Ian Balina is back in the news again after his latest project, the Private Mastermind Group (formerly his Patreon group), was mercilessly mocked online due to its eye-watering fees. This comes just three days after The Block published a report on his somewhat shady practices in 2018, as he tried to recoup some of the funds lost after he lost $2.5 million in a hack.
Fall From Grace
Balina’s name is one that, in 2017, could have virtually guaranteed the success of your ICO. In 2019 however, having him attached to your project is a huge gamble, given the pounding his reputation has taken in the intervening years and the high fees he still charges for his “expertise”. After becoming a millionaire off the back of ICOs during the 2017 bull run, Balina’s reputation faltered as the crypto winter took hold, with many claiming that the fact he was unable to replicate his success in a bear market showed that he was simply trading off his name and that his advice was worth far less than he was charging.
With ICOs reining in their spending in 2018, Balina attempted to leverage his status through a new venture, a blockchain advisory firm named 100X Advisors. His proposals to clients show huge fees being charged, such as $250,000 for a social media video and $75,000 for a personal appearance, as well somewhat unethical practices – on one occasion, while trying to sign a deal with an exchange, he requested that all his chosen projects be added to the exchange’s platform, a request that would have violated the exchange’s terms and conditions. The exchange chose not to work with him, although this hasn’t stopped ‘exchange listings’ still being included as part of the offer on 100X Advisors’ website.
In August 2018, Balina secured a deal with the exchange KuCoin to be a Titan Ambassador. This role did not go down well on social media, where the extent of the battering his reputation had suffered was laid bare:
KuCoin Welcomes Mr. Ian Balina as Our First Global Titan Ambassador
— demibouh (@demibouh) August 16, 2018
Balina’s role is to recommend projects to the platform, although KuCoin insisted to The Block that they weren’t obligated to list these projects. So far, of all the projects Balina has recommended, “most of them have not been listed on KuCoin.”
Private Mastermind Group
After continuing to branch out into other revenue streams, including writing a book and selling merchandise, Balina launched his Private Mastermind Group with a YouTube video entitled “How We’re Going to the Moon Again”. When Balina revealed both the concept behind the group and the fees he was charging for access, crypto Twitter exploded:
What a fricken clown! @DiaryofaMadeMan Ian Balina lost the vast majority of his money so is opening a new Patreon group. A very exclusive group with only 50 spots available, only 1-2k dollars per month. Sign up now. Or rather don’t.
— Guava Airlines (@GuavaAirlines) February 8, 2019
Ian Balina’s new scam. Don’t be a fool. Don’t give this guy your hard earned money. You can find useful and trustworthy folk on Twitter for free who know an awful lot more about markets, trading and crypto. https://t.co/bLIrrK8X7r
— WickTheory (@WickTheory) February 11, 2019
How many of the fifty spots Balina can fill remains to be seen, but if people are still willing to pay the equivalent of $1,000-$2,000 per month for his advice after a year of little success then he is well within his rights to try and snag them. Most sensible people will be staying away however and will instead watch on with great interest to see what happens next in Ian Balina’s fascinating journey through crypto.