offline.

Our research further revealed that since they started operations in Kenya, they had not paid their Kenyan representatives and had spent time in-house trying to deliberate on the remuneration and contract issue of their representatives. This was according to an email sent by a Steve Mason, who refers to himself as a Senior Investment Specialist for Apexcoins in the email, which was posted on Facebook.

Seeing that Apexcoins claims to make profits when their investors make profits, this begs the question, for a company that allegedly has operations in more than 20 countries and oversees the portfolio of small to big clientele and has a business model that is solid and generates profits for its investors, how does it fail to make money to pay its own employees?

In addition, they state that the bitcoin price fluctuations do not affect investors in any way. How do they guarantee this? As we know, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have had a rough year, so how is that possible? No investment management operation in the world can deliver the returns that Apexcoins guarantees.

Furthermore, the Financial Services Commission of Mauritius issued a public notice on July 27, 2018, that warned its citizens to be cautious when it comes to dealing with Apexcoins as it considers Apexcoins’ operations as highly questionable.

Furthermore, in Apexcoins whitepaper, where the company’s supposed team members are listed, is lacking images of each team member, which is very odd for a whitepaper in the cryptocurrency space, but what stands out even more as another red flag is that none of the mentioned team members seem to have a digital footprint. This suggests that the names used in the whitepaper are most likely fake.

Apexcoins’ List of Red Flags

  • Makes claims of impossibly high guaranteed monthly returns.
  • Claims that investors cannot lose their investment.
  • The company has not paid its representatives.
  • Its website has disappeared.
  • The Mauritian Financial Services Authority has warned its citizens against Apexcoins.
  • The whitepaper mentions supposed team members without images who have no digital footprint.

Do Not Invest in Apexcoins!

Bitcoin Africa’s research into Apexcoins has concluded that our findings point towards Apexcoins being a scam. Apexcoins appears to be piggybacking off the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies to gather funds from unwitting newcomers to the digital currency space who are not able to recognise the sea of red flags.

We, therefore, recommend to avoid investing in Apexcoins as the likelihood of you receiving your invested funds back, let alone an actual return on investment, is extremely low. 

Fortunately, given that their website is no longer accessible and their social media activity has fizzled out since early autumn, it seems that Apexcoins did not manage to find a footing in Africa. Perhaps the collapse of MMM has made people more sceptical about cryptocurrency investment program or the scheme made bank on its seminar attendees who invested in the scheme and decided to call it quits.

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Pesamill Review: Everything You Need to Know About This New Cryptocurrency Exchange

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Pesamill Review
Images by Pesamill

Pesamill is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using a variety of payment methods. The platform seeks to offer investors easier access to cryptocurrency exchange services by incorporating a variety of local fiat currency trading options.

In this Pesamill review, we will explore the features that make the exchange unique and how you can go about buying and selling cryptocurrency on this newly-launched digital asset exchange.

Introduction

Pesamill

Pesamill is a Kenya-based digital asset exchange that was launched in 2018 to solve some of the challenges faced by cryptocurrency users when accessing global cryptocurrency exchanges.

To begin with, the exchange has simplified the signing up process and kept KYC (Know-Your-Customer) requirements for users to a minimum. The KYC process is custom built to cater to a variety of users across different markets.

The platform incorporates a number of payment options which include mobile money, Visa, Mastercard, and bank transfers, and has a friendly user interface that is easy to navigate together with a customer care chat functionality to guide users.

How To Trade Bitcoin on Pesamill?

New users have to sign up for an account on the website’s landing page. Registration requires you to input your name, email address, password, country of residence and currency of choice. Once you have read and acknowledged the terms of use and privacy policy, you can proceed to sign up. A verification message is then sent to your email.

Once you have verified your email address then you can proceed to the Pesamill dashboard. On the top left corner of the dashboard, there is a tab that offers you the option to switch between different operational layouts. Quick mode offers you a simple layout with the list of cryptocurrencies supported, and their retail prices in USD.

PesaMill Review

For instance, if you click on the bitcoin column you can choose to buy either $50, $100, $200 and $500 worth of BTC. To buy a different amount you can input the figure directly at the bottom of the page and execute a USD/BTC trade. To keep track of your trade there is a ‘my order’ tab which shows you the status of your order and account history.

The advanced mode offers you more specialised trading tools whereas quick mode is simpler and user-friendlier but it limits you to buying cryptocurrency only.

Pesamill Review

Advanced mode allows you to both buy and sell cryptocurrency. The minimum amount you need to place an order is $15 while the maximum amount you can place an order for is $10,000.99. It is important to note that these limits can sometimes change slightly from one session to another.

In addition, you can track trading patterns on the platform, the volumes of different buy and sell orders, as well as the status of your orders. The advanced mode also incorporates charts to view the price activity of the cryptocurrency you want to trade.

Registration and KYC

Upon signing up to Pesamill and securing your account, the next step is to update your details. This stage is crucial since you can only start trading once the KYC process has been completed. To begin the process you will click on the ‘Update Your Details’ tab on the top right corner of the dashboard after the ‘My Wallet’ tab.

The first step in the process requires you to establish your profile. You will need to provide extra details such as your date of birth, address and phone number. A confirmation code will be sent to your phone to verify the number. The next step will need you to upload two important documents namely, your identity card, and passport size photograph. The last option will require you to input your bank details though it is optional.

Once the whole process has been completed the Pesamill team will verify your KYC application and revert to you once the process is successful.

Trading Options, Deposits, and Withdrawals

Bitcoin Trading PlatformsPesamill enables you to trade in Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ether (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and EOS (EOS).

Upon creating your account you will receive emails containing your wallet address for each of the listed cryptocurrencies. You can deposit money into your account using the fiat currency option you selected when signing up and it will automatically be converted to USD. The funds deposited should reflect almost immediately into your account.

To withdraw money from your account all you need to do is enter your bank details on your profile, click on the ‘Withdraw’ tab and input the necessary amount to withdraw. You can only withdraw from your account and not from any of the individual cryptocurrency wallets you possess. Also, cryptocurrency coins cannot be withdrawn directly as fiat currency. Instead, you will need to sell your cryptocurrency to convert it to fiat money. Once the purchaser has sent the money to your account then you can withdraw.

The prices of the listed cryptocurrencies are updated every ten seconds to enable traders to keep track of volatility in the market. If you are looking to transfer digital currency from your online wallet to your personal wallet or to another recipient the process is straightforward.

For example, to send bitcoin you will click on the ‘My Wallet’ tab on the dashboard. Proceed to the bitcoin wallet tab on the left-hand corner and click on it to view your balance. You will notice the ‘Send’ and ‘Receive’ tab at the centre column in the page.

To send BTC, click on the ‘Send’ tab and input the value and recipient wallet address on the pop-up window. To receive BTC click on the ‘Receive’ tab and copy the public key on the pop-up window and provide it to the sender. Alternatively, you can scan the QR code and provide the same to the other party.

Fees and Security

Pesamill is yet to release a comprehensive breakdown of their fees though it is stated in the FAQs that use of conventional payment methods when buying cryptocurrency will attract higher charges to mitigate against the risk of transactions being reversed. If you are sending or receiving cryptocurrency then normal network charges will apply and this varies between different coins.

The exchange has strong security protocols in place to safeguard sensitive user information and funds. Information such as personal details, account numbers, routing numbers is stored using bank-level AES-256 encryption. Also, all traffic is transmitted over SSL “(Secure Socket Layer) to prevent third-parties from accessing your connection.

Pesamill also deploys a two-factor authentication system to ensure they are no unauthorised or fraudulent logins. In addition, the exchange has very strict AML (Anti Money Laundering) procedures in place to ensure the platform is not used to launder money, finance illegal activities or support terrorism. They include:

  • You must undergo the KYC process before being allowed to trade.
  • You can only withdraw fiat currency to a bank account with the same name as your Pesamill account.
  • You can only deposit fiat currency from a bank account with the same name as your Pesamill account.
  • Pesamill will not hesitate to report any illegal activity to the relevant authorities.

Conclusion (UPDATED)

While Pesamill had everything a new bitcoin exchange would need to become a popular platform for digital currency traders, it has been inactive for months.

There is, therefore, no point attempting to access the platform today. Should this change, we will update this review accordingly.

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LocalBitcoins Review: Pros and Cons of Buying Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins

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LocalBitcoins review
Images by LocalBitcoins.com

LocalBitcoins is a popular peer-to-peer exchange that allows users to trade bitcoin. In this LocalBitcoins review, you will learn how to use the platform and discover the pros and cons of buying and selling bitcoin on LocalBitcoins.

Getting Started on LocalBitcoins

LocalBitcoins

Founded in 2012, LocalBitcoins aims to connect the masses to the bitcoin economy guided by the belief that bitcoin will transform the global financial landscape. LocalBitcoins acts as a gateway into the often complicated world of bitcoin trading and allows newbies to buy and sell the digital currency with relative ease.

To trade on LocalBitcoins, you are required to create a username, provide your email address and input a password. Once the registration is complete you will be sent a message to the email address you provided for account verification purposes. It is important to verify your account so as to activate the ‘Login Guard’ that will ensure any receive a confirmation email anytime you sign in with a different device.

Upon logging in, you will find a simple user interface on the main page of your account. On the dashboard, you will see the main sections which include buying and selling bitcoin, posting trades, customer support, inbox, and your online wallet.

At the top of the page, you will notice a search bar for you to narrow down advertisements. The rest of the page will show the most popular advertisements including volume limits and payment methods.

How to Buy Bitcoin

To buy bitcoin on LocalBitcoins, the first step would be to search for vendors who are selling bitcoin and are in your geographic location. On the search box at the top of the main page, fill in the amount you want to purchase in your currency, together with your location and the payment method you prefer. If you are uncertain on how you want to pay, then select the ‘All offers’ option on the drop-down menu. The platform will give you a list of all bitcoin traders in your area.

LocalBitcoins Review

You will have to select a trader with a good reputation score and a high number of trades from the list of advertisements. Each advertisement has a response time indicator, which shows how prompt the trader replies to requests. To get more information about the advertisement you can click on the ‘Buy’ tab.

After clicking on the ‘Buy’ tab you can view the terms of trade. If you find them acceptable, input how much you want to purchase in the amount box, type a message for the seller and press the ‘Send trade request’ to initiate the trade. After clicking the button you must pay before the payment window is over or else the trade will automatically be cancelled.

Once you have executed the payment, press the ‘I have paid’ tab. The seller will have to verify the payment is received only then will your bitcoin be released from the escrow and made available on your LocalBitcoins wallet. If you are looking to sell bitcoin the process is almost similar and you can learn through a ‘How to Sell Bitcoin‘ guide on the site.

Main Features and Payment Options

LocalBitcoins incorporates a number of features that optimise the trading process. Top among them is its escrow service. The escrow is useful for online transactions where any cash sent during a trade is held by the escrow administration until the vendor confirms a successful exchange.

To ensure you end up selecting the right trader the site has a reputation rating system in place. Traders are ranked based on their activity, trading history, and user feedback.

Localbitcoins also offers conflict resolution in the event a dispute arises during a trade. The conflict resolution is enforced through its customer support team who are ready to handle any issues between buyers and sellers.

Perhaps the biggest selling point of LocalBitcoins is the high number of payment options available. Its payment options include but are not limited to:

  • Cash on delivery
  • M-Pesa
  • PayPal
  • Wire transfer
  • Western Union
  • Webmoney

Fees and Security

Bitcoin ETF ProposalsLocalBitcoin charges a 1 percent fee on individuals who post the adverts. It is important to note, that some payment methods are more expensive on the site due to vendors running the risk of selling BTC to individuals who may initiate a chargeback, particularly for PayPal or credit card transactions. Therefore, to protect themselves against loss they increase the price for certain payment methods. Transactions to other LocalBitcoin wallets are free. When using the site merchant invoicing services a fee of 0.5 percent is deducted from the deposit. You can view more of the fee structure on the Fees Section.

While LocalBitcoins has developed a reputation for being a safe and trustworthy platform to transact in BTC, users are still advised to be cautious. The site has a 2FA Authentication procedure where you have an additional PIN code to protect you against hackers. 2FA enables you to confirm your log-ins by having a PIN code sent to your mobile device.

Having said that, it is important for you to follow certain safety measures to achieve successful trades. They include:

  • Scrutinise the seller’s profile to ensure they are suitable to trade with. You can opt for traders who have been on the site for more than a year, have a 98 percent score and have successfully completed a minimum of 100 BTC trades. You can also identify verified vendors who provide their account details as well as phone numbers and addresses.
  • Avoid trading with merchants externally as it negates the escrow service leaving you vulnerable. If possible ensure all communication with the seller happens on the LocalBitcoins platform.
  • Do not hesitate to contact customer care or make use of the forums if you are not sure about a particular seller.

Customer Service

LocalBitcoins offers a variety of customer service options. When you click on the HELP tab on your dashboard, it will provide you with a drop-down list of options to choose. You can access any of the guides or go through the FAQs page for a more customised experience. In addition, you can create a customer support ticket and have your issue addressed more directly by the customer care team.

Pros

  • Relatively low trading fees
  • Variety of payment options
  • Escrow service
  • Good customer support
  • Reputation ratings
  • Simple user interface

Cons

  • Need to be vigilant
  • Bitcoin trading only, no altcoins supported
  • Higher fees for cash
  • Bid/Offer spread can be very wide in illiquid markets

LocalBitcoins has established itself as the world’s leading peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange. The site is an excellent choice for those who are new to trading bitcoin as well as more experienced traders who want to use a range of payment options. LocalBitcoins proves particularly popular among developing markets where most of the bitcoin trading occurs on a peer-to-peer basis.

Provided you stick to basic security practices and choose your counterparties carefully, you should have no issues whatsoever trading bitcoin on LocalBitcoins. In fact, if there is no local bitcoin exchange in your location, LocalBitcoins will probably be your go-to marketplace for buying and selling bitcoin.

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Changelly Review: Should You Buy Cryptocurrencies on Changelly?

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Changelly Review

Changelly is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges that offer users the opportunity to buy and sell a wide range of digital currencies and tokens. The exchange offers an easy-to-use service that combines user-friendliness, speed, and low fees. In this Changelly review, you will discover the benefits and drawbacks of this popular exchange and learn how to buy cryptocurrencies on Changelly

Introducing Changelly

Changelly ReviewChangelly was launched in 2016 by the people behind MinerGate, a mining multipool service, and now has over one million customers that use its exchange.

When buying cryptocurrencies on the exchange, rates and the time of the transaction are made clear from the beginning. However, the rate given before the transaction being completed by the user is an estimation. This may not be the actual amount in crypto received, depending on the exchange rate at any given point in time (which can rapidly change when it comes to crypto).

Changelly gives users the option of choosing crypto-to-crypto exchanges and also allows users to exchange fiat currency to cryptocurrency by using a VISA, MasterCard credit or debit card. The service can be accessed by anyone anywhere in the world as long as their requirements are met.

How Does Changelly Work?

It is pretty easy to get an account at Changelly, the only thing you need to provide is your email address. Once you sign up, you receive an email confirmation with a password to log in with (make sure you change the password to make it more personal to you as well as more secure).

 

Changelly

 

Next, there are dropdowns for you to select the two currencies you want to exchange. Then, put in the amount of currency you want to exchange from. Changelly will show an estimate of the amount of the new currency to be received. The exchange rate, the amount you will receive, and estimated arrival time is shown as well. Changelly also calculates and displays its 0.5 percent transaction fee leaving no room for confusion as you continue through the process.

 

Changelly

 

Once this is done, enter the wallet address that you want your funds to be sent to. Check that this address is correct! There will be no way to get your cryptocurrency after the exchange is made if you enter an incorrect address. 

Once you click on “Next”, the information entered previously shows up and you are asked to confirm that everything is correct. At this point, it is recommended to re-confirm the details of your wallet and amount. This is the last step to make sure your details are correct.

 

Changelly Review

 

Finally, transfer the funds of the original currency to the wallet that Changelly provides. You can either do this by copying the wallet address listed or scanning the QR code at the bottom of the page. 

You will receive a confirmation email once Changelly has received your funds. Expect to have the purchased cryptocurrency in your wallet within 5 to 30 minutes.

Identity verification is not needed for trade at Changelly, unlike at most other exchanges. The only limitations set are the ones designed for specific regions, and they are all removed after a month of using their services.

Cryptocurrencies Available on the Platform

Changelly has a high number of supported cryptocurrency. It offers over 100 different digital currencies and tokens. The swap transactions are available for all coins though they can be delisted in the future if little interest is shown for the particular altcoin.

Methods of Deposit

Changelly does not hold fiat money in the account balances of its traders. However, you pay for the coins and receive them in your wallet address instantly.

The acceptable fiat payment methods are credit or debit cards expressed in either USD or EUR. Wherever you are in the world, if you hold a valid bank card, you are eligible to purchase any coin from Changelly. The exchange claims that there are no fees on your purchase with the card, apart from the commission. The fees are added in as part of the exchange rate when purchasing coins.

Changelly’s Exchange Rate and Fees

ChangellyThere are two types of costs that one should keep in mind. First is the commission, charged at 0.5 percent of the transaction value and the other is the network fee. The network fee is a commission that a blockchain takes from the amount sent in each currency. If the amount is too low to cover the fees of the network, the transaction will not go through. The network costs are specified for each coin and do change on daily basis, depending on the trade volume.

These are the limitations put on credit-card based transactions:

  1. The UK, Canada and Australia – $200 limit for the first transaction, the next purchase could be made in four days (500$ limit), $3000 after seven days of the first buy. No more than three payments within the first week. No limits in one month at all.
  2. CIS region (Russia/Ukraine/Belarus/Kazakhstan/Armenia/Georgia) – $1000 limit for the first transaction. The next limit increase could be done in 24 hours. The total limit for the first week is $3000 and for the first month is $10000. No limits in one month at all.
  3. EU and other countries – $500 limit for the first transaction, the next purchase could be made in four days with $1000 limit. No more than 6 payments within the first week. No limits in one month at all.

Security

Changelly has two-factor authentication and funds are never stored on the site because all cryptocurrencies are processed to the respective wallets directly. Additionally, there is no confirmation via email to deal with the site and all transactions are anonymous.

Conclusion

Changelly’s features make it very easy to use, even for first-time cryptocurrency buyers. The platform takes you through the process step by step and you make your first purchase within minutes of signing up.

Moreover, the fact that Changelly supports so many digital currencies and tokens and does not require you to verify your identity when you trade, has made it a popular digital asset exchange. 

If you want to buy or sell digital currencies and tokens on Changelly, sign up to the platform here!

*Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the company, product or service. BitcoinAfrica.io is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any loss or damage caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, product or service mentioned in this article.*

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