Bitsavings Promises 5% Interest on Bitcoin Deposits – Too Good to be True?

Jon Southurst
Feb 10, 2014 at 04:45 UTC
Updated Apr 24, 2014 at 16:58 UTC

A bitcoin deposit service called Bitsavings is offering returns of 5% a month to anyone bold enough to put their savings there.

Users should be advised though, that several such schemes have made promises in the bitcoin world before, and if it sounds too good to be true, it often is.

Despite the name, Bitsavings is not attempting to be a bitcoin bank and seems to be offering users worldwide a chance to buy into its trading scheme, which it says is “working fine thus far”.

The company, whose site went live 60 days ago, is based out of Panama according to a spokesman. Terms and conditions listed on the site state it is subject to the laws of Romania. The deposit address listed on the site, however, had recorded no activity and had a 0 BTC balance at the time of writing.

Update: The company says it changes deposit/withdrawal addresses very regularly “to ensure the safety of customers’ funds”, hence the zero balances.

Arbitrage and hedging

The spokesman went on to explain how Bitsavings made such returns possible, and indeed guaranteed.

“We are offering 5% interest by taking advantage of market volatility and ensuring that we are properly investing all BTC deposits in a way that always earns us a minimum of 5%/monthly (arbitrage techniques, large-scale automated trading to hedge against losses, among others)” he said.

Bitsavings’ operators claim the 5% return is guaranteed to users whether the trading system succeeds or not, saying the company itself will wear all risk.

“We also have pledged to back any losses with our own funds if needed (though we don’t envision that being necessary; with that being said though, you never know and we can’t be too careful).”

Skepticism

The company’s promises have met with skepticism from the community, with some questioning how a commodity with a slowing generation rate like bitcoin could promise 5% returns. Given past experiences with other bitcoin investment schemes promising tantalizing returns, and the mostly unregulated playing field, this is probably not surprising.

Bitsavings’ withdrawal request process is also slightly unorthodox: Anyone wishing to withdraw funds should, according to the site’s instructions, send 0.001 BTC multiplied by the amount they want to withdraw as a fee to automatically trigger the transfer. For example, a depositor with 100 BTC wishing to withdraw 60 BTC would send 0.06 BTC to the address supplied.

Bitcoin interest

A site called Bitdeposit.net sprang up with little fanfare around July last year, offering a 5.3% return after one year to anyone who sent bitcoins. It now appears to be offline, though, and the bitcoin address it published for users to deposit funds has seen few transactions, with no deposits since November 2013.

A Texas man named Trendon T. Shavers promised a more generous 7% per week to depositors through his Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) business last year, also via arbitrage activity. He raised 700,000 BTC (worth $64m at the time and over $490m today) before being arrested in July for fraud, accused of operating a Ponzi scheme.

Bitsavings’ operators say they have been around the bitcoin community for a few years now, starting with mining their own coins. The team have backgrounds in web development, programming, and venture capital.

Disclaimer: Coverage by CoinDesk does not constitute an endorsement for any company and should not be regarded as investment advice. Users should always do their own research, read the fine print and exercise due caution before sending bitcoins anywhere.

Trading image via Shutterstock.

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