Mastermind Behind Bitcoin Ponzi in India Offers to Compensate Victims
The arrested Ponzi scheme kingpin behind India’s biggest cryptocurrency scam, Amit Bhardwaj, has now offered to pay back thousands of investors their initial investments in Indian rupees.
Zebpay, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in India, was asked to help investigate the matter. However, the initial responses from investors seem to suggest that they will oppose this move, demanding their shares in the current market value of their original bitcoins.
“We want the returns in (today’s) cryptocurrency value and not the value of the cryptocurrency when we invested. Today, the Bitcoin 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,” said a victim, who asked to stay anonymous in this story because investigations are not complete.
GainBitcoin began as a multi-level marketing scheme and amassed over 100,000 investors, all of whom were promised monthly returns of 10% on their investment.
Cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay was called in to help with the investigation as a large volume of the transactions between the victims and Bhardwaj took place via its platform. “
Bhardwaj was arrested in April this year by the Pune police cybercrime division from Delhi after he was alleged of duping thousands of investors lured in by the promise of quick riches mining cryptocurrencies. He is also alleged to have purchased multiple properties in Dubai including an office space at the Burj Khalifa tower – the world’s tallest building – according to an ongoing investigation into the sweeping scam.
Two bitcoin wallets controlled by Bhardwaj were discovered by the authorities, which previously contained a total of 5,372 bitcoins, almost $40 million in current prices. At the time of discovery, the wallets contained a total balance of 3.31 bitcoins.
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