Africrypt crypto platform: operators disappear with 69,000 bitcoins

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According to media reports, the two founders of the South African crypto investment platform Africrypt are suspected of having deposited 69,000 Bitcoins, currently around 1.9 billion euros. In April, Africrypt informed its customers that it had been the victim of a hack that also affected customer wallets and accounts. According to reports, some of those affected had turned on the Hanekom law firm from Cape Town, whose investigations now point to possible fraud. In the meantime, a court has already issued a provisional order to dissolve Africrypt, which the operators can object to until July 19.

In a communication dated April 13, from which the South African financial website quoted, had informed Africrypt about an alleged hack and explicitly asked customers not to involve the authorities. That could affect the attempts to get back the lost money from the hackers. The two founders, a pair of brothers, have also not been available for inquiries since then. According to the reports, they may have fled to the UK. The Africrypt website is offline.

The Africrypt employees lost their access to the backend of the platform seven days before the alleged hack, Hanekom told the financial news service Bloomberg. The research into the Bitcoin credit had shown that the funds were sent, among other things, by so-called tumbler and mixing services, with which the actually traceable payment chains in the Bitcoin blockchain can be disguised if used skillfully. The financial regulator of South Africa is examining the case, but has not opened an official investigation because crypto values ​​are not legally classified as financial products there, writes Bloomberg.

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According to Moneyweb, Africrypt was founded in 2019 by a 21-year-old and his younger brother. Potential investors have been promised fantastic returns, and in some cases gains of up to ten percent per day have been promised. Among other things, an AI-based trading system should enable such profits. Apparently the promises had succeeded in attracting a financially strong audience, including South African celebrities. The lawyers at Hanekom suspect, however, that an international money laundering company could be behind the enormous sums. They doubt that an outside hack took place.

For South Africa it could be one of the biggest financial scandals of all, according to Moneyweb. In general, there are always cases of hacking, fraud, irregularities or even simple sloppiness in the crypto industry, which then attract a lot of attention due to enormous amounts of losses.


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