Indian authorities have finally arrested the leader of BitConnect and architect of the largest scandals in cryptocurrency history. In 2017, BitConnect had a record-breaking Initial Coin Offering and promised massive returns to anyone who invested in the cryptocurrency platform. Since then, international authorities have accused BitConnect’s mastermind, Divyesh Darji, of swindling billions from investors in a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme.
BitConnect Scam: How They Stole Billions in Bitcoin
Scandals like this one are a big reason why the world has a tough time trusting cryptocurrency. Though it’s unclear exactly how much BitConnect stole from investors estimates range into the billions. This puts this crime in the biggest cryptocurrency hacks. From the company’s inception in 2017, they promised investors 40% returns.
Their ICO in early 2018 landed them $11.7 million alone. But BitConnect mastermind Divyesh Darji swindled the most money from later investors whom he attracted through Youtube and other digital ads.
Then, BitConnect experienced the same fate as all Ponzi Schemes, crypto-based or otherwise. Once skepticism regarding BitConnect’s insane return rates grew, investors started pulling out. BCC, which was trading at a high of over $500, plummeted to virtually nothing by the middle of January.
And customers could no longer withdraw their money. BitConnect claimed that they were under cyber attack.
The Months Long Search for BitConnect’s Founders
In response to their ICO, BitConnect received several cease and desist orders from Texas and North Carolina. After rumors of it being a Ponzi scheme grew, BitConnect shut down their crypto exchange, taking billions in bitcoin with them.
Since then, authorities have attempted to apprehend BitConnect’s leaders at their reported London office. In reality, the said office didn’t exist. BitConnect’s founders, Divyesh Darji was working out of Dubai, but had swindled millions from Indian investors.
Today, Indian authorities apprehended Darji at the Delhi airport as he disembarked a flight from Dubai.
But the controversy surrounding BitConnect is far from over. There is speculation that prominent members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s entourage were linked to BitConnect. Even Nalin Kotadiya, a member of Modi’s lawmaking team, is linked to the scandal.
This could be bad news for Modi, who will run for reelection in 2019. Modi has also worked hard to cultivate an administration that the public perceives as ‘good for business’, especially tech.
What the BitConnect Scam Means For Crypto
The legacy of the BitConnect scam will be longlasting. Divyesh Darji’s arrest is a big step towards justice, however, the other two founders remain at large and investors are missing billions of dollars. The damage that BitConnect has caused on public opinion of cryptocurrencies is not to be underestimated, either.
This is one of many recent scams. Recently, alleged former traders broke into and vandalized a crypto exchange that, supposedly, took user funds.
Conversely, this crypto scam shows that cryptocurrency is not so different from industries we know. Just because something is new and digital doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be wary of ridiculous return rates. A 40% return is almost always too good to be true.