LSM Labs: A Poorly-Veiled Scam

Journalist:
May 16, 2014
LSM Labs is such a terribly-executed scam that it doesn’t even try to appear legitimate.

Anyone who knows anything about cryptocurrency mining knows that the industry is full of scams. Some companies do a pretty good job of trying to appear legitimate (Butterfly Labs). However, it seems like others don’t even bother hiding the fact that they are complete frauds. Take LSM Labs for example.

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Buying Fake Reviews

[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap] was recently tipped off about LSM Labs trying to spread fake praise on Bitcointalk.org. The tipster wished to remain anonymous, and so I’ll refer to him/her as Ryan Collier, a randomly generated name. Back in March, Ryan saw this job posting on Coinality for a “Forum Assistant”. The job description states,

You will be required to register to Bitcoin Talk and other forums and start conversations on our products. We will advise you what you will need to say.  You will need to create 5 accounts for us on bitcoin talk to start with (this takes 7 days to be active). Then I will instruct you on what else needs to be completed.

Compensation (in BTC): 1-5

About the Employer: We are a bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer.

How to Apply: Email me at brianchee@safe-mail.net

A simple Google search for “Brian Chee” reveals that he is the founder and CTO at LSM Labs.

A quick bio of Brian Chee – the founder and CTO of “a leading cryptocurrency hardware manufacturer”

Brian Chee (bchee on Coinality) also posted another job with more details on the forum tasks.

“Our company…is looking for…posting advertisements and forum posting on a regular basis.”

Ryan decided to take the first job and shared some screenshots with me.

“We will need you to do the following tasks…”

Ryan soon completed the job and received his payment (and proceeded to backstab Brian by making all this information publicly available).

Fake Bitcointalk accounts
Payment received
“I will need you to start our forum campaign on Monday.”
“need you to create some buzz on the forums”

About a week later, Ryan received an email from one of Brian’s colleagues.

Will reveals some more details about Ryan’s employer

However, Ryan responded to the email about two days later, and never heard back from Will. It looks like someone else got the job in the meantime, because fake posts from those accounts are already on Bitcointalk.

Fake praise from “pakerybie”

Ryan stated he had nothing to lose at this point, and so he decided to reveal this information about LSM Labs.

Other Red Flags

Even without such hard evidence exposing LSM Labs’ shadiness, it’s fairly obvious that the company is a scam. Just look at their website.

LSM Labs’ Website

As seen on Forbes, Bloomberg, and others? I can’t find a single article about LSM Labs on any of those websites. Scroll down and you see the company’s address: 500 Water St. Wilmington, DE 19804. Well, type that address into Google Maps and you see that that address actually belongs to TotalTrax, a “provider of automated real time vehicle, driver and inventory tracking products for manufacturing and warehouse operations”. Doesn’t sound like LSM Labs to me.

Yeah…that’s not LSM.

Then there’s the Products page, where you just see 3D renders instead of actual photos of their hardware.

That’s no photograph…

Head over to the Team page and you’ll see that most of the team members don’t even have any pictures of themselves. Furthermore, Will Weenstra isn’t even officially listed, even though he claims to oversee operations at LSM Labs in his author profiles at Bitcoin Magazine, The Crypto Crimson, and CoinTelegraph where he has written several “articles.”

Editor’s Note: All of the  “articles” that Will Weenstra has contributed to various Bitcoin news sites are not-too-subtle advertisements for LSM Labs. The Bitcoin community has noticed.  He writes a few hundred words about something with a click-bait headline then proceeds to only include one link as a source: LSM Labs.  In fact, a month ago, Will Weenstra (and by extension, LSM Labs) had the audacity to submit such an advert to CryptoCoinsNews for publication, poorly disguised as an op-ed piece.  Needless to say, he was promptly fired and removed as a potential contributor.  Bitcoin media needs to be diligent in keeping thinly-veiled advertisements for scams away from trusted news sources.  Editors are important for that very reason… Or at least I think so.

That’s quite a team you’ve got there.
There you are, Will.

Finally, check out their Media page where you can listen to what sounds like Garry Drake interviewing himself.

All in all, it’s pretty obvious that LSM Labs is a hilariously poorly-executed scam, and my only feelings for Garry Drake, Brian Chee, Prakash Goya, and Will Weenstra are those of pure and utter disgust.

Last modified (UTC): July 7, 2014 14:31

Neil Sardesai @@neilsardesai

I enjoy keeping up with the latest stuff in science and technology and have been following Bitcoin for a few years now. I also occasionally post cool stuff on twitter.