OK, OK, Let’s talk about that “ID Coin” Teaser Pitch

What's being pitched in those never-ending ID Coin ads from Stansberry Innovations Report?

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, April 14, 2021


I’ve been getting questions about the “ID Coin” teaser out of Stansberry for several years now, and I did briefly comment on it way back in 2018 when I was buying a stock that I think they were also teasing using this “ID Coin” spiel… but I didn’t get very detailed or write a full teaser solution article about it, mostly because there wasn’t a 100% certain answer, and the questions continue to pile up, fueled by the insatiable greed stirred up by those promos.

And, of course, the wild enthusiasm for all things cryptocurrency-related has caused Stansberry to double down on this promo in recent months, and readers continue to get ever more excited about it.

So… what’s the story?

Well, it’s somewhat of a bait and switch… the implication of the teaser ad is that there’s one “ID Coin,” which you might interpret as being some actual cryptocurrency or blockchain project, and you can buy it to own a piece of this future of better identity management and secure ID cards and a glorious Estonia-like digital life for Americans.

But the “ID Coin” in the pitch, really, is more of a metaphor. It represents the idea that there will be a new identity system for the US, probably based some how on blockchain technology, and that it will replace social security cards and do away with identity theft and modernize data privacy and data access for all of us… as has been done, to some degree, in lots of other countries.

After all, it’s not easy to have a worse system to underly your national ID system than a nine-digit number, assigned at birth and printed on a paper card.

I remember sending my Social Security card through the washing machine when I was a teenager, and I thought my life was over… little did I know, by the time I became an adult there would be thousands of people selling my social security number to anyone who might want it. I could have bought 1,000 new ones for $50 if I had been patient and waited for the internet to be commercialized, and to be quickly followed by the invention of cybercrime.

But anyway, this pitch, though very similar to one I mused a little bit about three years ago, continues to raise questions… so let’s skim through and pull out a few highlights to think about, shall we? This is now an entry-level pitch, befitting its age and mass appeal, and it’s being used to sell John Engel’s Stansberry Innovations Report ($49 first year, renews at $199).

This is from the order form:

“This technology could be 100x bigger than any crypto… token… or similar technology to date .

“That’s why, in the coming months, I predict the news will be full of stories of traders, businesses, funds, and mom and pop investors desperately trying to get a stake in ID Coin technology.

“By then, you could already have had the chance to see hundreds of percent gains on the ID Coin investments we’re sharing with you today – just like with Bitcoin’s astronomical rise from pennies to over $18,000.”

And, of course, the temptation…

“You can invest in ID Coin technology right now – through any ordinary brokerage account….

“The key thing is: You have to get in now.

“Frankly, it’s the next best thing to time traveling back to 2010 and buying Bitcoin for a nickel.”

So what are they talking about? Again, we get a little conceptual in this extended metaphor…

“You see, using ID Coin technology is not the same thing as actually owning a stake in it.

“Just like being an early user of Amazon or Google wouldn’t have paid you a dime.

“But if you understood what was coming… Google shares could have made you more than 30 times your money.

“And Amazon… a staggering 1,600x return – enough to turn every $5,000 into more than $8 million.

“That’s why, once you understand ID Coin’s potential, you’ll realize you still haven’t missed the most important breakthrough in the crypto technology space.”

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OK, so that’s more of a generic “invest in cryptocurrency leaders” notion. What else? Is this a pitch for bitcoin itself?

Not so much…

“The reality is: Governments hate Bitcoin and have tried everything to keep it from going mainstream. It could take away their control of the monetary system.

“But with ID Coin technology – it’s just the opposite. This technology will save them trillions of dollars… and end the threat of cyberattacks from enemies like China… Iran… and North Korea.

“After all, this technology could end hacking and provide a secure identity to every person on Earth in the next 10 years.”

So why haven’t we heard about this mythical “ID Coin?” There’s always an answer to those logical “roadblock” questions, that’s copywriting 101:

“Of course, with national security on the line… the U.S. government is saying as little as possible about ID Coin for now.

“Which is why you’ll rarely see any mention of ID Coin in the mainstream press.”

And the promise of a rapid change is just about the same as the promises they made in the first version of this pitch, three years ago:

“Now, ID Coin is just starting to get more attention.

“But the biggest breakthrough will come when the U.S. government officially adopts ID Coin technology and rolls it out to every American citizen as a new and better form of the Social Security number.

“The process is already underway. Although most people haven’t noticed yet.

“In September 2020, Congress moved forward with a bipartisan bill aimed at ‘improving digital identity.'”

Wait, something real is happening now? What do they mean?

“It gives the Treasury Secretary, Homeland Security Secretary, and the Commissioner of Social Security less than a year to come up with a plan to fix our identity theft crisis and quite possibly get rid of Social Security Numbers altogether.

“In short: To begin rolling out ID Coin to every American.

“It got lost in all the chaos of the pandemic and the election, but make no mistake:

“Congress is telling us exactly what it plans to do.”

Really… “lost in the chaos,” you say? I guess that’s one way to describe a bill that had just four sponsors and didn’t go anywhere… and wasn’t much more than a toe in the water, anyway. Here’s some more from the pitch:

“… the Treasury Department’s website has called ID Coin ‘one of the most disruptive innovations since the advent of the internet.’

“But the most important catalyst could be House Bill 8215, which I mentioned earlier.

“Feel free to jot that number down and keep a close eye on what the new Congress does.”

That number no longer means anything, of course, numbers reset with a new Congress and that was from the waning days of the 116th Congress. We’re moving on in the 117th Congress, and this specific bill has not yet been introduced again — maybe it will be, but not yet. The original sponsor was Bill Foster, from Illinois, and he was reelected but has not filed a new bill on this matter. He did sponsor H.R. 2211, to direct the Fed to study central bank digital currencies, but there hasn’t been much that’s ID-related or cryptocurrency-related yet in the new Congress — and most ID or blockchain mentions in bills so far seem to relate to the latest fights over voting that typically follow close elections — requiring IDs, vote security, voting technology, federal oversight of state elections, etc.

There’s some more chatter from the pitch that makes it seem like a solution to our identity theft and cybersecurity problems is just around the corner, awaiting a stroke of some government pen…

“As Bob Stasio, former chief of operations at the National Security Agency’s Cyber Operations Center told Bloomberg:

“Your digital DNA fingerprint will be “mathematically impossible” to duplicate.

“Even the U.S. military’s ultra-secret research arm DARPA (inventor of the Internet) is planning to use this same technology to secure our nuclear arsenal.”

That quote comes from a 2017 article in Bloomberg, which is worth a read, and is really mostly about