Bitcoin is a young phenomenon – a technology that is supposed to break the mold. However, below is how a public television documentary described it last nightin the context of a scam.
The main theme of the documentary broadcast on Polish station TVP1 is the story of 10,000 gullible investors from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Poland, among others, who lost Bitcoins worth about €100 million.
At that point, it was the equivalent of 12,000 Bitcoin.
A Unique Investment Opportunity – Optioment
The Optioment case, presented in the documentary The Great Bitcoin Scam, concerns a huge scam worth hundreds of millions of euros.
The theft of several thousand Bitcoin morphed into one of the biggest crypto scandals in Europe before 2020. Investigative journalists of the daily Die Presse publicized the investigation.
The platform lured investors by promising unbelievable cashback for investing in Bitcoin. In September 2017, investors could count on a return of 4% per week by blocking funds for a two-year investment period.
The whole precedent was a mapping of the popular multi-level marketing scheme.
The solicitation of subsequent users meant that some of the funds awarded went directly to the acquiring new customers.
During this progressive period, Optionment’s representatives decided to organize local events, often attended by hundreds of interested people. This public relations campaign also increased interest in earning money through solicitation.
Thanks to the commission system, investors tried to recruit as many people as possible for the project. However, in November 2017, the platform stopped functioning as intended. As a result, about 10,000 people became white-collar crime victims.
One investor recalled the moment he realized they’d been scammed:
“Of course we were terrified. I called and asked what was going on. The site is down and there are no payouts. My investment advisor always told me: don’t worry about the site, that’s just the way it is.”
About 12,000 Bitcoin vanished without a trace. Representatives of the platform claimed they were victims and admitted no wrongdoing. At press time, the matter had not been solved.
One of the suspects left shortly before the collapse of the Optioment platform for a permanent business trip to
The Scam Fueled Negative Bitcoin Narrative
The documentary on the Optioment suggests that the Bitcoin theft and the related scandal stem from the technology of Bitcoin itself, which is treated as a current digital asset.
The fact remains that the Optioment scam is unrelated to the BTC technology itself but to the scammers’ actions. They illegally abused investors’ trust. Cryptography-based technology is not the fundamental reason for the crime.
Optioment was a pyramid scheme where investors’ funds were used to pay out earlier participants until the system collapsed. This crime was a traditional form of financial fraud that extorted money from naive investors.
Unfortunately, many investors will probably see the documentary as a lesson on “what not to invest in.” This situation will certainly not speed up large-scale crypto adoption. However, other in recent years cost investors more money.
Bitcoin Has Since Matured
It’s been almost five years since the Optioment case. The crypto market has matured significantly since then. We have witnessed a rise in the number of available cryptocurrencies and a widespread increase in their acceptance in many countries.
This growth was also driven by the development of innovative blockchain projects like decentralized financenon-fungible tokens (NFTs).
In addition, more companies and financial institutions have started exploring how to use blockchain technologies with unique financial products.