“I still drive my Ferrari and some of you can’t afford the food.” This is the latest message the cryptocurrency founder wrote to Kenyans in a Telegram group after cheating them out of 1 billion shillings.
In the days before the collapse of Bitstream Circle, a Ponzi scheme, Designed by Kenyans and Chinese scammers, its investors – mostly Kenyans – noticed delays when they wanted to withdraw their money.
The company, which had promised a daily earnings yield of five to ten percent of the amount invested, dived on the web on December 7, 2021.
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It won more than 10,000 followers on his Telegram page in a short time. To get into the Bt Elite Team group, one had to make a deposit of $20 (Shh 2,340).
Investors were assigned a mentor who would show them how to convert their shillings into cryptocoins convert and trade , make profits and withdraw their money.
Thousands of Kenyans found it an easy way to make a quick buck.
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Everything was going well until March 13th when users started noticing delays in withdrawals.
When contacted, the company said it would be upgrading its systems. The upgrade would take five hours. Then, on March 14th, the worst happened.
“You guys are a bunch of mindless races, see you on our next plan,” an admin of the site posted to the 10,914 investors.
“Bye haha. I live a life of luxury on your dollars. If you have invited friends, wait to be killed by your referrers. idiots. There will be time for a meeting.”
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Bitstream Circle suddenly disappeared from the Internet . His website and mobile apps were no longer accessible, as was his Telegram page. A forensic analysis by the Crypsense Digital Group showed that they had scammed people out of $10,048,350 (1.18 billion shillings) in just 97 days.
But why would people be so quick to fall for such a scam fall in? Why has cryptocurrency trading become attractive to criminals around the world? Why is Kenya a global hotspot?
Cryptocurrency, also known as crypto, is a digital form of money that exists on the internet. It has taken the world by storm since a mysterious internet figure named Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin in 2008.
Nakamoto’s identity is so mysterious that 14 years since he started sending emails to random people about his Invention of a virtual currency that would operate outside of government financial regulators, no one ever knew of it.
Unlike other currencies, which have been identified as legal tender and can be used to purchase goods and services, no central authority manages and manages the value of a crypto.
Supply and demand of cryptocoins instead occurs through a complex process known as blockchain technology, which Forbes says is essentially an open and distributed ledger, that records transactions in code.
“It’s a bit like a checkbook spread across countless computers. Transactions are recorded in “blocks,” which are then linked together in a “chain” of previous cryptocurrency transactions,” the journal said.
It’s the volume of those transactions by millions of users, the supply and supply creates demand for cryptocurrency.
The allure of having a decentralized form of cash and the belief that digital currency is the future has made it as popular for people to invest in cryptos as they are in other assets would do.
It’s a growing global phenomenon that eager Kenyans are willing to risk and make money without hassle.
It was in this environment that Bitstream Circle was formed. According to its YouTube page, which is the company’s only digital footprint, it was registered in the UK.
“Bitstream Circle Ltd is an active company incorporated on 25 November 2021 with registered office in South Croydon, Greater London. There is one active director and one active secretary, according to the latest confirming statement filed on 25 November 2021,” it reads.
A search of the UK Business Register by Saturday Nation shows it was incorporated on November 25 last Year by company number 13764417.
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His Role is “Management of Financial Markets”.
According to the registry, Bitstream Circle has one director; Qian Yang, a Chinese born in November 1986, who owns 10,000 shares worth £10,000 (Shh 1.45 million).
J&C Business (UK) Ltd is listed as the company’s secretary. This company, which shares the same residential address in Bitstream, is listed as secretary to several others including Chogori Indutech Ltd, Julycasa Ltd, DC Golden Ltd and CH Group Industry Company Ltd, all of which are registered in the UK and share the address with Bitstream Circle
After registering Bitstream Circle, the next step for Qian Yang was to launch a website and mobile application.
Two websites – www.btgroup.win and www.bitstreamcircle. co.ke – went online in December On the same day, the company’s YouTube page “Bitstream Circle” was launched on the same day.
According to research, the reason for the two websites was to give the company a global outlook and to make its domain easily searchable by Google.
A Google mobile app of the same name, eventually becoming more commonly known as “BT”, was created for f or investors, although it is also available on the two websites h trade.
In order to give the company more credibility, a number of Kenyans were hired as mentors and account managers. They were primarily based at www.bitstreamcircle.co.ke.
One recruiter the Saturday Nation tracked by accessing the company’s deleted website through the archive used a pseudonym “Rebel Mond”.< /p>< p>When we contacted the cell phone number listed next to the name “Rebel Mond”, the call went to an Emmanuel Kiprotich who said he was also hired online by a person named “Riaz” whom he had never met , who in turn introduced him to a woman he only knows as Hellen. He has never met Hellen.
“I joined Bitstream Circle through a post I saw on Facebook,” he said.
“I have $6 for my first one task and get the next $5. Since I had knowledge of using Binance, they made me an assistant.”
Binance is a brokerage app that allows investors to convert legal tender to crypto and vice versa.
< p>Besides Bitcoin, whose market value was around $29,000 (Shh 3.3 million) per coin yesterday, there are a few others. These include Etherium at 210,000Sh per coin, Tether (117Sh), USD Coin (117Sh), Binance (35,685Sh), XRP (46Sh), Cardano (55Sh), Solana (5,031Sh), Dogecoin (91Sh ). 26) and Polkadot (1,140 Sh).
Bitstream Circle urged its investors to use Tether to trade. Then they were assigned mentors, who used pseudonyms.
The mentors sent signals to investors about when to trade and how to make profits.
There were at least five trading sessions in a 24th month -hour cycle. Each session, investors could win 1-2 percent of their deposit, which added up to 5 percent by the end of the day.
Simply put, if you invested at least Sh2,340 and participated in all trading sessions per day, you would it will rise to 2,457 Sh. The more you invested, the more you earned.
Once you cashed in, you had the option to keep your profits in tether format or withdraw them to Binance, where you convert them to shillings and to your phone from M-Pesa.
But there was a catch. An investor could only make one withdrawal per day, which took half an hour to reach the Binance account.
Nevertheless, people sometimes signed up at a rate of 500 per day.
Kiprotich and two other recruits, whom we identified as David Kariuki and Lawrence Gift, were part of a large network whose mission was to organize training seminars across the country and educate people, mostly youth, about the new opportunity, millions from shillings without making a sweat.
It seems that some of these recruiters didn’t even know who their boss was and were just happy and ready to make money.
” Imagine how hard I’ve worked to teach members the way you wanted. did you think of me at all I told you I’m a graduate. Don’t ruin my life,” Kiprotich wrote to Hellen when things started to go wrong.
“If you don’t trust me, I have nothing to say,” was Hellen’s response.
In one of their workshops, the undated video of which the Saturday Nation was able to extract, the recruiters are seen at a high-end hotel explaining the deal to potential investors who listen carefully.
“Let’s say times , for example, I have 20 USDT, you have 300 USDT and he has 400 USDT; You text the mentor and he sends you a plan spreadsheet. This means that each of you has a different bet amount from phase one to phase seven,” says the recruiter.
“If you place the wrong bet, can you cancel?” asks a woman.
The recruiter replies, “There is no cancellation. As soon as you place the order, it’s gone.”
Aside from the workshops, the recruiters – notably Kariuki and Gift – have been making bi-weekly videos on YouTube teaching viewers how to recruit Bitstream logs in, deposits and withdraws funds, trades and so on.
Everything was going well until March 13th when users started noticing delays whenever they wanted to withdraw funds.
“ In order to offer members a better trading experience and investment security, the withdrawal system is fully maintained,” the company responded to complaints submitted to Telegram.
Those who were in a hurry to access their funds were told: “You need to top up 10 percent of the balance on your account and Submit your ID to complete authentication. After completing authentication, it only takes a few minutes to withdraw funds.”
Unknowingly, there were no funds to withdraw and the company was shut down.
Some were desperate for 10 percent more of what they already deposited Deposited some money hoping it would allow them to withdraw all their investments.
What they didn’t know was that they were being scammed even more.
Bitstream disappeared on March 14th was up in the air, but one of its owners said goodbye to those who complained about their lost money.
“I still drive my Ferrari every day and some of you can’t eat the food
Tomorrow: How Kenyans made Sh14 billion from cryptocurrency fraud last year have lost and why Kenyans don’t want to listen to the government’s advice to avoid trading crypto. Why the county has become an international hotspot for digital currency fraud. Red flags to look out for before losing your investments.