Indian Bitcoin (BTC) entrepreneurs and notorious alleged scammers Amit Bhardwaj and his brother, Vivek Bharadwaj, were arrested on April 4, accused of scamming about 8,000 investors out of ₹2,000 crores (about $300 mln) Business Insider India reported today, April 6.
The brothers launched and ran a number of crypto-based ventures, including India’s first Bitcoin mining platform GBMiners. The move to arrest then was carried out by India’s central bank Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and the Cybercrime Cell of Pune Police, following the official complaint filed by a businessman Parvendra Singh.
In 2013, the two founded GainBitcoin, an investment scheme with a cloud-based platform for trading and mining Bitcoin. The platform allegedly turned out to be a Ponzi scheme that guaranteed 10 percent monthly returns within 18 months. MCAP, the token issued by GainBitcoin in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), is considered to be a fraud, as the company has artificially manipulated the price of the token many times higher than its actual market price.
The Bhardwaj’s Ponzi-like schemes have cause uproar on social media over the years.
According to information acquired by Factor Daily, one of many victims of the GainBitcoin Ponzi scheme is now being forced to take his funds in MCAP tokens instead of Bitcoin, as delineated in the company’s contract.
MCAP is trading at about $0.11 at press time, up a whopping 65 percent on the day. In June 2017, it was trading at almost $8, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
“If I had just invested in Bitcoins and not GainBitcoin, today I would have made several times the money. MCAP was forced onto us and was not the payout was supposed to be in Bitcoins according to the original contract,” said the victim.
In 2017, Amit Bhardwaj published several books about Blockchain and Cryptocurrency, such as ‘Cryptocurrency For Beginners’, ‘Cryptocurrency Trading’ and ‘Cryptocurrency Mining’, aiming to attract middle-class investors into cryptocurrency.
Other crypto-related ventures of Bhardwaj include e-commerce platform HighKart, GB21 crypto-mining platform, Amaze Mining & Blockchain Research firm, and CoinBank Wallet.
Earlier this week, RBI announced that it will stop providing services associated with cryptocurrencies, adding that it is seeking to launch its own cryptocurrency in future.