BitConnect coin (BCC) is a cryptocurrency that was used within the ill-famous peer-to-peer payment platform BitConnect. It was one of the most well-known Ponzi schemes that have ever taken place in the digital world and its crash caused one of the most abrupt collapses affecting the whole cryptocurrency market. The company BitConnect Ltd. was registered in 2016 in the UK. Initially posted on BitcoinTalk in November 2016, the project has attracted a lot of negative attention from the very start.
The ICO was carried out from November 15th to December 31st and successfully raised the needed amount despite the community’s attitude. The number of tokens was limited to 28 million with 4 million of those given away via ICO. The rest of the BCC coins were distributed via the combination of the Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithms. The switch was supposed to happen when the number of blocks reached 262,800. For each newly created block, miners received a reward of 10 BCC. After switching to PoS, BCC holders were to receive a monthly reward of 10% of their stake. The payouts were to be reduced down to 8%, 7%, 5% and 1,4% every 6 months after that.
The initial idea of the project was to popularize Bitcoin usage, however, after the ICO, BitConnect focused on attracting people to buy BCC. The platform was designed to work in the following way. Users were exchanging bitcoins for BitConnect tokens on their exchange platform gaining daily profits in the form of dividends. The size of investors’ income depended on the number of other people that each of them invited to the platform. The company claimed to have developed a special investment algorithm that implied purchasing Bitcoin at low prices and selling when its value was high. That’s how the profits were assumably generated. However, no details of how this algorithm worked have ever been publicly provided which caused more suspicions.
In addition, the following aspects of BitConnect should have made investors more careful: The promises of a stable income of 120% per year on quite an unstable market of cryptocurrencies. No information about people who stood behind the project and how they were going to achieve their goals. No white paper. Also, the platform was promoting a referral program which was strongly advertised by many cryptocurrency-oriented channels on YouTube. The owners of these channels were getting more profits as more people were joining BitConect via their personal referral links. The BCC coins were used mostly within BitConnect itself and it was difficult to exchange them as not many platforms supported them. Users could make long-term investments or use BCC to make loans. To do that, they had to upload their bitcoins to the platform, switch them to BitConnect native coins and loan them to the bot which was trading them on BitConnect’s exchange platform. The funds had to be frozen on users’ accounts for 120-299 days with the interest (up to 30% per month) being accrued to the amount kept on users’ wallets. The offer looked really tasty and it’s no wonder that it attracted so many freebie-lovers.
The BCC token price grew from a post-ICO level of 0.17 USD to almost 500 USD per coin at the beginning of December 2017. Eventually, its vague scheme of making money drew the attention of the US authorities, and in a couple of weeks, the project received cease and desist orders from the regulators. The company decided to close the project on January 16th, 2018, making it impossible for investors to withdraw their earnings. On January 31st, the US District Court, Western District of Kentucky, issued a temporary restraining order and froze the company’s assets. The price of BCC dropped even faster as it lost more than 95% of its all-time-high index in a matter of a few days. This was one of the biggest collapses in the whole history of cryptocurrencies and the whole market turned red that day.
At the time of writing, there still exists a page on the FBI's official website seeking victims in the BitConnect investigation. The page contains a form with a questionnaire that BCC investors can complete with a negligible hope to gain their funds back one day. One may think that cryptocurrency investors might have learned their lesson after such a large-scale deception, but projects similar to BitConnect keep arising again and again, although the hype around them is not that big. One of such projects was launched by the creators of BitConnect themselves. It’s called BitConnectX Genesis and it has all the same attributes of a Ponzi scheme that the original project had.Read More