Business 19 July 2018

Dennis Wafula

Alleged GainBitcoin scam kingpin offers to repay investors in Indian rupees

Amit Bhardwaj, the alleged mastermind behind the GainBitcoin scheme, has offered to pay back investors their initial investments—in Indian rupees, Factor Daily reported.

Authorities in India said Bhardwaj duped thousands of Indian investors from 2015 to 2017 by promising them quick riches from cryptocurrency mining. According to investigations, he used GainBitcoin, GBminers, and GB21 as investment platforms to lure investors.Records showed that Bhardwaj’s scheme collected $300 million.

His victims, however, were not happy with the offer. In an interview with Factor Daily, one of the investors said they wanted their investments returned based in the current cryptocurrency value, “not the value of the cryptocurrency when we invested.”

“Today, the [BTC] price is much higher than what it was when we invested. It is like Bhardwaj will keep the profits and just return the principal amount which is wrong,” the investor, who requested to remain unnamed, told the news outlet.

Police are still doing their investigations on the matter. Jayram Paygude, of the Pune Cyber Crime Cell, said they called crypto exchange Zebpay “for an enquiry” in connection with the investigation, following reports that Bhardwaj and his team used the platform to facilitate BTC transactions during his operations.

GainBitcoin’s activities began to come to light in May, following a police raid on an Ethereum mining installation. The installation reportedly took an estimated $15 million from investors and led to a second raid in Dehradun, near Delhi, where 100 mining computers and 500 graphics cards and servers were seized.

Bharadwaj was picked up following a complaint lodged in Pune in May 2018, and has been subjected to interrogation by five different states in the country. However, only the latest investigative team out of Pune has been able to make any headway, gathering information from Bharadwaj and seven other accused who allegedly worked as GainBitcoin agents.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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