BitConnect, the renowned “self-regulating financial system” that rose to prominence before spectacularly imploding in January 2018, cost a lot of investors a lot of money, some of them even losing their life savings. Prominent among its supporters were a number of social media endorsers who relentlessly promoted the platform, making millions of dollars in referrals as well as direct deals with BitConnect. Unsurprisingly, these individuals were soon wanted men by those who felt they’d been duped, and, with a revised class action law suit recently posted by the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, it’s time to see what the most high profile promoters have been up to since BitConnect’s demise.
“I’m Craig Grant, and this is my Bitcoin wallet.” Anyone who watched a YouTube video on the subject of cryptocurrency in 2017/18 will remember this phrase with dread. The face of BitConnect to many people, Grant not only made a great deal of money from his referrals but was also paid directly by BitConnect to promote it. Grant accidentally exposed his Bitcoin wallet address in a YouTube video, which still shows a balance of 309 Bitcoin, all transferred during late 2017 when BitConnect was gaining in price and exposure, and which is currently worth over $2 million. Despite this, Grant claimed in February that he couldn’t afford a lawyer, and although he regularly posts YouTube videos of his life in Jamaica, it seems he is keeping a low profile while the investigation continues. We can only assume this was on the back of free legal advice.
Trevon James initially poured cold water on the demise of BitConnect in January, claiming to be buying more tokens even as it crashed 98%. At one point James was earning $10,000 a day from the scheme, so it’s not surprising he continued to post videos defending BitConnect, suggesting that “you didn’t lose your money. Ok, technically you lost your money…”. After deleting all this BitConnect videos (which many users had saved anyway), he failed to respond to a court summons in August before appearing before the SEC in September. A recent YouTube video features a solemn-looking James saying “most of my bills I paid a year in advance. The rest of them I’m about to because…I might be going down”. All the feels.
CryptoNick is noted in court papers as being “an extremely influential affiliate marketer who claimed to have become a millionaire as a result of his cryptocurrency investments”. Upon BitConnect’s demise, CryptoNick took the nuclear option and deleted all of his YouTube videos and shut down all his social media channels. Fellow defendant CryptoClover stated that CryptoNick “…made a ton of money on referrals. A ton of money.” CryptoClover also states that CryptoNick “…just kind of cashed out and…now he’s in hiding.” In August a tweet was posted by a car showroom in Brooklyn congratulating a certain “17 year-old, self-made @nicktravato” for his purchase of an expensive-looking Nissan GTR, accompanied by a picture of an individual who bore a striking resemblance to CrytoNick.
Hildreth would often appear on YouTube videos with CryptoNick, extolling the virtues of the lending platform and encouraging his audience to sign up. Upon the collapse of the platform he deleted all his BitConnect-related videos and has failed to acknowledge BitConnect in any form since. He is still active on YouTube however, promoting affiliate marketing among other things. The absolute nerve.
If it Walks and Quacks Like a Pyramid Scheme…
In total, nine defendants have been listed in the most recent court filing, with other promoters as well as members of the management team appearing. Whilst many in the cryptocurrency space would like to forget about BitConnect, the court case will remind us all of what happened and will serve as a warning that something that seems to good to be true usually is.