The founder of GainBitcoin, an alleged Bitcoin Ponzi scheme in India, Amit Bhardwaj, has reportedly offered to repay victims who lost money in the Ponzi scheme their initial investments in Indian rupees, according to a recent report by the Factor Daily.
However, it appears that the victims do not want the initial investments but the current value of their digital assets which includes the promised profits.
In the wake of this, one of the largest crypto exchange platforms in India, Zebpay, has also been invited in to assist with the further investigation on the situation.
Bhardwaj had been accused of scamming numerous investors by giving them unrealistic promises of large profits on Bitcoin investments.
From mid-2015, over Rs 1,000 crore has been invested in the GainBitcoin Ponzi scheme Based on the current value of Bitcoins (BTC) today, that amount is now in multiple folds. One of the victims of the Ponzi scam said that:
“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.”
Zebpay Called to Assist in Investigation
Zebpay is expected to help with the investigation since a large volume of the exchange transactions between GainBitcoin and the victims occurred through its platform. An inspector of the Pune Cyber Crime Cell, Jayram Paygude, stated that:
“Zebpay is the platform through which investment and sale of bitcoins were done in this case, which is why they were called for an inquiry.”
During previous investigations, it was reported that the Indian police made a crucial discovery about the alleged company carried out dubious operations over the years. With the intervention of a special investigation team, Bharadwaj was able to reveal how his company laundered money through China, Hong Kong, and Dubai without the knowledge of the Indian custom service.
A member of Indian Nationalist Congress Party, Hemant Takle, asked a question about the compensation that the GainBitcon’s victims are expected to get. He also pointed out the change in the price of bitcoin from the time of their initial investments and now.
In response to the clarification by Takle, a member of the 13th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and minister of state for home, Deepak Kesarkar, stated that:
“Some of this amount is recovered by the police department through the e-wallets of these companies. The value of these digital currencies in the wallet will be recovered, but it is difficult to recover the investment made in foreign companies.”
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been known to keep warning holders, users and traders of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) about the potential financial risks that are attached to using digital currencies.
This cautions, have been repeated multiple times by the central bank since 2013 and has now become part of the standard reference from RBI in response to all queries regarding virtual currency dealings.