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Concerns Qoin digital currency 'doesn't make sense' as buyer demand falters – ABC News


Business owners have expressed uncertainty over the future of the digital currency Qoin, with concerns raised about possible misinformation and an inability for some to cash out.

Perth kebab shop owner Alan Farman said he was sceptical but intrigued when he heard about the Gold Coast-based Qoin six months ago.

“People were saying that they were basically doubling, tripling their money,” he said.

“It was rising pretty quickly and there were people cashing out with a lot of profit.”

Mr Farman said he bought $2,500 worth of Qoin with the intention of selling it off when its price increased further.

While Qoin was promoted to him primarily as an alternative way for customers to purchase his goods, Mr Farman said the project’s initial promise has turned into frustration.

Confusion over Qoin’s purpose

In November last year, Tania Roy worked as a Qoin promoter in the Ipswich suburb of Redbank Plains and said she supported it “100 per cent”.

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Ms Roy said her job was to promote Qoin to business owners so that they could be signed to its directory by an accredited agent.

She canvassed hundreds of businesses but said some had been told inaccurate information.

“Promoters are saying anything to get people on the directory,” Ms Roy said.

“Agents are giving out misinformation and not completing the listings correctly and Qoin is validating these listings.

According to its white paper, the value of Qoin is, in part, linked to the number of merchants using it and their annual average revenues.

Tania Roy’s son Jack said he signed on to Qoin through an agent to help launch his courier business.

“I told her [a Qoin agent] I haven’t even started trading yet so I have no idea what my annual trading would be,” he said.

“She said [to] just estimate what you want it to be in the first year and put that down, so I put $100,000.”

Ms Roy said she sold her Qoin in December, using the funds to purchase a vehicle for her son’s business.

Qoin to ‘clean up’ directory

Qoin’s chief marketing officer Andrew Barker said accredited agents must undertake formal training.

“What individual independent agents may say or not say, or be baited on or whatever it may be, I can’t comment on it.

“I haven’t had any specific complaints nor specific statements that have been made by any agent to any merchant, made to me.”

Mr Barker said Qoin signed on about 3,500 new merchants in March, bringing its total to about 35,000.

But with concerns that some businesses listed on the directory did not actually accept Qoin, Mr Barker said a team has been working to contact them and “clarify their position”.

“We’re taking steps to … clean up the directory — for want of a better expression,” he said.

But Mr Barker says “there is a truckload of positive stories that we see on social media every week”.

Social media debate surrounds Qoin

Unlike most crypto or digital currencies, both Qoin and the exchange it is traded on, Block Trade Exchange (BTX), are owned by the same company.

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This has prompted some concerns about transparency and in February Qoin was expelled from the industry group Blockchain Australia which represents at least 70 organisations.

Qoin’s 24-hour sell volume — the amount of the digital currency being sold a day — has dropped from a peak of more than $700,000 to about $25,000.

Only $125 worth of Qoin per account per day can be sold on BTX.

“Every five minutes they say there’s a new block sell batch,” Mr Farman said.

“I’m just constantly waiting for the five minutes to expire so I can hopefully cash out $125 for the day.

Mr Farman said customers have used Qoin to purchase items from his shop four times in the past six months.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” he said.

An issue finding buyers

According to a BTX spokesperson, more than $20 million worth of Qoin has been traded through the exchange in the past four months.

On March 30, BTX announced changes that would impact how Qoin could be sold or withdrawn in part to “suspend those abusing the daily withdrawal limits”.

Since then, many merchants and Qoin holders have expressed frustration on social media about an inability to sell Qoin for Australian dollars.

In a video posted on April 7, BTX spokesperson Ross Oakhill acknowledged that there was “some frustration out there in the marketplace”.

In a subsequent statement to the ABC, a spokesperson said, “BTX is a brand new start-up only four months old and will take time to attract a high level of buyers”.

“The 24-hour sell volume is based on buyers’ and sellers’ volumes which could fluctuate significantly from one day to another,” the spokesperson said.

A black market emerges

Many people have advertised the sale of their Qoin to private buyers for as low as $1 or $2 — well below BTX’s sell price of about $5.

But a BTX spokesperson said an estimated $25 million worth of goods and services have been traded using Qoin at a value above its sell price.

“In our opinion, this is the true market value based on volumes as well as willing buyers and non-anxious sellers,” the spokesperson said.

“The $2 that you see on social media are anxious sellers seeking to sell larger volumes at fire-sale prices, or early adopters that purchased or earned Qoin at the initial start-up phase.”

Qoin’s Andrew Barker says “we’re aware that there is a black market”.

“What they determine that price for the exchange of Qoin in fiat is purely amongst themselves,” he said.

Mr Barker said Qoin aims to expand into the United Kingdom, Singapore, and South Africa this year, with hopes that Japan and South Korea could follow.

“The success of Qoin into the future is that continual growth and the more opportunities that are available for those that have Qoin within the community,” he said.



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