The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking victims of a failed crypto Ponzi scheme to come forward. Due to the nature of cryptocurrency, the FBI says it is difficult to know investors’ true identities.
Anyone who invested in Bitconnect Coin (BCC) which was released through an initial coin offering by Bitconnect in 2016, is being asked to fill out a questionnaire.
The FBI say all responses are voluntary but that they would be “useful in the federal assessment of this matter”. The questionnaire will identify each person who fell victim to the scam and based on the responses provided, they could be contacted and asked for additional information.
Authorities say Bitconnect “guaranteed investors up to a 10 percent total return per month on their investment, following a tiered investment system based on the sum of an investor’s initial deposit”.
For a majority of Bitconnect Coin’s existence, the only place to buy, trade, or sell the coin was via the exchange hosted and owned by Bitconnect. By mid-December 2017, BCC boasted a market cap of over $2.5 billion.
Victims’ Losses Between $2.5 and $3.5 Billion
The FBI says BCC crashed after two US state-level securities regulators issued public letters warning investors of its Ponzi-type nature. Bitconnect then shut down its exchange for BCC, eliminating the market for cryptocurrency and stranding investors with near-worthless currency.
The amount lost among victims from across the globe is estimated at between $2.5 and $3.5 billion. The FBI says the first potential victim that has reached out to them is from Ohio. Bitconnect is almost as well known for “Bitconnect Carlos”, a nickname given to Carlos Matos, a Bitconnect investor. During the company’s first annual ceremony in Thailand, he took to the stage, enthusiastically giving life to his most notable line, the elongated phrasing of “Bitconnect”. Millions of people have had a giggle at the remixed videos (one notably had 4.3 million views) and memes that have swarmed the internet. However, it’s highly unlikely that any initial investors will ever laugh when they hear the word “Bitconnect”.
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