Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme Collapses With a Loss of $5.6 Million
Remember pirateat40, the e-currency banker we speculated could be the Bernie Madoff of Bitcoin? Well, it looks like he owes a lot of people money. On August 17, pirateat40 announced the closure of Bitcoin Savings & Trust, a virtual hedge fund that promised to pay high rewards to investors who parked their Bitcoins there. Ten days later, investors are still waiting to get paid and pirateat40 is on the defensive. "When I know, you will," says his away message in the fund's official chat room, an effort to quiet the loudening chorus of, "WHERE ARE MY BITCOINS?"
Pirateat40 consistently maintained that he made his money legitimately through secret investment strategies. The announcement that BS&T was shutting down was similarly vague and obtuse:
The decision was based on the general size and overall time required to manage the transactions. As the fund grew there were larger and larger coin movements which put strain on my reserve accounts and ultimately caused delays on withdraws and the inability to fund orders within my system. On the 14th I made a final attempt to relieve pressure off the system by reducing the rates I offered for deposits. In a perfect world this would allow me to hold more coins in reserve outside the system, but instead it only exponentially increased the amount of withdrawals overnight causing mass panic from many of my lenders.