@Rpeerduck is quickly becoming a must-follow Twitter account for P2P investors
We usually interview the senior management of P2P investment sites. Today we are doing something a little different. Roasted Peerduck is an anonymous Twitter account that was launched only in November 2019. However their combination of very strong views, humour, correct predictions and clear insider knowledge of the Baltic scene has quickly made them a must-follow account for anyone investing in Eastern Europe / Baltic P2P sites.
Roasted Peerduck has been helping us with some of our Kuetzal investigations behind the scenes. Due to the dramatic events that have followed, the duck has been getting inundated with messages from concerned investors in Kuetzal as well as other sites. We therefore thought that it would make sense to cover and publish answers to the topics that are frequently coming up in these messages.
The views and comments expressed below are solely those of @Rpeerduck and do not necessarily represent the views of Explore P2P.
Peerduck, you’ve come out of nowhere to become one of the most followed and active P2P accounts almost immediately. Why did you decide to become active on twitter and elsewhere?
Hi! This is pure coincidence – I expected to run an anonymous account about the industry as a whole from the skeptical position just for fun (as a response to numerous irrationally optimistic accounts) . It appeared I made a move in right place in a right time. And the thematic shifted to biting the shady business practices of several p2p platforms, as I realized how immature the investor community is and, hence, gullible and vulnerable.
What’s been the impact on you since you ‘blew up’ on social media? People seem to have been trying to track you down…?
Yeah, offline I have heard people asking who the hell am I. The P2P community for some reason think of me being somehow related to platforms, or I am a hammer-tool in a dirty competition war. For God sake – I am not; I will fuck up any platform [where] I will find doing wrong or inexplicable stuff regardless name. And actually my disclosure will not lead to any consciences, I am “outlander” and most of my “targets” never heard of me.
You are an anonymous account but clearly have deep insights into the Baltic P2P scene and some insider knowledge. What can you tell us about yourself and background?
I have a financial background, worked all my life in banks and funds of different sort around the region. P2P in Baltics currently plays on the same field with traditional lending, so, some of the projects, taking in consideration small scale of the region I have seen myself and made some due diligences. My P2P knowledge is smaller than my scammer detecting knowledge – back in the day I used to receive scam offers twice a week, some of them perfectly setup. I do have an extended AML knowledge as well.
You were one of the earliest voices pointing to Kuetzal being a scam - what was it that made this clear to you?
It was clear for everybody in Riga from the beginning and, in fact, was the subject of professional jokes. Nobody expected that they will collect a dime. Then, I went away from region for some months, and on return, realized that they have gathered some funds. I was always aware of them being a sandbox with bunch of kids doomed to fail. I underestimated, though, the carelessness of investors. It is my personal revelation and one of the reasons I decided to start a twitter account.
You’ve been getting bombarded with questions about other Baltic sites. What do you want to say about them?
I want all to remember – I am not a newborn prophet, I can only point out some non-ethical or potentially harmful moves. For now I know that Kuetzal is a scam, Envestio did some dirty tricks which in total are heavy and enough to start investigation on them by both police and bloggers, that Monethera is very suspicious and their recent Hong Kong [guarantor announcement] is an evidence of dirty game and a direct lie. There is nothing else I can add, all other platforms have different amount of dubious projects, some of them eventually will make it through, or will be not profitable enough. For now – I don’t see any other platforms acting like a Ponzi. Except Fast Invest, but everybody knows about it I guess. Most platforms are real and hard-working. And yet, a lot of them will go out of a business, but in a bloodless way like ThinCats in UK.
We have some key things we look at when assessing P2P sites that ask us to cover them. What do you think investors should assess before wiring their funds out?
Check the legitimacy of a platform. Transparent management with professional background (I mean real one, not just a linkedin profile with good picture), money origin, how they are going to cover their expenses before the service fee will help them reach break-even. (That one is crucial – the ones going down now, and the ones who will eventually [fail] in future were never intended to be a scam. They fail for a simple reason of supporting business continuity with investor’s money. Still it is a crime. DD procedures, who made them, how it was done, do they have a formal report with DD conclusions. According to my knowledge, there is a weak spot here – even Mintos fucked up with the Aforti, who was long troublesome. Hope they made a lesson and have fixed something in their pipeline DD. Second step – check the project. In case of robust DD it could be redundant as you don’t have information available to platform due to GDPR reasons; you still bear professional knowledge that could be more viable to correctly valuate projects. If you have bad feeling about it – don’t invest. That simple.
Demand all lending docs to be downloadable, collateral info traceable in registry (it is 2020 guys even in Eastern Europe). Always ask yourself – why did a bank not grant a loan with one-digit %? If the answer is – the collateral or asset is difficult to assess, the company is unfit for bank lending for an understandable reason, the timing is crucial – this could be a real deal project. If you see a real estate project, loved by any bank in the world, looking for funding for 20% – that means that they were rejected in banks, pawn RE companies, moderate interest rate platforms. Are you sure you are smarter than those fellas? There is no place in the Globe right now, where 20% on real estate is considered to be profitable. Even in Dubai. (Maybe some African country though) It is in brief. The question is too general to be fully answered. And remember – don’t invest money you cannot afford to lose. Neither in P2P, neither in stock market.
There’s many sites you have warned people about but you’ve also been positive about some as well - like Estateguru, Mintos, Profitus and Iuvo. We agree with you. What is it that makes these sites better options in your view?
Actually, they are all far from perfect; some of them do stupid moves. Like IUVO constantly calling to investors – common, that’s lame, we are not in 1996 offering a grandma savings account my wired line phone. Mintos is totally wrong intervening into secondary market – I hope you guys buy “Stock market for dummies” book at once. Profitus and Iuvo both have licenses, so there is a real chance that local authorities are monitoring them and directors will go to prison in case of misdealing, or at least they have a dedicated investor account with limited options (soon you will realize that Kuetzal had one account for all stuff). Still, Estateguru. and Mintos, and to some extent Profitus and Iuvo, are [making] enough money to cover their operational costs, or have a proven (!) external source of money. So, the “out of need” crime won’t happen here.
Kuetzal was forced to close down today. What do you think will happen now? Do you think much money can be recovered for investors?
Nobody closes business on a Sunday. The simplest explanation – kids finally managed to scroll down chats where you started to look for borrowers and decide to react in traditional clumsy way. A time-buying letter – I have seen dozen times the same story with financial scammers. There are no names under it, as it would be in real-life situation of operation shutoff; there is no representative appointed etc. It just some text saying – keep calm and wait. The style the letter is written in actually differs from what I have seen before. Maybe it is already a hired lawyer job in progress, to build-up a defense lines.
I don’t want to speculate about amounts [of recovery] as I have no info how many of the projects were in fact real (1) and will turn profitable (2). My guess: 2 or 3 at best. So you will be able to return some of your investments minus the appointee fee who will deal with it. Don’t expect to receive interest though. Regarding money that were stolen – you will receive nothing. It is all gone and wasted, apart [from] some miserable residual amounts on both bank accounts.
Kuetzal is a closed case. People won’t be fooled so easy next time, I hope. Soon you realize most of the projects were either scams, either goofy business ideas of Alberts retinue. The money was spent on luxurious life, brand new BMW X6 and so on. Of course, he is a kid who would never come out with the ideas how to launder the stolen money and conduct complex money flee schemes. All in all somebody advised him to use a dummy rather than go himself as a director from the begging (and provided one). However, the total inability to do a comprehensive exit-move (the crucial part in every scam) indicates that the professional help could be limited by helping to cover stolen, rather than full scam setup (for a considerable % of course). For me it looks too ignominiously unprofessional and, probably, the financial crime community is having fun of them together with mainstream financial. I bet the money is either gone into eastern European countries with junk companies either spent. So it is highly possible, that the only real beneficiaries from the scam were “laundering service providers”, charging a goofy boy for their services and now totally careless what will happen next with spoilt kid. At least he had a chance to drive a fancy new car for a year, you know. Will he go to prison? It depends. I was totally sure he would flee to Russia or else until I didn’t spot him in Riga wondering around. But the shit will hit the fan, definitely.
Update 16 January
Unfortunately the Roasted Peerduck Twitter account has been closed down. The Duck reported receiving certain threats to him/her and their family, and decided to close the account.