I’m not a lawyer, this is my opinion and I’m not making any accusations, simply exploring the question.
While reading the Australian Pyramid Scheme legislation https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2013C00620/Html/Volume_3#_Toc368657587 I decided to break down the parts.
Basically it says “A pyramid scheme is a scheme with both of the following characteristics:” “a participation payment” and “a recruitment payment“.
To keep it simple I will break down the key parts.
The participation payment is when AUD, goods or services are used as payment to join which entitles them to take part in the scheme (holding Qoin tokens). Some but not all provide this payment.
A recruitment payment is when the price goes up.
The price value is determined by recruitment of merchants as indicated by “number of merchants”.
Put simply when someone gets Qoin tokens for AUD, goods or services they just made a participation payment now as merchants are recruited they are entitled to part of the recruitment payment in the form of price going up (currently from $0.15 to $6.32).
Now you might be thinking to yourself “hang on, I sold my services for Qoin. I am not participating in recruitment!”, well it does not matter who does the actual recruitment.
(3) A scheme may be a pyramid scheme:
(a) no matter who holds out to new participants the prospect of entitlement to recruitment payments; and
(b) no matter who is to make recruitment payments to new participants; and
(c) no matter who is to make introductions to the scheme of further new participants.
So, people download the wallet app, some people make participation payments but not all, recruitment payment are distributed via the price.
I am making the case that ALL the price appreciation is attributed to recruitment payments in my opinion. If you consider the market cap went from $30,000,000 to (Q381,044,027 * $6.32 =) $2,408,198,250.64 that is literally billions in recruitment payments.
For good measure let’s make sure we check every “is this a pyramid scheme” box.
(1) A pyramid scheme is a scheme with both of the following characteristics:
(a) to take part in the scheme, some or all new participants must provide, to another participant or participants in the scheme, either of the following (a participation payment):
(i) a financial or non‑financial benefit to, or for the benefit of, the other participant or participants; Yes, paying for Qoin tokens with AUD, goods or services entitles you to benefit from price
(ii) a financial or non‑financial benefit partly to, or for the benefit of, the other participant or participants and partly to, or for the benefit of, other persons; as above
(b) the participation payments are entirely or substantially induced by the prospect held out to new participants that they will be entitled, in relation to the introduction to the scheme of further new participants, to be provided with either of the following (a recruitment payment):
(i) a financial or non‑financial benefit to, or for the benefit of, new participants; as new participants (merchants) join the price goes up benefiting those who previously made participation payments
(ii) a financial or non‑financial benefit partly to, or for the benefit of, new participants and partly to, or for the benefit of, other persons. as above
(2) A new participant includes a person who has applied, or been invited, to participate in the scheme. If they joined the app and become a verified merchant they are a new participant, some not all will make a participation payment
(3) A scheme may be a pyramid scheme:
(a) no matter who holds out to new participants the prospect of entitlement to recruitment payments; and usually this is done by Qoin Agents but also includes whoever referred to Agent
(b) no matter who is to make recruitment payments to new participants; and this is done via the price, no matter who wrote of controls the algorithm
(c) no matter who is to make introductions to the scheme of further new participants. pretty straight forward, anyone can introduce accepting Qoin tokens to anyone, it doesn’t matter when defining the scheme
(4) A scheme may be a pyramid scheme even if it has any or all of the following characteristics:
(a) the participation payments may (or must) be made after the new participants begin to take part in the scheme; yes perspective merchants are expected to pay with AUD or with their goods and services talking part in the scheme
(b) making a participation payment is not the only requirement for taking part in the scheme; it is possible to become a verified merchant without making a participation payment yet while receiving recruitment payments because of free Qoin tokens for joining
(d) arrangements for the scheme are not recorded in writing (whether entirely or partly); in this case they are but what an Agent says in a sales call might fall under this
(e) the scheme involves the marketing of goods or services (or both). this would be Qoin tokens
If true and it’s a big IF and I am not making any accusation but that would imply anyone who accepts Qoin is participating in recruitment payments and anyone who trades Qoin for AUD, goods or services is accepting participation payments, thus if you do both is participating in Australia’s definition of a pyramid scheme.
This is potentially not good news for Qoin participants because “Under Australian Consumer Law, pyramid schemes are illegal and there can be fines of up to $220,000 for anyone who takes part in the scheme or encourages other people to join”.
Some people are already saying “it’s MLM” or “it’s network marketing”, the simple fact is the legislation doesn’t care what you call it. It simply defines what is a pyramid scheme and that it is illegal under Australian law.
Something to think about.
If it is also you opinion Qoin is a pyramid scheme a guide showing step-by-step how to make a complaint to ASIC has been made available here