Bitcoin: The Cryptocurrency That Refuses to Die... 330 ‘Deaths’ and Counting

Francisco Memoria

Bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, has been “killed” over 90 times by mainstream media outlets so far this year, and over 330 times throughout its short existence.  While this year bitcoin turned 10 and saw its price plummet, last year it was declared ‘dead’ more times.

According to the ‘Bitcoin Obituaries’ page on 99Bitcoins, the cryptocurrency has been dying since 2010. Since then, mainstream media outlets have been focusing on bitcoin and declaring it dead for a number of reasons, ranging from its proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm to its distinct characteristic, including the semi-anonymity.

Although bitcoin has been ‘dying’ for eight years now, over 200 of its 3335 ‘deaths’ occurred in the last two years, as the cryptocurrency ecosystem gained more attention when BTC surged from little over $1,000 in January of 2017 to a near $20,000 in December. In 2017 alone, it ‘died 125 times.

Notably, bitcoin’s over 1,800% surge saw mainstream news outlets declare it ‘dead’ more times than this year’s over 80% decline. As CryptoGlobe has been covering, among those who criticize the flagship cryptocurrency and claim it’ll fail are various prominent financial industry personalities.

These include JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who has bashed bitcoin on various occasions, and ended up concluding investors should “just beware” of BTC, and billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

Buffett has notably claimed buying bitcoin is “not investing,” and along with Berkshire’s vice chairman Charlie Munger compared it to “turds” and “dementia.” This year, we’ve also seen Nouriel Roubini, a prominent economist known as Dr. Doom, claim bitcoin is the “mother of all scams.” At the time, he said:

Until now, Bitcoin’s only real use has been to facilitate illegal activities such as drug transactions, tax evasion, avoidance of capital controls, or money laundering.

Roubini has since become a well-known cryptocurrency critic, who among other things has claimed blockchain technology is no more than a “glorified spreadsheet,” that bitcoin isn’t truly decentralized,  and that central bank digital currencies will destroy BTC and other “worthless cryptocurrencies.”

Bitcoin’s critics also include financial journalists and CEOs in other areas. Bitcoin’s latest ‘death’ came in the form of an Engadget article published by Daniel Cooper, that claim “Bitcoin was never more than a vehicle for tax evaders and grifters to burn carbon in the hope of scoring a hot new Lambo.” It also adds it represents “all of our worst excesses.”

Its first one, written in 2010 when it was trading at $0.23, was published by the Underground Economist. It read:

Negative feedback loops like this are basically homeostasis. In nature, positive feedback loops like exist with Bitcoin are lethal; the only thing that’s even kept Bitcoin alive this long is its novelty. Either it will remain a novelty forever or it will transition from novelty status to dead faster than you can blink.

Since then, bitcoin has kept on growing and is currently trading at $3,900 after rising 6.7% in the last 24-hour period.

$200 Million Stolen By Crypto Scammers in Brazil in Fraudulent Investment Scheme

A gang of criminals in Brazil have reportedly stolen more than $200 million from around 55,000 local residents. According to The Next Web, the criminals promoted a fraudulent crypto-related scheme which involved operating an unregistered financial services firm. The fraudsters promised unsuspecting investors around a 15% return on their invested capital, local news outlet Correio Do Povo confirmed.

Nearly $250 Million Allegedly Stolen

Brazil’s Federal Revenue Service revealed that the scammers raised approximately 850 million Brazilian Reals ($210 million) by February 2019 from unsuspecting investors. Notably, local police officials believe the fraudsters could have stolen up to R$1 billion (appr. $250 million).

Brazil’s Federal Police department and the nation’s Federal Revenue Agency have now managed to shut down the fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme. Referred to as Operation Egypto, the cryptocurrency scam is currently being investigated - as authorities have issued 10 arrest warrants.

Investing In Cryptoassets Is Not Illegal In Brazil

Brazilian law enforcement agencies have also executed 25 search and seizure orders across eight different cities in the South American country. As confirmed by local sources, the criminals had set up their fraudulent crypto business in the Brazilian city of Novo Hamburgo.

Clarifying that investing in cryptoassets is not illegal in Brazil, Eduardo Dalmolin, a senior official at the nation’s Office of Corruption and Financial Crimes, remarked:

The problem with this company is that it was acting without authorization.

Using Investors’ Money To Buy Luxury Items

After conducting an extensive investigation, Brazilian authorities reportedly found that the accused had not been making investing in cryptocurrencies. Instead, they were using the investors’ money to buy luxury items including expensive cars, real estate, and fancy jewelry. The scammers also reportedly invested small amounts in fixed rate, low-yield investments.

Brazilian police officials have managed to seize the scammer’s assets which include an undisclosed amount of cash, several real estate properties, 36 luxury cars, among other things.

Drug Trafficking And Money Laundering Using Bitcoin

Currently, the accused are also being investigated for their alleged involvement in financial misappropriation, money laundering, fraudulent management, and orchestrating a large-scale organized crime.

Earlier this year, Brazilian police officials arrested a man who was allegedly involved in operating a drug trafficking ring and engaging in money laundering using bitcoin. After investigating the matter, authorities managed to seize more than R$250,000 (appr. $63,000) worth of mining hardware used to mine the pseudonymous cryptocurrency.