- The founders of AfriCfrypt has exit scammed with $2.3 billion in bitcoin
- The two brothers, aged 20 and 17, appear to have absconded with ₿69,000
- AfriCrypt was allegedly a cryptocurrency exchange, bank, and trading platform
₿69,000 appears to have been stolen in what is one of the biggest Bitcoin heists in history. The operators of South African Bitcoin investment platform AfriCrypt, brothers Ameer and Raees Cajee, appear to have disappeared with the sum, worth a staggering $2.375 billion, after less than two years of operation. The apparent exit scam ranks second only to the PlusToken scam in scale but surely ranks top in audaciousness given the age of the protagonists and the amount of money taken.
AfriCrypt Formed by Two Teenagers
AfriCrypt was formed in 2019 by Ameer and Raees when the pair were just 17 and 14 respectively, who promoted it as an algorithm-driven cryptocurrency trading company, exchange, and bank. The 2020 Bitcoin bull market saw the amount of Bitcoin being invested in AfriCrypt soaring to incredible heights, partly thanks to African business magazines who reveled in the pair’s success and helped AfriCrypt gain greater exposure.
It is not known if Africrypt was a scam from the start or, as we have seen before, what started as a genuine investment platform was later derailed, either accidentally or intentionally. Outwardly at least the problems began in April when Ameer, acting in his capacity as Chief Operating Officer, informed users that there had been a hack on the platform, but asked customers not to inform the authorities as this would only hamper the recovery process.
Capture Likely not Far Away
Suspicious AfriCrypt investors nevertheless conducted their own investigations and found that the company’s pooled funds had been sent from its South African accounts and client wallets through Bitcoin mixers and into other wallets, rendering them almost impossible to track down. The company website soon went down and phone calls to the Cajees were either redirected or sent straight to voicemail.
With cryptocurrency assets not being considered as financial products, South African authorities are hamstrung in chasing down the brothers, although they have promised to do their best in finding them.
While some may be jealous of the riches the AfriCrypt founders now have in their possession, it must be remembered that they face an entire lifetime on the run from the police and aggrieved investors. Also, it must be remembered that the money is all still in bitcoin, so unless they can find someone willing to either help them cash out billions of dollars (or accept bitcoin) they face a difficult task anonymously using the money. Given their young age and relative inexperience in lying low, they aren’t expected to be at large for long.