Awareness of virtual currencies is very required, say experts

ST Correspondent
Friday, 6 April 2018

“Though many people invested in the fraud scheme during demonetisation, the exact figure is yet to be reached,” said a senior police official. 

PUNE: Investigation into the recent bitcoin fraud case cracked by the city police in which they arrested fugitive fraudster Amit Bharadwaj revealed that several people invested in the scheme floated by Bharadwaj when demonetisation was taking place in the country. 

The city police said several people wanted to invest their cash for better returns in the scheme. “Though many people invested in the fraud scheme during demonetisation, the exact figure is yet to be reached,” said a senior police official. 

Details of over 8,000 persons cheated in the bitcoin fraud has come to light. The police estimate that more than 80,000 person have been cheated across the country. Cyber experts said Bhardwaj was working on blockchain technology. the technology behind cryptocurrencies. Later in 2015 he started a website www.gainbitcoin.com which was similar to a multilevel marketing (MLM) scheme in which a certain amount of returns were assured to people joining the scheme. “Amit thought he would be able to mine bitcoins and return people their money but he failed to do so. As bitcoin mining takes lot of investment and technology Amit thought of floating MCap, another virtual currency in April 2016. He returned people Mcap when they were expecting returns in bitcoin. Several investors found that Mcap has less value compared to bitcoin and it was then when people realised they had been cheated,” said Pankajj Ghode, a cyber expert who is investigating the case. 

Speaking about the case, Commissioner of City Police Rashmi Shukla said only seven memebers of the MLM scheme were benefitted and the remaining investors were cheated as they did not recieve any returns. Till date 25 investors have complained to the police and they are expecting more complainants to come forward. Police sources said people should be aware about different cryptocurrencies so they do not fall to such scams. “There is difference of technology and platform used in both virtual currencies bitcoin and Mcap. Any person can float his own virtual currency but people should be aware about the value of the currency in the market,” said a police official.

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