Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem,
In April 2016 I was invited by two very good friends of mine from Glasgow to attend a private presentation near Manchester on the now infamous OneCoin. The presenters/ promoters were OneCoin affiliates from UK and Scandinavia, one of them a Muslim lady who went on to became a major player in the game. This Muslim lady promoter even showed us her OneCoin account on her mobile phone showing how much money she had made in such a short time period but to no avail. For me the underlying concept was flawed. None of us invested. I was so concerned about what was being promoted that I immediately wrote an article on the subject warning people about OneCoin from an Islamic perspective. www.muftisays.com/forums/14-peoples-say/10778-one-coin--w...
That meeting is still fresh in my mind, because there are so many red flags regarding the OneCoin scheme warning people to stay away but the ardent desire to get rich quickly without too much effort was too alluring for many, a consequence of which is that OneCoin has become the biggest financial scam in history with figures of $4 billion being mentioned. One of the most disturbing aspects of the OneCoin scam was that UK Pakistanis purposely targeted Muslims of Pakistani origin. So many people lost so much money while a few at the top gained from the losses of these masses.
Yesterday, the same two friends from Glasgow brought to my attention another “investment” called Bizztrade which they asked me to look at. When I looked into it, it seemed like a déjà vu. Just like OneCoin Bizztrade is promising to make you rich quickly with little work except aggressively recruiting others to join this new innovative money making scheme. Bizztrade is being actively promoted on internet platforms, WhatsApp groups and presentations by its advocates.
What exactly is Bizztrade?
The Bizztrade website (bizztrade.com), as of today, is very superficial giving very few details about what exactly is being offered and how an “investor” is supposed to make profits which are being touted on WhatsApp groups by its promoters. Most of the links on the website are missing with no real information about the management team.
The WhatsApp messages by Bizztrade promoters include “No monthly fee and no need to join anyone.” “Hi all, if anyone is interested in generating a passive income of an average of 8 to 9% a month, please get in touch,” “Please get in touch if u wish to enjoy between 5% to 15% monthly residual income on ur savings”, “FCA regulated,” and “with 100% capital guarantees”. Some of these promoters state that have spent years working in the financial industry, for big banks and as financial advisor. The reality is that any financial advisor or any prudent investor will tell you that these kinds of attention grabbing statements are red flags, and one should stay well clear of such “investment” schemes. Such an investment is virtually impossible.
Just think about it. A 8-9% per month equates to 250% annually “with 100% capital guarantees”. If there was such a scheme one would probably sell one’s house and put all the money, say £250,000, into the scheme, 10 years later one would be able to buy over 10,000 houses worth £250,000 each. Does anybody really believe that is possible? “Passive income”, “100% guaranteed capital.” Could thousands upon thousands of people become that so rich just by joining Bizztrade?
Let’s look at a little bit more detail at what exactly is Bizztrade offering and who’s is running it. Bizztrade which was launched earlier this year in 2019 is an offshoot (or rebranding) of Bizztrek International Ltd. which was set up in October 2018 and registered in Ireland. Another company also called Bizztrek International Ltd was also registered in April 2019 in Dallas, Texas. Interesting enough Biztrade was promoting itself in Dallas in early November this year.
How does one make money with Bizztrade?
You must first sign up to become a Bizztrade affiliate by “investing” €50 to €10,000 EUR and the Bizztrade compensation plan will give you a return from 0.4% to 0.8% a day. After reaching a certain amount affiliates have to reinvest in order to continue earning. Bizztrade affiliates earn 10% recruitment commissions through personally sponsored affiliates and further residual commissions are paid through a binary compensation structure. It all sounds so familiar. These residual commissions vary from 8-10% depending on how much you put upfront. There are also matching bonuses available and rank achievement bonuses through accumulating points designed to encourage affiliates to attract new “investors” into the scheme. It all sounds so familiar and reminds me of OneCoin slogans.
So what exactly is Bizztrade trading? According to their website they offer educational packages on forex. A multi-level marketing (MLM) company must offer some kind of product or service to be legal in the UK and US, otherwise, it could be a simple pyramid scheme. Bizztrade affiliates do not sell anything their main objective is to somehow attract new members, that is how they make their money. The promoters claim that the ROI are generated by forex trading. If that is the case then Bizztrade has to be registered with FCA and SEC, who would have to approve of the passive ROI and ensure that the returns given to affiliates are due to actual trading and not just re-distribution of money from new recruits. At present Bizztrade is not registered with FCA nor SEC. The FCA registered number, 501057, the promoters provide corresponds to Infinox Capital Ltd.
Summary and Conclusion
In summary, in my humble opinion, Bizztrade seems to be type of pyramid scheme under the guise of multi-level marketing (or network marketing) offering very high guaranteed ROI. They provide educational packages on forex trading but that is not the real purpose of the transaction the real objective is to recruit new members. Some of the people at the top of the company have been involved with other MLM companies such as Lifetree World which was liquidated in 2018 after about four years of trading and other businesses which have been dissolved. Pyramid schemes by their very nature must collapse as the number of new recruits dwindle, those who join the scheme very early on become rich at the expense of the masses at the bottom of the pyramid.
From an Islamic perspective a number of Islamic scholars and Islamic institutions have issued fataawa in the past declaring these kind of multi-level marketing schemes which rely primarily on commission rather than the value of the product being offered are impermissible. See fatawa no. 22935 dated 14/3/1425 AH by the Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fataawa, fatawa number 1152/993-L/1429 issued by darul ifta, Darul Uloom Deoband and fataawa by mufti mufti Siraj Desai.
Dr. A. Hussain, 29th Nov. 2019