The world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology has a way of surprising you both in a positive or negative manner. A new bizarre scam has surfaced in India, which is roughly structured on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
As per the local newspaper, the Hindu and local police, Pritam Patil, a Mumbai resident have allegedly scammed 12 people out of around $250,000 in a crypto scam. Reportedly, Patil and a partner convinced a local businessman after months of persistence to invest in KBC Coin.
A Hard Fork reports suggest that KBC Coin is named after “Kaun Banega Crorepati,” after the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” that was featured in “Slumdog Millionaire.”
12 people including Nanasaheb Patil bought KBC Coin from Patil and his friend Pintu Bajaj. As of print, the AFC Mint coin website was down, but the back-up could be found here. AFC was the abbreviation for “A Future Cryptocurrency.”
Apparently, some people knew about the scam, a Hindi Youtube video from February 2018 can be seen warning users about this ICO potentially being a scam.
The promoters of the KBC Coin cryptocurrency promised that token will probably go up to $1, the victims fooled the investors as they did not pose prior knowledge of the crypto market. They did apparently, received dividends for a while.
The website of the company described AFC as “legally certified to provide global AFC Coin investment platform.” A peculiar claim, given that Indian authorities are still struggling to finalize upon the regulation for cryptocurrencies. So much so, that the Indian courts issued a four-week deadline for crypto regulations, yesterday.
A clever plan
As per the Hindu, Patil, and Bajaj informed that their website served as proof of their business registration. While the victims should have treated this as a red flag, the time frame of the scam is perfect, the market was booming and not many had an idea how does it work.
Though a funny item from the AFC Mint website describes “smart contracts” and the taxable nature of cryptocurrencies. It’s brilliant for its ignorance:
“Did you realize that in the United States that cryptocurrency is considered a commodity? So this means you get splendid tax breaks! Also many countries do not even tax it. Many people assume clever contracts are the future! That is just like the dawn of the internet. Money will never be the equal again.”
Apart from several ICO scams, the duo has victimized unwitting Indian nationals, the Bitconnect scheme did well there. The global scam netted at least $3 billion in the country and authorities seized the assets of several local promoters. The Asian head of the Bitconnect pyramid was eventually arrested at the Delhi airport.