UPDATE: the FBI is seeking potential victims of Bitconnect, so if you invested in Bitconnect, you can complete a brief questionnaire.
Disclosure: I didn’t invest anything in Bitconnect and thus didn’t lose any money, but I was scammed before and know exactly how it feels. All materials in this article are collected legally from public sources for “fair use” to warn people about scams and potentially to be used as evidence in the Federal lawsuits. I also own BTC, ETH, BCH, and other cryptos.
In this article we will look at all main Bitconnect promoters as well as critics, because community should know its heroes.
For those, who missed out the show: Bitconnect was a Ponzi scheme that started in 2016 presumably in South-East Asia and collapsed in January 2018. Around 1.5 million people across the world lost their money (sometimes life savings) after the collapse. Bitconnect was very shady from the start and it was constantly called out as a scam since June (8 months ago) or even earlier.
In August 2017 (6 months ago) community already knew that Bitconnect had an anonymous owner, a fake company address in UK, a fake picture of an office space in Indonesia, and its development director Yuris Praseta (Indonesian hypnotist) previously promoted Ponzi scheme scams (archive) such as OneCoin/OneLife, which threatened all critics with litigation.
And as we know from Bitfinex/Tether experience, threatening critics with litigation is never a good move, so almost all OneCoin execs have already been arrested and recently OneCoin’s office was raided by Bulgarian police.
Every month there were new investigations about Bitconnect with evidences in favor of a Ponzi scheme, and famous figures in crypto space called it out as a scam.
Coinmarketcap advertised Bitconnect
There were many ads of Bitconnect on CMC (coinmarketcap), so new crypto investors thought that it was a legit project. It’s fair to mention that CMC didn’t choose their ads, but they could easily stop promoting Bitconnect at any time by contacting support or blacklisting advertiser URL.
In 2017 Redditors created many posts and petitions to stop CMC promoting Bitconnect or even delist it as other similar platforms did:
- Should Coinmarketcap.com delist Bitconnect?
- Petition coinmarketcap and exchanges to delist BitConnect. They will hurt crypto in general.
- CoinMarketCap should remove Bitconnect and other scam coins just like CoinCodex.com
- Coinmarketcap needs to stop promoting likely scams and delist bitconnect off their site. For now use alternatives like coincodex.com and livecoinwatch.com
The problem with Bitconnect is that the data about their price comes from their own website they manage. That data can easily be manipulated since it’s not even a 3rd party. So you are trusting a ponzi scheme to provide accurate data about their own coins being traded. I get it, the stupid people should lose their money. But CMC is actively and knowingly promoting a scam and making money off of others who will lose money. (By romromyeah)
CMC didn’t block Bitconnect (BCC), nor other Ponzi scheme scams because that could lower their earnings and CMC continued advertising BCC even after the crash, so as a result community exploded with negative posts and proposed many other alternatives, some of which even have better features than CMC:
Most YouTube promoters of Bitconnect didn’t have any financial background, were new to investing or cryptocurrencies, didn’t teach their followers about importance of diversification or risk-management. However, they convinced many people to sign up under their affiliate links and earned millions from referrals by using misleading video titles, while most of them didn’t even get back their initial investments and earned everything just from referrals.
After Bitconnect crash many of them started promoting similar MLM lending platform DavorCoin that offers even more interests per day and looks even more scammy.
There were many Bitconnect promoters and most of them have already deleted those videos, so here is a list of the most influential promoters on YouTube (many subscribers, views and videos).
Craig Grant is a “godfather” of Bitconnect, was promoting it from April 2017, earned millions from affiliates and threatened Bitconnect critics after Doug Polk Crypto uploaded a video with faces of Trevon James and CryptoNick on the thumbnail.
Craig was alleged being involved in Nigerian catfish scam that lead to a man killing himself, which got a big media exposure. The whole story is very shady, and Craig admitted receiving 10% from all those scams but later said that he was lying.
Trevon James actively promoted Bitconnect, earned millions from affiliates. After the crash recommended people to hold BCC, because in 6 months price will be back where it was. He also disabled all comments, voting, and started promoting DavorCoin.
CryptoNick (17 year old) actively promoted Bitconnect for 7 months and earned ~$1 million from referrals. He deleted all his Bitconnect videos (YT) shortly after the crash, and didn’t apologize for promoting it.
Crypto Clover has not been sued yet.
Crypto Jay actively promoted Bitconnect since July, he was targeting more intelligent audience and even trolled Trevon James. Before promoting Bitconnect he once invested all his savings in some MLM which crashed a week later, so he promised to himself “to never do that to somebody”. Recently he also started promoting DavorCoin (archive).
Once he said literally “I personally believe that Bitconnect will be around for 12 to 18 months” basically admitting that it’s a scam that will crash.
Actually, wait… all top coins from his list are MLM Ponzi scheme scams with his referral links in the description, 3 of 4 crashed within two months and USI Tech might go South soon.
He is more intelligent than other promoters and chooses words carefully, so even after the Bitconnect crash, his new videos didn’t get so much dislikes and angry comments, and he made portfolio for 2018 less scammy than before.
After litigations on Bitconnect promoters started, he tried to withdraw himself from this situation telling that he won’t promote lending platforms anymore and disabled comments.
Some people find him even more dangerous than “dump promoters”, because he has better persuasion skills and convinced more financially literate victims.
Crypto Jay has not been sued yet, and he probably lives in South-East Asia (a tan skin in winter, sounds of roosters on the background and he was giving speeches in Indonesia and prefers Singapore timezone).
The Crypto Challenge has not been sued yet.
Right after the crash she also uploaded video admitting that she knew all allegations against Bitconnect and hoped that it won’t collapse so soon. A bit later she deleted this video, but it was reuploaded by another YouTuber and later deleted again (may be due to copyright claim from The Crypto Chick).
The Crypto Chick has not been sued yet.
Aaron St. Hilaire has not been sued yet.
There were many other less influential YouTube promoters of Bitconnect, so redditors created a list of crypto Ponzi schemes and people promoting them (the list of promoters was temporary removed, but companies are still there).
Bitconnect day-trades for you
Bitconnect didn’t bring any innovation or try to solve real-life problems like most other legit projects do. They raised huge capital with MLM and claimed that mysterious trading bot was using it to take advantage of crypto market price volatility.
The main argument against existence of a trading bot was that it should suffer from slippage when more people lend money to Bitconnect. There were ~1,5 million lenders, so if we assume $1,000 to be an average investing sum, then a bot should trade with ~$1,5 billion sum, which will cause an insane slippage at the level of liquidity that crypto market currently has.
Fair to mention, that if the person behind Bitconnect was manually trading, then he could use large sums and whales techniques on unregulated market in his favor. For example, he could manipulate the prices (Spoofy, Picasso) or exploit system vulnerabilities to trigger multiple flash crashes.
Bitfinex knows exactly who triggered two waves of multiple flash crashes, but they won’t collaborate on that, since many whales are its shareholders, so this will stay as a conspiracy theory unless there will be a data leak.
In the best scenario (if trading bot was real) people lent money to Bitconnect to profit from newbie crypto investors who buy high and sell low because of no experience.
If the man behind Bitconnect was trading manually, then these money were probably used to manipulate the market or even trigger flash crashes, because otherwise it’s hard to make such big gains with huge sums due to slippage.
In the worst scenario it was just a Ponzi scheme that will collapse and it did.
Former Bitconnect promoters turned into critics
Sunny Decree promoted Bitconnect till November 18 and earned at least $50K from 461 referrals (on 8/11/17), then changed his opinion after making a better research, deleted all referral links, recommended not to invest any money in Bitconnect and started to criticize it in further videos. However, he didn’t delete his account and continued to get referral money even after officially “quiting” Bitconnect. Some people think that he did SYA, but at least he made many videos exposing scams (mostly lending platforms) and thus saved many people from getting rekt.
The Bitcoin Party is very controversial, he did one of the first investigations about Bitconnect, and found out many similarities with OneCoin and called it a scam, but yet he continued to promote a Bitconnect with his referral links.
There were lots of YouTubers who criticized Bitconnect and called it a ponzi scheme, most of early critics got many dislikes. Let’s list the most influential of them in a chronological order.
August 15, 2017 — Is Bitconnect a Scam?
September 5, 2017 — Bitconnect scam alert! Is this 800 million dollar cryptocurrency a ponzi scheme?
October 8, 2017 — Is Bitconnect A SCAM?
November 26, 2017 — Bitconnect’s Craig Grant and Yuliana Involved in a Catfish SCAM?
November 2, 2017 — The Bitconnect Youtube Scam — Think Thursday
November 8, 2017 — Was I Wrong About Bitconnect? Youtube Scam Followup — Recap Wednesday
November 6, 2017 — Here’s why BitConnect is a scam
November 16, 2017 — Bitconnect Review Scam EXPOSED!
November 21, 2017 — Bitconnect Review — THE FALL OF BITCONNECT — All Top Earners Cashing Out
November 21, 2017 — The Collapse of Bitconnect & Tether is Coming
January 2, 2018 — THE TRUTH About BitConnect, CryptoNick, Trevon James, and Craig Grant
A big shout out to everybody else, who didn’t afraid to explain to people why Bitconnect was a scam. You literally saved so many people from getting rekt!
Bitconnect scapegoats and directors
People behind Bitconnect raised many scapegoats, so those who pulled the strings are still safe, while the crowd is lynching 17 year old guy and other folks. More than that, major players raised funds with a new BitconnectX ICO so they can fly even more jets.
Fortunately, some people understand that and hired private investigators and set bounty rewards trying to find high-level directors who might eventually lead to owners of Bitconnect.
Glenn Arcaro is listed as one of 13 Bitconnect directors, which he denies. Before Biconnect, he was heavily promoting Control-Finance MLM scam and when it crashed, he took no responsibility for referring there his audience.
Glenn cashed out from Bitconnect in October (3 months ago) and after the crash he deleted his instagram page, removed YouTube videos from his channel and now is trying to take down all YouTube videos that alleged him in being a Bitconnect director or shareholder. He files copyright claims and threatens to sue Badisse David Mehmet for defamation.
Badisse David Mehmet is one of the victims who lost $142,000 in Bitconnect and organized a class-action lawsuit against Bitconnect and its U.S.-based directors and promoters. Badisse has legal background and once sued Paypal for fraud and defamation.
If you also lost money in Bitconnect, you can get a free consultation here.
But in the end of the day, Glenn Arcaro, Satishkumar Kumbhani and Yuris Praseta are just high-level scapegoats, because real developers and those who pull the strings, didn’t attend annual ceremony, so they are still unidentified and according to all those similarities between OneCoin and Bitconnect, we can suppose that the same group of anonymous high-profile scammers might be behind both projects.
Most financially literate people who are savvy enough to do a proper research, didn’t invest anything in Bitconnect, but simple people did. Regular people who do regular jobs, who wanted a stem-cell therapy for a son with autism, who got released from a job to face retirement with $11K.
If you think that stupid people should lose their money, please watch this.
This kind of people got scammed and many of them lost all their life savings and any hope for a better future. Some of them even developed a Stockholm syndrome and turned into shills.
Those money could go to legit developers who bring innovations and solve real-life problems, but money went to scammers who just want to “fly jets”.
Those money could be diversified between different legit projects and bring good profits to their investors and thus increase an adoption, instead investors lost everything and it gave a very bad reputation to the whole crypto space.
We, as a whole community, failed to create a safe environment and protect all new comers from scams. We were too busy watching rising prices. We allowed individuals and companies to promote these scams without any consequences and to get rich by doing so. We didn’t teach newbies about risk-management and importance of diversification. We gave governments an opportunity to use customer losses as an excuse to regulate everything that we love so much like decentralization, anonymity and censorship-resistance.
We failed once, we failed twice, but we still have a chance to clean the shit up.
Community strikes back
Last December there was an attempt to track major players of Bitconnect and Tether, and to explain them in a non-violent way that they do wrong things, but the movement didn’t get enough volunteers, because of a bad timing:
- Bitconnect was still up and running
- Tether didn’t yet print new tokens as crazy
- The amount of Bitfinex’s flash crashes victims was smaller comparative to 1,5 million victims of a Bitconnect crash.
However, when Bitfinex threatened critics with litigations, the community united and all media exploded with even more criticism and DDoS attacks. That proved again that community is united despite all confrontations.
Fair to mention that even though Bitfinex took a big hit and fell down from world’s largest exchange to top 5, but they are still live and showed that their team is strong and ready to fight.
Bitfinex threatens victims with litigations. Community strikes back with DDoS and more criticism.
On November 29th there were multiple flash crashes on Bitfinex and thus people lost millions of dollars because their…
But now, after Bitconnect crash, there are 1.5 million angry victims with skills in every field of activity. This is a perfect time for community to truly unite, so all the scammers and people who support them can feel the full power of a decentralized justice.
Many people think that crypto market is a totally unregulated market. That’s not true. Crypto market is a self-regulated decentralized system.
Crypto Watchdogs is a movement that strives to expose and bring crypto-scams in front of justice. This site has tons of information and archives on all major players of Bitconnect and in February they claimed to find the real founder of Bitconnect.
If you do your own investigation, this site will help you so much. Seriously, I could save dozens of hours if I found it earlier.
If you are a victim and lost money, you can join the victims list on a LIVE spreadsheet, submit an evidence, support the movement with a donation or subscribe to their Twitter account and YouTube channel.
This time community sends a very strong message to all the scammers that it won’t tolerate them anymore. All thieves will be found and brought to justice.
Clean up your reputation
It is important to remember in any ponzi scheme, that many early adopters who promoted the scheme were often mislead themselves. This can mean that if they got you to sign up for a scheme they weren’t being malicious, just that they fell for the same scheme you did — even if they profited from it. (By AdamSC1)
Lynching all Bitconnect promoters would be not a great idea, especially those who are financially illiterate or too young, because many of them are victims as well.
All major players will face a trial soon, but there should definitely be some mechanism for less influential promoters to be removed from scam-lists and to clean up their reputation. There were different proposals, but most of them have the same steps:
- Admit that you were promoting a Ponzi scheme and apologize for that.
- Donate to victims all money earned from referrals, or give back to the community in any other meaningful way (e.g. via Pineapple Fund).
- Spend few months educating your audience about Ponzi schemes, risk-management, diversification, or expose scams (like Sunny Decree does).
This way you will show to the community that you are actually sorry and not just being afraid of litigations.
Disclaimer: this article is for educational purpose only and it’s not a financial advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.
If you’ve never heard of Bitfinex/Tether allegations, check out this article.
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And before buying any cryptocurrencies, you should read this article about common mistakes amateur investors make when entering a crypto market.
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I’ve lost money in flash crashes and during a bear market. I’ve learnt it the hard way, but I’ve learnt it. Here’s what…
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