The Bitconnect scam lured investors by promising unrealistically high returns on their investment in its Initial Coin Offering. As of mid-December in 2017 when Bitcoin was setting a record high, the Bitconnect token (BCC) boasted a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion. Each token was valued at over $500 at the time.
The accused Rakesh Savani, was earlier arrested on Friday evening as reported
from Surat and has been remanded to police custody until July 25.
The alleged multi-crore scam came to light after Surat-based builder Shailesh Bhatt had last year alleged that some policemen from Amreli district kidnapped him and his business partner and extorted cryptocurrency
or bitcoins worth Rs 9 crore from them. Bitcoin is a form of digital currency which is not regulated or recognised by any of the Central banks. It is alleged that BitConnect, started in 2016, lured investors by promising to double their bitcoins in 100 days.
Outside of India
, a top Bitconnect promoter in Australia, John Bigatton, was also arrested and his assets frozen earlier this year. His arrest and the seizure of his assets was done at the recommendation of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The collapse of BitConnect has shone a light on the huge risks involved in investing in the largely unregulated world of cryptocurrency tokens. According to a series of legal cases filed in the US against BitConnect, investors were promised returns of up to 40 per cent by promoters and that people could “turn a $US1000 investment into a $US50 million return within three years”, according to a class action filed in Florida.
There are likely to be more arrests in the future as investigations by different law enforcement agencies around the world are still active. Just a couple of months ago, the FBI
invited victims of the Bitconnect scam to get in touch with a view of aiding its investigation.