Cloud mining sites have a bad reputation, somewhat deservedly as many have been nothing more than Ponzi schemes.
However despite knowing that, to satisfy my curiosity, I made a list of a few to try. After dropping a those that wanted way too much personal information, eliminating ones with a ridiculously high withdrawal limits, and some that refused to let you withdraw promotional earnings i was left with a very short list.
One of the remaining sites shut down with no notice within a week. Another revealed, at the end of the promotional month, that earnings could only be withdrawn after making a purchase.
That left Bentalefin.com. It offered 15GH/s and let you withdraw once the value of your BTC was above 0.5 USD and you could reinvest your modest earnings to buy more hash power.
I dutifully logged in at least every three days - to keep the account live and the mining running, and after a few weeks reached the withdraw limit. I claimed a few thousand BTC sats, and after a few hours they appeared in my wallet.
It seemed I had found an honest cloud mining operation. So i carried on, this time reinvesting each time I accumulated enough BTC, and eventually writing a positive review, earning some ETH hash power for the review.
Roll on a month or two and all of a sudden the ETH hash power disappeared, along with the unbanked ETH earnings - a notice next to the ETH dashboard area now said promotional hash power only runs for a month. Fair enough if you are told in advance but it felt unfair to apply that retrospectively and claw back earnings.
Still i continued, I bought a bit more BTC power with earnings and let my balance grow.
Cutting to the chase, things have changed again over the last month or two and not for the better. Reinvestment has been made harder, the minimum hash purchase is now 20 GH/s. Now that hasrate only costs 5 USD, but combined with the one month limit on promotional hash rate makes it impossible to build up hash rate from nothing - and prevents those with small hash rates from boosting power as often.
I can see that makes sense for their business, it means that trial users now need to pay to play after gaining familiarity, and if they do pay they still get the small sum of BTC that they earned form the 1 month trial.
However, all withdraw requests for small sums are now met with a note saying, "You don't have VIP service!"
hey say VIP service is free... well if you have bought 500 USD worth of hash power.
The Bentalefin.com FAQ says:
What are the conditions of withdrawal?If the wallet is new for withdrawal, it is possible to place no more than $1, otherwise this limitation is not present. A new account is an account that has been added to the system in less than 30 days or there have not yet been any withdrawal transactions for this wallet.
There is no mention of needing VIP service to get your money.
With no way to withdraw small sums, and no transparency from the site about the $500 barrier to being able to withdraw, at least for small players, Bentalefin.com is, unfortunately, no longer a site to recommend that people experiment with.
It is also now certainly not a site i'd risk $500 USD on to find out if i can withdraw earnings. So unless you want to send over the $500 for hash power, the jury will have to remain out on whether this is now a scam.