What is Initiative Q? – How to Understand Initiative Q and How to Keep Your Info Safe if You Sign Up
Initiative Q is offering free “money” (“Q” in this case) to get you and your friends to sign up for its managed crypto-like payments system. Their site says all “Q” should be worth $2 trillion dollars. BIG RED FLAGS here folks. Let’s go over what Q is, some warnings, and how to sign up safely if you are determined to do so. NOTE: Initiative Q is invite only, so you’ll need to be invited to sign up. See details below.
UPDATE Feb 2019: We published this October 28, 2018. A few weeks after that the Initiative Q buzz started to fizzle, the big exciting countdown clock pretty much started to grind to a halt, and emails and notifications from them stopped coming in. That is for me yet another red flag. So, while I’ll make this case below, let me just say… be very careful. Risks are limited since they don’t deal in real money (they are just offering free Q tokens as rewards), but we have no way of knowing what they will ask for down the road. Please read further disclaimers below. Back to the article….
First off, before we discuss anything, there is no way $2 trillion USD worth of Q (2 trillion Q, each being worth $1 USD) can be printed out of thin air and then redeemed for USD. Doing so would collapse the price of Q in the style of the Bitconnect token. Keep that in mind as you read the following Tweet.
What is the basis for the 2 trillion USD valuation for the Q? It’s reasonable for a leading payment network, according to the Equation of Exchange and current transaction volumes of leading payment networks. For more info see our economic model: https://initiativeq.com/knowledge/economic-model
— Initiative Q (@InitiativeQ) October 14, 2018
Second off, and to the credit of Initiative Q, people have to jump through a lot of hoops to actually get the Q held in reserve for them and furthermore that Q is released over time by a committee as the system grows… so it isn’t as economically unworkable as it sounds from that perspective. If you want to hear their answers for questions you might have, see their FAQ and site in general.
When you sign up: You start with 0% Q secured but X amount reserved based on when you sign up, then you get 10% secured for signing up once the person who invited you verifies your registration, then 40% for getting 5 others to sign up (1/5th of that for each sign up), then the rest for “tasks” (not sure what “tasks” is yet). You don’t get any of that secured Q however until it is released to you by a committee down the road. NOTE: After you get 5 people to sign up under you, you then get double the Q reserved for you and can sign up 10 more, then it increases again and goes to 15 and it switches to securing Q for people those people sign up (not sure how far this rabbit hole goes, if anyone else does, please drop a note in the comments below).
That said, above I mentioned Bitconnect, and that is because this whole thing feels a bit like the infamous Bitconnect scam with a twist.
Both Bitconnect and Q promise the moon and require you to sign up others to get the full payout, but where Bitconnect wanted your Bitcoin in trade for its token, Initiative Q only wants the info of you and your downline (and some “tasks” completed) in return for securing the “tokens” they have reserved for you (I say “tokens” with quotes because Q isn’t exactly a cryptocurrency token, it is more like a PayPal type thing; and I say “securing reserved tokens,” because you need to get others to sign up and you need to preform other tasks to get access to any Q that is reserved… and even then, as noted, it will get released over time by a committee who manages the system).
Before going into more detail, as a safeguard until we all know more about this project: Don’t give Initiative Q identifying info (or at least give information sparingly).
If you get a referral link (these are currently spamming the internet, which is why I’m writing about it) and you think the free $60,000 worth of Q (or whatever the payout is when it gets to you; it’s decreasing rapidly, act fast… so they say) is too good to pass up, then simply sign up without giving out identifying info (or at least too much info).
Meanwhile, if you do sign up, since you will need to spread your referral link to get the full payout, please inform others that you get to sign up they should be careful with their personal info too.
TIP: According to the FAQ, you need to have some sort of relationship with the people you refer so you can use that network to verify purchases. Not sure how that will work in practice, but if you want to be safe you’ll need to give your referral link out to people you can contact.
That means to sign up for Initiative Q “safely” you’ll need:
- An email that doesn’t identify you that you don’t use for anything else (for example, create a Gmail address with information that doesn’t identify you or your other accounts).
- A secure and random password not used for anything else (including that new email you just created). Here is a strong random password generator.
- Optional: A name that has no identifiable information attached to it. Here is the deal, you’ll likely need to use your real name to go through with the total process with Initiative Q (it hints at this along the way). Plus, let’s be honest, our names are essentially public information. The email and password are more important to secure. Just if you do give your real name and not a handle, be extra cautious with what other information you offer up along the way (like street name, name of first pet, phone number, etc… things that are commonly used in security verification).
Meanwhile, you should be cautious about hitting the sign in with Twitter, Facebook, or Google buttons if you have personal information on there too.
And of course, down the road if and when you are asked for more information and offered something else, you have to make sure you once again use best practices to keep your information safe!
This isn’t to say Initiative Q isn’t trustworthy, it is to say no one has any clue if it is or isn’t trustworthy… but it is sure collecting the information of the entire crypto community at a rapid pace with the promise of absurd amounts of free money…
…and remember, there is no such thing as free money. Therefore there may be a catch with Initiative Q logically speaking.
Since they don’t want money, but do want information, a skeptical mind should question if they plan to 1. monetize your information in some way, 2. ask for money down the road, 3. pull some sort of scheme later on, 4. make it really hard to actually redeem Q, and/or 5. something else I haven’t thought of.
Maybe what they do is create an exchange for “Q” and then trickle access to redeemed Q while liquidating the Q they saved for themselves. Maybe they use this big list of data to raise funds. Maybe they use the big list to hack everyone’s crypto accounts.
Maybe they have a good idea but are using very scammy marketing to try to “overcome the adoption barrier” like they say.
Maybe they are really going to release money to early adopters, but will do it so slowly over time that it doesn’t collapse their economy.
Maybe this whole thing will go off smoothly and we’ll all love and use Q down the road.
It is a hard to say, the project is fairly interesting and the write up on their site seems well intentioned enough, scammy bits aside, but of course Bitconnect had a lot of positive things to say about themselves to.
Point being, there is a lot of ways to go here, some scammy, some not.
However, as I said, the core point here is: we don’t know yet.
All we know is this viral pyramid type thing came out of nowhere and has become incredibly popular quickly.
In general in crypto we are well advised to be cautious (especially with referral based projects). In general in life we are well advised to be wary of a free lunch.
Here is a product targeting the crypto community that is offering a free lunch and is requiring referrals.
This is like a basket of giant red flags, so caution is advised.
None of this means you have to skip Q, it just means that you’ll likely want to approach this safely until if and when they can prove themselves to be legit.
If it is shown to be legit you can always, you know, input more information (one would assume).
Is Initiative Q is created by the guys from PayPal and backed by Cato? People trying to get you to use their invite will say the darnedest things, let me tell you. No, Initiative Q was not created by the guys from PayPal, but there is some truth in sell line. Initiative Q founder Saar Wilf is an entrepreneur / poker player who founded a security company called Fraud Sciences, which was sold to PayPal in 2008. Meanwhile, one specific writer at Cato, Lawrence H. White, indeed does stand behind Initiative Q (see here). So cool, but big names like PayPal and Cato seem to be getting thrown around to get you excited to share your information for free money. See the Wikipedia page on Initiative Q.
Q is invite only: Q is invite only, so you have to use someone else’s referral link (see below for a link). You only secure 10% of your reserved Q by signing up and getting verified, you need to get 5 more people to sign up to get another 40%. Further, each user can only verify 5 people at first (then more once that is complete), so this is yet another “act fast” sort of thing going on here. This is all very much in the style of a traditional MLM gambit. Using MLM tactics is a red flag… but of course, there are many legal and popular MLMs out there today, so it isn’t the kiss of death necessarily.
Get a referral code for Q: To get a referral code you’ll need to find someone who has already signed up that you can communicate with. We were offering that through the site, but we maxed out our referrals. Try an Initiative Q group on social media, but pick someone you can communicate with.
Warning on using referral codes of someone you don’t know personally: On the site it suggests that you’ll need to be able to communicate with the person whose link you used. So make sure you have some way to contact them if needed down the road.
Can I use multiple emails for Initiative Q? In theory you can sign up for this more than once by using different emails, however Initiative Q cautions against this and says it is grounds for having all your accounts removed. Further, we don’t know what information will be required down the road. One could very well have to provide more identifying information than just a name down the road to actually get secured Q released to them making using more than one account impossible.
Bottomline: If you are going to do this and want to actually get your Q, I would suggest you use your real name, a fresh email, a unique password, and consider referring people you know personally so you can verify things with them down the road (and make sure to share best practices too). It could be there is a workaround for using a handle and/or getting people you don’t know how to contact signed up, but the FAQ specifically warns against both these things, so gotta work off the little information we do know!
Have questions? Feel free to ask us questions in the comments below.