At Last: Halong Mining is NOT a Scam

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A reaction to Cobra’s article, which started out as a Reddit comment, but ended up as a medium post, and later grown itself out an extensive investigation, including questioning the parties.

UPDATE 2.0

The title of the original article was “Is Halong mining a scam?” Since then I have been convinced it is not and I have also uncovered Cobra’s biggest mystery, some might say “deception,” even I fell for.

TLDR

There’s a plausible explanation to most of Cobra’s points. However, if they don’t deliver their miners in March (5 days left) then it is likely a scam.
Cobra however has two valid points, where plausible explanations are hard to find, unfortunately they are lost among some straw men. I’ll denote them with a bold font here.
UPDATE 2.0: It is April 1 already and Halong is delivering the miners. And Cobra’s two valid arguments have also turned out to be false alarms.

Point By Point

At the time of writing, the company has already missed their first deadline to ship out to their batch 1 customers.

This is factually incorrect. Their deadline is March. There is 5 days left.

I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the entities behind this elaborate scam have taken advantage of fears of BITMAIN’s monopoly of Bitcoin mining, and through clever manipulation of social media…

Good marketing is not sinful in itself.

The first thing that made me suspicious was the massive social media campaign…

Again, good marketing is not sinful in itself.

Preorders. No refund policy.

Meh, business as usual.

And worst of all, the company essentially… did not exist… anywhere. […] Nobody (even still) can name the CEO…

This is an important point, why did you hide it in the middle of the article /u/Cobra-Bitcoin? This can only fly in the Bitcoin world, but nowhere else. If you create a company and want to stay anonymous, then you’d better deliver on all your promises. This is why I think the March delivery deadline is the most important. If they don’t keep their promise, then it’s more likely a scam.
UPDATE 2.0: Miners are shipping, the hardware is not vaporware. Halong is delivering on their promises. There are more and more reports from never before compromised prominent people in the Bitcoin world that their miners arrived.

Another red flag was how they keep releasing new mining equipment for different algorithms

It is not. Innovation is hard to predict. Low hanging fruits must be taken.

On the topic of ending up in customer hands; there was a huge buzz about a particular customer who showed up on Reddit and Twitter claiming to have received his shipment from Halong, and he was happily retweeted by them. Though something seemed strange about this person as he had freshly created his account on Twitter and he was promptly retweeted by Halong.

On the one hand it’s a scam account, and Halong retweeted him twice. (UPDATE 2.0: It’s not a scam account, go to the end for further details.) On the other hand Cobra’s archive links don’t work. I personally don’t think Cobra going all-in BCH means he’s not as trustworthy as he always seemed to be. I have doubts, because he tried to remove the default Core recommendation from Bitcoin.org without the knowledge of other contributors, which was a sneaky move, I have just as much plausible explanation for as to this Halong scam account.

The rest of this article is about how people shouldn’t trust anybody on the internet and how he is not compromised and about this twitter scam guy, but since Cobra’s archives don’t work, which are referenced as proofs for everything he says from here on, I will take Cobra’s advice in this article and will dismiss the rest of this line of thought based on that:

But the majority of this article will be composed of facts that you can verify for yourself, so, don’t trust, verify.

UPDATE

Archives are working again, there’s nothing much to see, it’s just Cobra shows the twitter guy is probably real and that he lied about first time using Twitter. Also Cobra mentions ASICBOOST is a patented technology, like there wouldn’t be any difference between Bitmain’s patents and the Blockchain Defensive Patent Licence. In my opinion a patent that has a sole purpose to eliminate patents altogether is something interesting. The very least, it’s not insignificant to the discussion.

UPDATE 2.0

My discussion with Halong uncovered CalvinHE was a customer, whose shipment arrived early (I guess because of geography) who had some problems with his miners and contacted Halong’s customer support. He received a great support, so he thought he’ll capitalize on being an early customer and create a Twitter account to talk about his miners.

That’s plausible, I thought, but what about his lie of not using Twitter and having another identity that Cobra has shown? To make to make it more confusing Halong was also convinced not only CalvinHE15 is a real person, but also the other identity, oleg1589. I figured it out when oleg1589 responded to one of my tweet, and I seized the opportunity and questioned him extensively. Take a look at the whole thread:

That sounds plausible, so I took a look at Cobra’s archived link to oleg1589’s Reddit account, where he posted the photos and indeed Oleg never mentioned the miners are his. In fact he stated it is not his in that very same Reddit thread, but that was kind of vague, probably because of the language barrier:

- can you show pics of hashrate?

- i won’t not because i don’t have it

There goes Cobra’s argument and half of the speculation in his article: “This confirms the link between his Twitter and Reddit accounts.”

There was only one question left:

UPDATE 3.0

Read Cobra’s response here.

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