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Author Topic: Is it OK to join a pyramid scheme if you're in early?  (Read 2602 times)
Tronlet
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June 23, 2011, 06:55:42 AM
 #21

It's a game between consenting parties, but to answer your original question of whether it's okay to join early, there's no need to feel guilty. Anyone who joins joins with the knowledge that they could very well lose their investment, you simply join with a little more of the odds on your side.

And really, who cares if it's legal? (I say, as someone who has never played) This is about as high a priority for the government as people who tear up and deface money, given it's an open activity in which no one is deceived. Besides, we are using the super-secret black market currency. Wink

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BitterTea
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June 23, 2011, 02:30:44 PM
 #22

Yes it is always okay to get in early, so long as its legal.

How can you know if it it should be legal or not unless you know if it's moral or immoral to do so!?
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June 23, 2011, 04:28:36 PM
 #23

Seems like a pretty bad idea to me.

Even if you do get a payout - what if some time later you send coins to say some exchange (which can tie your deposits to your email address) and then said exchange gets raided and database seized by your (or some) government. (perhaps for some unrelated reason)
Could you then get charged for having participated in a pyramid scheme if they do a lot of further tracking?

While I can see that bitcoins allow anonymous exchanges in many cases - it's not at all clear to me yet just how much can later be forensically determined via the public blockchain etc.

I like bitcoin for it's *relative* freedom from government/bank control - but I'm not going to be assuming it's entirely safe to use for dodgy things!

@electricwings   BM-GtyD5exuDJ2kvEbr41XchkC8x9hPxdFd
mcyhanick
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June 23, 2011, 04:39:00 PM
 #24

can't believe people are complaining about contributing like 0.05 BTC... come on people, how much USD do you throw away every day on stupid crap? This is no different.

... I sent in my BTC  Grin

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bittycoin
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June 24, 2011, 04:10:10 AM
 #25

I'm not complaining, hell, I'm playing the game and it's surprisingly fun for such a simple concept!

Maybe the ethics question depends on whether it's individual morality or public policy.

On an individual level, live and let live.  As long a you're not dishonest or coercive, you should be free to do what you want and make your own mistakes.

But from a public policy standpoint, that's a disaster.  What kind of crappy economy would your country have if everyone's just playing pyramid games and trying to get rich quick instead of producing real value?

And the bitcoin games can be a kind of utopia, where there's no deceit or coercion.  The Ponzi operator actually calls it a pyramid, and makes all the transactions public! 

https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AiID-eW4QPZ_dF8ya3VvQVYzSHpIbzJKVWlMeUxYcnc&hl=en_US&authkey=CPOghYEL

So cool!  That would never happen in the real world!

So caveat emptor, keep it honest, and game on!

Can't believe these goofy donation sigs really work.
PatrickHarnett
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June 24, 2011, 05:40:39 AM
 #26

Pyramid schemes are illegal in almost every jurisdiction I know - even between consenting people.  If idiots want to lose their coins there, you could just give them away.  They are a scam.
BitCoinBarter
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June 24, 2011, 06:32:59 AM
 #27

There's a fun new game where you can double your bitcoins:

http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=20087.0

The operator is very open about how it works:

  • New players pay off old players x2
  • The game ends after nobody plays for a week
  • The operator keeps the btc left in the pot at the end of the game

There's even a Google Spreadsheet showing all the contributions, fees and the payouts.  Kudos to Jordoss for running such an open and transparent game!

Since it's no secret that those at the bottom of the pyramid will lose their bitcoins, is it moral to play if you get in early?

Or is it immoral to participate in an activity that is guaranteed to enrich a relative few at the expense of the relative many?

Full disclosure -- my greed won out, and I bought in!  It's only been running for a day, so chances are people who join now will get a double!

And it's all in fun, right?


Classic Ponzi Scheme.  The older players (i.e., the early adopters) get paid by the new players.
This keeps going on until there are no new players.

The twist is that you know this coming in.  Kinda like playing musical chairs.  You know people are going to loose.
Everyone hopes to be in a chair (i.e., have BitCoins) when the music stops (i.e., people stop paying).

Is it moral to play? You have to decide that yourself.
Is it immoral to participate in an activity that is guaranteed to enrich a relative few at the expense of the relative many? Hmmm. Capitalism  Huh Wink

I'm not a lawyer (and I only know what you have wrote), however I assume this is not legal.  
Not because it's a Ponzi. I would say this is not a Ponzi because of full disclose.

I think it is not legal because it is gambling, and the government doesn't want unregulated gambling. The government says that [they] want to protect people from [being] so they will not get scammed. I think they just want their cut (but that is just me  Smiley).  

Do no evil,

Smiley 12KYva8D2GT3C1wSD8wvgkFkP5TnBp3LPC Smiley
BitCoinBarter
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June 24, 2011, 06:38:15 AM
 #28

Can't believe these goofy donation sigs really work


For me, it doesn't work  Cry

Do no evil,

Smiley 12KYva8D2GT3C1wSD8wvgkFkP5TnBp3LPC Smiley
xali
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June 24, 2011, 09:23:01 AM
 #29

LOL YOU CAN CHAT WHILE LOOKING AT THE DOCS HAHAHAH LOL

Smiley ;/)
contingencyplan
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June 24, 2011, 03:02:20 PM
 #30

Ugggghhhhhhhh.

Welp, I'll wade in, though I'm curious whether the posters in this thread are interested in actually having a true debate on this topic, as opposed to biding their time or answering just to toss in their BTC.02.

For me, ethics, morality, and free will are topics I'm personally very interested in discussing, so here's to a spirited debate!

In the spirit of debate, I will start with the absolutely most important question that no one in the thread has asked:

is it moral to play if you get in early?

Or is it immoral to participate in an activity that is guaranteed to enrich a relative few at the expense of the relative many?

What system [of axioms] of morality is the basis for making this assessment?

All answers to this point have been implicitly prefaced by "Well, I think that...." Because we are all approaching the question from different axioms, without answering this question, it is impossible to judge the validity of a particular answer --- no one knows where each other is coming from. The closest that I've seen is from the OP:

Maybe the ethics question depends on whether it's individual morality or public policy.
[...]
So caveat emptor, keep it honest, and game on!

Furthermore, I'd wager that most people haven't considered the question enough to know where they themselves are coming from, making the discussion even more pointless. This is evidenced by the fallback to the "illegal = immoral" inconsistency, or the flawed comparison that capitalism does the same thing, and capitalism is accepted, so therefore this should be accepted (though with more than a hint of sarcasm).

Judging by the analysis in the thread so far, there are very few, aside from the OP, who have considered their own moral beliefs, much less who are interested in discussing the actual morals of the situation.

Side note before answering the OP's question (sorry, this has been bugging me):

Is it morally right to play the game if you get in early, even when you know it's designed to eventually fail?

Doesn't it fall upon the person who claims that it is morally wrong to show that it is so?

I would strongly argue that the law of the excluded middle does not hold in this moral debate, subject to the moral axioms of the particular answer. In this case in particular, I view the OP as asking for a constructive answer to the moral permissibility / impermissibility of entering into this "game," though I will of course defer to his judgment.

As to my answer, my axiom would be the Golden Rule / Categorical Imperative.

Basis for action

  • "I am entering the game because I know my position and the rules of the game. I enter the game expecting to receive 2x my contribution." [I will abbreviate this as "the situation."]
  • Although it can be derived from the axioms stated, let us take as granted that I could not morally participate in the game if doing so would permit me to receive money from people that did not understand the situation upon entering.

Assumptions
  • All players contribute the same amount. This lets us consider the game as a binary tree.
  • Every player knows their position in the tree before entering. In other words, we are not considering concurrency issues.
  • All players currently in the game knew the situation before entering.

Application of the Golden Rule

So let us say that I enter the game. In order for me to receive my payout, I must have 2 children in the game tree. In order for me to morally participate, my 2 children must participate under the same conditions that I have. Easy enough.

However, in order for me to have 2 children in the first place, enough players must join to complete my level of the tree and to fill the next level until my children are reached. Under the conditions of my moral participation in the game, all of my siblings and nephews (and nieces) must have joined under the same conditions that I did --- otherwise, my payout would be predicated upon someone else immorally receiving money; alternately, those players would not have joined if they were not aware of their situation without violating my moral participation in the game.

We can unroll the recursion to my kids --- under the golden rule, if they must be able to morally join the game under these same conditions --- my kids' nieces, nephews, and siblings have all joined the game under the same understanding of their situation. Otherwise, my kids could not have morally joined the game, which would jeopardize my moral participation in the game in the first place. We can continue unrolling the recursion as long as the game is played. It must be noted that this situation holds even after I receive my payout.

Synopsis / tl; dr

Under the system described, you can certainly participate in the game morally, so long as everyone that joins after you participates morally as well (i.e., understands their situation). However, should any participant not understand their situation in respect to the game, then collecting any money from the game (even if you collected it before they joined) cannot be proven to be moral. In other words, if you wish to participate in the game morally, you take on the responsibility that all players after you join are participating under the same conditions (relative to their positions) that you joined under. While logically sound under the axiom of the golden rule, it is intractable from a practical perspective. Therefore, if you wish to behave morally under the system of the golden rule, you cannot reasonably participate in such a game, even if you know the rules beforehand.
PatrickHarnett
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June 28, 2011, 09:44:51 AM
 #31

Well argued.  Adding to the "moral" point, when you join early you have a reasonable expectation that there are other people who might join.  After a few rounds, the later adopters should not have the same expectation.

Here, if it is a binary tree it doesn't expand too quickly, but after the first few cash out (say 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 = 15 people) then you need another 16 for the next layer.  So while, in general terms, haf win and half lose, the game changes each round.  Also, the incentives change as those entering late try to get others to join - the argument might be different along the lines of "500 people have git double, if you and 1000 others join and get 2000 people to come in, then you can double too."
tool_462
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June 28, 2011, 10:24:20 AM
 #32

I see it like banging a hot chick in High School before she turned slutty.  If you get in first or very early it's safe and legit  Wink

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June 28, 2011, 11:44:49 AM
 #33

It depends on what you mean by "ok." It's more profitable to get in early, sure, but it's certainly immoral if you understand how pyramid schemes work. They're always designed to screw the people below you in the chain.
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June 28, 2011, 06:19:29 PM
 #34

in germany its prohibited to build a pyramid scheme. but you can join if you want...only the founder would have many problems.

i dont think its a good idea to do it either - its way to easy to cheat for the operator.
you cannot know if you are really in early - or if he just calculates the income and make his offer before.

^^ ok that can be proven through blockexplorer, but i still don't think it's a good idea.

just try btc poker or flip for bits instead. they are great...

(donations are welcome as i am poor: 13TXKpqoBedCbSooGvvJrD2D1M1xjf7Npq )
Moxed
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June 28, 2011, 06:34:49 PM
 #35

I dont know if it is a pyramid scheme or not but i tryed http://www.bithyip.com/?ref=moxed

they started like 3 days ago and they seem to be growing quick.

I should be able to withdraw my first earning this night, will post if it get paid !

Double your Bitcoin:    bithyip(.)com/?ref=moxed
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