$1B exit scam? Spanish BTC trading firm reportedly freezes user funds

A Spanish company developing digital currency trading bots has sparked fears of an exit scam after freezing users’ accounts. Known as Arbicorp, the company shut down one of its most popular tools, rendering users unable to access their funds.

Arbicorp published a statement that revealed it had frozen all user funds, preventing over 2,000 users from making any deposits or withdrawals. The company, which owns digital currency trading bot developer Arbistar, claimed that the shutdown was necessitated by a glitch in the system that has been overstating the profits generated.

Arbicorp claimed that it has been overpaying its investors up to 28% more as a result of the glitch for 46 weeks now. This has led to critical financial issues at the firm which led to the shutdown of the Community Bot, their most popular product.

Despite the sudden shutdown and the account freezing, Arbistar maintains that it intends to pay back all its investors. In a YouTube video uploaded just hours after the announcement, Arbistar CEO Santi Fuentes assured investors that they would not lose their money.

Other than the technical glitch which led to a profit overstatement, the Community Bot has had other issues as well, he revealed. They include its lack of profitability as initially predicted and the regulatory ambiguity.

“Starting from this Thursday (September 16), we will start paying all the clients,” he stated. “There will be a payment plan which will be done daily, approximately 2,000 clients every month will be receiving their money, distributed daily. As a minimum, they will get back the money they invested.”

Arbicorp will focus on other products that have been doing better than the bot, Fuentes claimed. They include ArbiXchange, a trading platform and Arbistar Club. The latter is reportedly less than a month old but has already received 5,000 BTC (worth $55 million) from investors.

However, despite the explanations, investors and the digital currency community as a whole fear that the Spanish firm has pulled off an exit scam.

Tulip Research, a blockchain forensics and analysis company, believes that Arbistar was a Ponzi scheme. The company claimed to have analyzed BTC addresses used by Arbistar to check the amount of funds in BTC that it received. Tulip described Arbistar as a $1 billion Ponzi scheme.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.