It turns out Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin might have been right to suggest popular Bitcoin investment platform, BitConnect, has been running a Ponzi scheme after all: the UK Registrar of Companies has threatened to shut down the dodgy platform and dissolve its operation.
BitConnect has two months to prove “cause to the contrary” until the decision has been formally enforced, according to an official filing on the British Companies House website. Should the company fail to comply with these terms, the government agency will strike off its registration and seize its assets.
“Upon dissolution all property and rights vested in, or held in trust for, the company are deemed to be bona vacantia, and accordingly will belong to the crown,” the document reads. Many have speculated that BitConnect likely stashes its funds abroad, though there is no evidence to back this up.
You can see the full letter of notice in the image below:
While the notice makes no mention of the people behind the shifty Bitcoin investment platform, another filing [PDF] reveals BitConnect was registered by a British man going by the name of Ken Fitzsimmons. According to the same filing, Fitzsimmons holds 75 percent or more of the shares in the company.
Curiously, the name of Fitzsimmons doesn’t appear anywhere on Bitconnect’s site – and nobody seems to know what his involvement in the investment platform is.
Numerous concerned cryptocurrency enthusiasts have since interpreted this lack of information as suspicious, with one user going as far as reporting BitConnect for illegal activity to the British government.
Unfortunately, details about Fitzsimmons continue to remain scarce at this point.
Shortly after the UK Companies House strike-off notice began circulating Reddit, the price of BitConnect Cash (BCC) took a dip from $287 to under $230 – though it has since climbed back up to $245. Here are some stats from Coin Market Cap:
Meanwhile, BitConnect has carried on promoting its platform to new investors. In fact, the company hosted a cheesy suit-and-gown networking event in Thailand on October 28.
Despite action-packed program featuring “acrobatic performances, dance and live entertainment,” the keynote offered little insight into the company’s plans for the future and its current financial situation.
Instead, the highlight of the celebratory gala night became this cringe-inducing hyping performance by one of the event hosts:
Could not stop laughing at this!
Posted by Sam Capizzi on Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Those interested to see the full BitConnect presentation in Thailand can check out this video.
Following the abrupt disappearance of suspicious Bitcoin investment platform Bitpetite two weeks ago, the cryptocommunity has grown increasingly distrustful of BitConnect, with numerous people calling respected crypto influencers to chime in on the situation with their expertise.
Eventually, Ethereum’s Buterin responded to the requests, suggesting the fishy Bitcoin investment site could indeed be running a Ponzi scheme.
Yeah, if 1%/day is what they offer then that's a ponzi.
— Vitalik Buterin (@VitalikButerin) November 2, 2017
Since then, Redditors have began noticing a slew of major red flags on BitConnect’s site, including this schematic that uses a picture of a pyramid to explain the platform’s revenue structure.
Here is a screenshot from the post in question:
Say what you will, but this is not a good look for BitConnect and its investors.
In the meantime, we have contacted BitConnect to ask whether the company has any intentions to appeal the strike-off notice from the UK Companies House, and will update this piece accordingly if we hear back.
Clarification: As pointed out by readers, BitConnect also listed on Companies House’s registrar as BITCONNECT INTERNATIONAL PLC.
Neither of the filings – for the PLC or the LTD – mention how BITCONNECT PLC will be affected in the event that Companies House proceeds with BITCONNECT LTD’s removal from the registrar – or how it will affect the company’s operation in the UK.
Update: It has been brought to our attention that, in addition to the other two instances in which BitConnect appears on the UK company registrar, BitConnect has also been listed on Companies House as BITCOIN AMR LIMITED.
One thing to keep in mind is that, prior to assuming the name BITCOIN AMR LIMITED, the company used to be registered as BITCONNECT PUBLIC LIMITED – not to be mistaken with BITCONNECT LTD.
According to the documents, BITCONNECT PUBLIC LIMITED (now BITCOIN AMR LIMITED) and BITCONNECT LTD were two separate entities, registered under two different company numbers: the former was logged under company number 10944876, and the latter – 10278342.
BITCONNECT INTERNATIONAL PLC, on the other hand, also has its own company number: 10948031.
The filings do not outline what the connection between the three separate companies is – or whether there is one to start with.
Looking through the names attached to the companies though. It appears that a person named Le Thi Thannh Huy is involved in both BITCOIN AMR LIMITED as well as BITCONNECT INTERNATIONAL PLC.
Interestingly, the documents suggest this is not the same person. Despite the similarities in name, the filing suggests the person named Thannh Huy involved in BITCOIN AMR was born in 1978, while the one involved in BITCONNECT PLC was born in 1984.
Weirdly enough, both of them appear to have indicated a correspondence address on the exact same street; the exact street numbers are not the same, however.
Additionally, BITCOIN AMR says there is a Mr. Santoso, born in 1981 who is also director in the company. Coincidentally, BITCONNECT PLC lists a person named Wardah Santoso as a director in the company. Unlike Mr. Santoso though, Wardah Santoso was born in 1983.
Just like Thannh Huy and Thannh Huy, Mr. Santoso and Wardah Santoso live on the same street.