Amit Bhardwaj, founder of the new inoperative bitcoin mining forum GBminers and the brains behind the Bitcoin Ponzi GainBitcoin scheme – India’s biggest cryptocurrency scam – has offered to provide compensation to thousands of his victims. The scheme has managed to bring in about 1000 crores in alt-coins (approx. $150 million). Nown under arrest, Bharadwaj has allegedly offered to repay his investors their initial investment amounts in Indian Rupees.
GainBitcoin started operations in 2015 as a multi-religious marketing scheme and soon managed to bring in over 100,000 investors, who were assured 10% monthly returns on their investments. When finally under the eye of the authorities, Bhardwaj shifted his base to Dubai while continuing his operations in India. According to ongoing investigations, he has allegedly procured several properties in Dubai, including an office space at the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world. Bharadwaj has also allegedly registered multiple companies overseas, in countries like Estonia, British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, and even the United States.
Two Bitcoin wallets linked to the kingpin have also been discovered by authorities. The wallets previously held a total of 5372 BTC, which stands at approximately $40 million at the current rates. However, at the time of discovery, the total balance stood a mere 3.31 BTC.
Major crypto-exchange Zebpay has also come under investigation by authorities, owing to a reported “large volume of transactions between the victims and Bhardwaj” that were made through the platform.
“Zebpay is the platform through which investment and sale of bitcoins were done in this case, which is why they were called for an enquiry,” Inspector Jayram Paygude, a police official from the Pune-based cyber security cell stated.
Interestingly, Bhardwaj has offered to pay back the initial bitcoin investments to his investors with their parallel amount in INR. His victims have shown vehement opposition to this move, and understandably so considering that the market value of Bitcoins today is much higher than when they originally invested them. They demand he pay them back in either BTC, or in the current market price of the bitcoins. “It is like Bhardwaj will keep the profits and just return the principal amount which is wrong”, a victim has been quoted saying.
A huge number of investors have already filed complaints in several cities across India, including Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Delhi, and several others, according to reports.