Business 30 January 2018Vince Dioquino
Investors call ‘Crypto-Wonderland’ BitConnect a Ponzi scheme
Cryptocurrency exchange BitConnect is embroiled in a legal battle with a group of investors who accused the company of operating a “wide-reaching Ponzi scheme.”
According the class action lawsuit filed at the federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, BitConnect and its associated marketers promoted an idea which has “illogically promised” monthly returns of 40%, with a 1% compounding daily interest, disregarding market performance. The plaintiffs also claimed that “things at BitConnect weren’t what they seemed to be.”
However, the cease-and-desist letters that BitConnect received from the states of Texas and North Carolina only discontinued its lending platform, shutting down the alleged Ponzi scheme, leaving investors with unusable tokens as the coin crashed 90% of its average value, depreciating further as its own executives hastened its demise.
Claiming to have lost a total of $771,000 to BitConnect, the plaintiffs accused the company, its directors, as well as all its associates of violations of state and federal securities laws and deceptive trade practices, among other claims.
The investors compared BitConnect’s narrative to “Wonderland” a story based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. Convinced that its fictive elements present a danger to the investing public, the plaintiffs said their goal was “to prevent the wrongdoers from simply turning off the lights and dancing away singing: ‘Ciao, baby, gotta run!’”
Signing for the litigation was David Silver, a Florida-based lawyer who specializes in cryptocurrency-related cases. The case dossier does not list any lawyer for BitConnect or any other defendants.
With the two states prohibiting BitConnect’s sale of securities, falsely led investors in the crypto scene quickly reacted with major sell orders, effectively abandoning the coin. As of writing, BitConnect’s market cap has dwindled from $2.6 billion to a mere $57 million, according to CoinMarketCap.com
Without a whitepaper describing its business structure in detail, the people involved with BitConnect’s shady business are reportedly on the run. Despite all these, the infringements done by BitConnect and its associates are not enough to make it stop, according to reports. After its announced shutdown, BitConnect is still operation, with an offshoot called BitConnectX holding an ICO reserved for U.S.-based buyers.
Other coins that appeared to improve as a result of the shutdown surfaced almost instantly in the crypto market. Scheming new ways to obscurely advertise a Ponzi scheme, Davorcoin (DAV) and other altcoins continued the same strategy employed by BitConnect: pose as lending platforms in which users may lock their funds for a certain time, and thereafter receive daily returns for doing so. Such opportunist overtones are often seen in recent forking frenzies over crypto, and the continuation of what is exactly the same Ponzi schemes is alarming.
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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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