...And LFIN-All-The-Way To The Cayman Islands Bank!
In what should surely fill readers with confidence in the robust functioning of U.S. markets' irony-meters under almost unbearable strain, the FTSE Russell 2000 added "LongFin Corp." on Friday March 16, 2018. Apparently, "russ two-thousand," as I shall informally refer to it now that the indexing bubble is on the verge of going full-on Hindenburg, decided to add to their index a company that can't even consistently capitalize its own name! Fittingly, "russ 2000," decided to go with the spelling that most emphasizes going "Long" coming to an end - or "Fin" in some Romance languages.
Fittingly, the major FY18 challenge for OTCPK:LFIN, this $5 billion dollar company that dilutes its shares out the wazoo's wazoo for vague "general business purposes" is the weighty decision on when to capitalize "-Fin," or when to go logo-lowercase - "-fin"! They'll make up their minds one day...or rather they would if they actually had customers/reputation to uphold and their IPO circular exaggeration about being designated market makers wasn't a fabrication (does not check out on HKE/SGX as mentioned).
Effs From L to R: F-! f-! F-! f-!
I have ceased my surprise. I would not be surprised under present insanity if the stock price were to continue up short term, as shorts and naked call writers fall into the ambush cross-hairs of a scam company that can't tie its own shoelaces. OTCPK:LFIN doesn't even need to- because it already mischievously tied together everyone else's with the low float. Bitcoin has proved momentum traders will buy anything that's for sale. "Gethcha Securitized, B2B lending, crypto-meth here! SEC-Wall Street-Legal! No need for OTCPK:LFIN to register with FinCEN to file SARs (Suspicious Activity Reports), since the entire company is one big, oozing "SAR" on NDAQ's arse. Order up!"
After OTCPK:LFIN's "15 minutes" of televised CNBC fame during the halcyon December days of bitcoin madness, OTCPK:LFIN has since fallen off of the financial press' radar, only to bob its head up on brief occasions as the sole Reg A listing unicorn. This story to me is the encapsulation of market delusion we are now in, what happens when "moral hazard" was chucked out the window to delay a painful reckoning, and now speed limits are a thing of the past.
The financial press have remained silent on the subject of OTCPK:LFIN CEO Venkat S. Meenavalli's Potemkin persona, such as a Masters of Computer Science "distant learning degree" from "Suffield university." A fake degree would mean headline news and a probable resignation from any real, quotation mark-less "$5 billion dollar company." At this point we might as well find some distressed CDOs, toss in a few doge-coin, throw in moldy beanie babies, and bundle it together with OTCPK:LFIN A shares and call the garbage, mutant fad index creature a "OTCPK:LFIN-stock," pronounced "Laughingstock." Retail will eat it up, and beg for seconds right now- until they run out of cash and see that OTCPK:LFIN aren't nearly the most successful scammers around!
If that genius "LFIN-stock" ticker pun was intentional, I will testify for clemency on its creator's behalf during the sentencing phase and any later parole hearings. If, on the other hand, it was a hilarious NDAQ inside-joke at selecting Longfin's ticker- "Shame! Shame!" Regardless of author, slam scam poetry has seldom been elevated to such a high art!
I shouldn't kvetch about the press, NDAQ and regulators so far letting OTCPK:LFIN be though. It's easier to hide in plain sight when your company doesn't have the real company bothers of having to sell goods and services to what in the non-scam world are called...eh "customers." Customers complain. They want free-shipping. They want something in return for their money. Marks...eh Investors and traders will too, but they can only pay attention to so many shell games at one time...and they're more gullible if you can get them to imagine your security as a bitcoin-correlating lotto-ticket.
Which is why the Potemkin Ziddu Warehouse Token is a mark of high genius, over five years in the making! Create the most undesirable cryptocurrency token yet dreamt up by the soul of nerd-man overnight- and hoard about 99.9% of it, and sell the other .1% to yourself or another related party. No pesky token-loving users will ever complain to the government. Only a few U.S. Residents live in states that will even actively respond to open flaunting of financial rules- perhaps simply too many egregious scams going on right now!
But still LFIN gets to say "we're doing blockchain [illegally, in plain sight]!" And when the stock overshoots and flies to high, the OTCPK:LFIN CEO is thrust into the spotlight. He disarms Scamerica with easy agreement about LFIN's overvaluation, knowing he'll still reap most of the fruits of the pump and deflect unwanted attention for a while by taking some air out of the hot air balloon before its done for him.
It was no easy task. It was not overnight. Meenavalli put his heart and soul over four years dreaming up and perfecting his Ziddu Warehouse Token. It just only looks like his techies developed Ziddu.com as it exists in about two swigs of Mountain Dew combined with enough, eye-glazing power point style diagrams to kill the attention of the most earnest MBA student.
Before there was Ziddu Warehouse Token - There was IC (Idle Compute) Coin - in Meenavalli's Idle Mind's Eye
Don't worry LFIN investors- now that such a fabled creature in the guise of "russ 2000" investors exist! This is not OTCPK:LFIN's first crypto-rodeo. It's only the first one where the bucking bull didn't hit their vague, un-achievable grand plans with a pair of longhorns in the tuchus. I have so far have been unable to find out whether IC Coin, or Idle Compute Coin was ever launched...but by the looks of things- nope.
OTCPK:LFIN CEO Meenavalli is an ahead of his time crypto-currency visionary, whose past teams have come up with such prior ingenious, if meaningless slogans such as "Digitalizing global computation power and electricity in to[sic] 0s and 1s." How can anyone doubt the ability of OTCPK:LFIN to deliver groundbreaking blockchain upon hearing that tautology for the digital computer ages?! The copyright for IdleComputing.com said "2014," but even back before then in 2013 Mr. Meenavalli was bragging about "Stampede cloud launches 1 Terra[sic] Hash Mining Rig for Bitcoin."
In Longfin's prospectus, some observant twitter observers noticed that one of the few possible ways Longfin Tradex Pve. Ltd. could have been making some external revenues was if it was using its resources to mine Litecoin over the last year. Note also the use by the developer who made the screen shot of the "Telegram Messenger", which has gained a reputation as terrorists' and organized crime's favorite chat app. I doubt that most, legitimate Fintech companies use chat apps that can't be centrally monitored, controlled and logged when dealing with vast sums of money...but I guess someone can correct me in the comments.
Ten or More Reasons LFIN's Ziddu.com is a Fintech Sham (Note the following expands on a prior Medium Article from February - I have not reconfirmed that a fraud has magically reconfigured itself into a real product over the last month.)
So, the alibi is, that the poor CEO was shocked — shocked that the impossible to be arms length acquisition of his separate company’s Ziddu.com site only a day or two after IPO led to an overnight jump in the midst of the all-time highs for cryptocurrency. The primary problem I have with believing this claim to innocence, is that the technical and legal approach LFIN is taking to implementing the Ziddu Warehouse Token undermines the case that they would ever expect any real world success for their blockchain initiatives that they claim in press releases to now be in beta. Ziddu.com appears to be a Potemkin Village, all for show and tell for the linkage to blockchain- not for real world use or actual legitimate revenue growth as the LFIN CEO lied about on national television.
After experiencing the customer’s sign-up experience on Ziddu.com, the following are a list of red flags that indicate to me that Longfin’s “beta” blockchain effort is dead-on-arrival, and not the least bit serious in intent:
- Ziddu.com HTTP Response Headers (information a web-server sends back to web browsers) indicate that the website is hosted on IIS 7.5, which means that it is hosted on Windows 2008 R2 (or Windows 7!). "Yes, and so?" - you might say, if you aren't a web techie, and don't see how absurd that is. So an application that was purchased for over 2.5 million shares (over 125 million dollars) is being hosted on a rickety, 9-year old OS that is out of mainstream support by Microsoft- increasing security risks. An effort that wasn't intended to be a sham would not host a relatively new public Fintech application on an out-of-date, less secure platform and then implement it using poor, also antiquated software library choices to boot (for the techies' e.g. using "ASP.NET Web Forms" when better, more testable user interface library alternatives exist. Don't need to test what doesn't get used!).
- A key step for a legitimate public company before making an excursion in the complex and uncharted “virtual currency space” is to prepare one’s blockchain-related applications for compliance with laws and regulations. A search shows Longfin further has no BitLicense for the state of New York nor Washington, despite allowing token and cryptocurrency transactions on Ziddu.com and not providing information about geographic restrictions on its use. I found find no registration for LongFin corporation (nor partial search for “Stampede” one of the subsidiaries) as a MSB (“Money Services Business”) with FinCEN, the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Network.
- No legal terms of service appear on any pages I have seen, nor in registering for Ziddu.com. Longfin either didn’t feel the need to solicit legal advice before making the beta version of their site available to the public to register, has horrible counsel, or didn’t see any possible risk of any customers using the incoherent application itself (An application that not incidentally has no documentation for the customer to use the site properly, that only attempts to link Ziddu to some ground breaking use cases that don’t hold up to logical scrutiny and imaginary token market caps).
- Ziddu’s AML/KYC (Anti-Money Laundering/Know Your Customer) compliance is a joke. No real effort is made other then to pretend uploading a random ID image, unverified by an administrator takes the place of compliance. No restrictions on geography and nationality of the users and companies are found to prevent use of Ziddu.com where it would be banned by US law or regulation (e.g. preventing North Korean nationals from money laundering Ethereum, etc.)
Ziddu.com’s AML/KYC Registration Form: No Possible Way this meets the Legal Standards for the relevant laws. Nor would such a form for a good faith effort lack Organization, Address and multiple methods to contact customers. A test of attaching a random image to the Passport field shows that no registration is reviewed before access is given to deposit Ethereum. Ziddu.com is not even close to “Beta” — it isn’t even pre-Alpha. It is the code equivalent of reusing a completely different application and slapping a trendier label on it.
5. After registering for the site, which required no clear user validation process to get access to other than confirming one's email, a claim was shown that “Currently we are in the process of listing Ziddu tokens in global major crypto exchanges.” This brings into the CEO’s statement on national television about how they will keep “Ziddu Warehouse Tokens” (ER-20 Tokens built on the Ethereum blockchain) private, and thus not subject to ICO restrictions by resembling a car wash token. Selling even one token without registering the tokens as a class of security is likely to run afoul of the Howey test that the SEC uses to determine if an instrument is an unregistered security or not.
Love the !!!!!!
Ziddu is a lightly re-branded, basic “Global Wallet” effort that appeared to originally be consumer-oriented and not B2B. If someone can make sense of how Ziddu’s basic ERC-20 token issuance with a clear as mud user interface (oh and “smart contracts” for token issuance to checkoff one more term in the buzzword checklist), constitutes the future of blockchain for “legally compliant” loan sharking…uh I mean shadow banking, then give that man or woman a crypto-cookie. As of now it is unusable — by design.
6. At the present moment, it appears that any member of the public with any graphic file and providing only some of the information involved in a valid AML/KYC process could after validating a live email address buy and move tokens on the public Ethereum network. Ziddu.com’s landing wallet page makes a claim that a person could eventually buy the token anywhere — just not yet — however P2P token exchanges should be possible with their present implementation. Longfin didn’t have an ICO as such because they still own 98%-100% of the Ziddu.com ERC-20 tokens in existence or more (as of 2/14/18, they may just have multiple addresses for testing and “pretend”). Logically they could establish any price they want for the token with that distribution and low liquidity evident in their bid-ask spreads and transaction rates, and as such defeats the rationale for token distribution.
7. Not a single real customer may have used the site, or a very limited number of partners, but they didn’t bother to make it closed beta in the current, not-ready for production by a mile, state. Only a few token transactions appear every few days:
8. Standard crypto-currency exchange security measures, such as MFA (multi-factor authentication) are no where in place, calling into question the seriousness of the effort. Poor security hygiene such as sending passwords in plain text emails for password reset, make clear that the site has not undergone a security audit before being made live — as no Fintech security specialist would sign off on it in it’s present state.
9. According to some Stocktwit posters, Ziddu and Longfin didn’t even have an SSL certificate in December!
Other corroboration for this is the effective date stamp for the Ziddu.com SSL cert that was eventually installed and that others noticed and tried to warn their favorite actor and overseas remittance sender, Amitabh Bachchan.
10. On January 22, 2018, LongFin made a misleading news release:“Longfin Corp. (“Longfin” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:LFIN), a leading global FinTech company, has announced that its Ziddu Smart Contracts are commercially available on the Ethereum blockchain.” Again, what serious, good faith effort would push into market into commercial availability in its present defective state at great risk to customer funds and extreme legal liability if terrorists or money launderers were to use their system as-is? No competent Fintech professional would implement Ziddu in this way. It’s unclear without further diving into this blockchain dumpster fire how the customer uses the smart contract in the first place, or if it is just the smart contract that regulates the underlying ERC-20 token distribution.
11. The whole premise of using Ethereum and blockchain for the purposes LFIN claims is not economically credible. The vast price volatility of Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies precludes any sane and legitimate business from making contracts denominated in other tokens or Ethereum. The LFIN CEO claimed he could "peg" his crypto-token in his December 2017 CNBC appearance. Maybe the People's Republic of China or the X-Men could use Mr. Meenavalli's impressive mutant "pegging" super power to keep the RMB ticking...
Bitcoin futures to date, have not prevented massive Bitcoin price volatility, so we should not expect any Ethereum futures to magically imbue the bent cryptocurrency market with exchange rate stability. But as I’ve illustrated, there have been no industry standard practices that have been taken to ensure users of Ziddu.com are legitimate, “who they say they are” businesses, anyways. Each potential customer is a potential massive legal liability for Longfin in the hypothetical world in which they were even trying, rather than scamming. Luckily, given the state of the Ziddu application and its detachment from any reality, and that the no-customers is by design, that is the least of Longfin shareholders’ problems. Part of the brilliance is by side-stepping the problem of having cryptocurrency enthusiasts who want to buy a junk token, LFIN sidestepped anyone being a complainant against them to a state government that would send them a cease and desist.
12. Others signs OTCPK:LFIN is not long for this world:
Russell 2000 "Investors" in LFIN, Feel Safe! 1,999 Investments that won't fall nearly as much?
In closing, here's a picture of the Cayman Islands search report for "The Beast Ltd," the company whose financial was combined with Longfin Tradex Pve. Ltd.'s purported earnings in Longfin Corp's 1-SA. (And whose associated site: thebeastfx.com now shows yet a different Meenavalli company- Meridian Tech Ltd!) What Longfin Corp. neglected, among many other things during its IPO filings to note until later revisions of its prospectus was that the Beast Ltd. had been "struck off" before its first submission of the prospectus!
Along with the awesome Cayman's crest, it reminds us all how easy it is to make outrageous claims, set-up manifold companies in tax havens, shuffle money around with international related parties and have not one whit of intention of making good on any of your promises of having a working, useful product or service. For that is the nature, of "The (Scam) Beast."
The Nature of the Beast Ltd. is that the "Real Organization" is not the "Real Organization"
Nearly all the Meenavalli-related websites and email servers are hosted together in a Bournemouth, UK data center - conveniently out of quick reach of Indian or US search warrants without international coordination!
Disclosure: I am/we are short NDAQ LFIN.
Additional disclosure: Short, may hedge at any time.