The Curious Case of Africrypt | How Africrypt leveraged Bitcoin popularity to operate a scam

Anik Banerjee Anik Banerjee
Jun 28, 2021 5 min read
The Curious Case of Africrypt | How Africrypt leveraged Bitcoin popularity to operate a scam

Cryptocurrencies have a separate fanbase that loves to mine, possess and trade in them. Ever since bitcoin, the open-source software, was released as the world’s first cryptocurrency, the era of this new form of digital currencies began.

The craze of cryptocurrencies is nothing new and is the drive that is increasing more than ever, pushing this generation of people towards possessing more of them. And why would it not be there?

Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies have been well-known to offer healthy amounts of profits and with the adoption of these currencies as payment methods by organizations like Square (SQ), CashApp, Venmo, and the latest by PayPal, the cryptocurrencies are scaling new heights.

Furthermore, these currencies are also beginning to act like safe-haven assets.

Cryptocurrencies were relatively new in the past but with the turn of the last decade, they have been growing in popularity like never before in all the major countries of the world.

However, this new scam involving cryptocurrency in Africa is to put legions of people around the world in doubt where the founders of the African bitcoin investment and exchange company, Africrypt, vanish into thin air along with all their investors' money!

What is Africrypt and How it Started?

Africrypt is an African cryptocurrency firm founded by Raees Cajee and Ameer Cajee. This company was established in 2019 by the two brothers, aged 20 and 17 years respectively, and aimed at providing bumper returns to their investors.

Soon after the company started its operations, it began to quote exceedingly profitable returns to its investors, which was allegedly at 10% per month. However, not a single person was to raise any questions with regards to the same until the case where the founders took flight occurred, to the shock of all of them.

With the New Year Came New Signs of Troubles

The investors were getting a palpable profit and that’s what helped them go further with Africrypt.

There wasn’t a single instance where they felt insecure even amidst the pandemic, until the month of April 2021, when the company’s CEO Ameer Cajee informed the clients that the company was struck by hackers.

He further implored them not to inform the lawyers and other legal authorities to take any steps because that would result in slowing down the recovery process of their money.

This aroused the suspicions of many of their investors, who immediately roped in the law firm, Hanekom Attorneys along with another group to start with the liquidation against Africrypt. However, the suspicions were only meant to stay.


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Scam Alert!

Africrypt, which was otherwise deemed to be a profitable and reliable venture, revoked its employees' access to the back-end platforms. This added more panic to the anxiety that was already ripe and then, after seven days, it completely vanished untraceable along with bitcoins that are estimated to be worth around $3.6 billion.

What’s more shocking is that there is no single trace of the firm, its founders, and all the celebrity investors who were involved in it!

According to the recent Bloomberg report, any calls to Africrypt, where Ameer’s mobile number was on display, are being redirected to the voicemail service.

The value of the bitcoins saw a recent surge in the past year and with the loss of 69,000 coins through Africrypt, which would have amounted to 4 billion dollars in April, would represent a huge loss, and in fact, one of the biggest cryptocurrency scams in recent times.

Bitcoins and their traders are witnessing enormous losses and most of them in recent years are incidentally with the companies based out of South Africa. It was only in 2020 that the South African Bitcoin trading company, Mirror Trading International led to the loss of 23,000 cryptocurrencies, which amounted to around $1.2 billion and was reported as the biggest scam involving cryptocurrencies. However, with this latest Africrypt scam, losses are predicted to be three times as much.

Looking at the Latest Proceedings

Hanekom Attorneys, the Cape Town-based law firm that the investors approached fearing the hack, initially worked for the liquidation against the company. However, as the case took a new turn after the disappearance of the founders of Africrypt, they were unable to locate the brothers but have already informed other crypto exchanges requesting a quick revert in case they make any attempts to convert the digital coins.

Furthermore, Hanekom has further escalated the matter to the Hawks, an elite branch of the South African police force.

According to the reports, the coins with which the company has vanished were untraceable because Africrypt has already transferred its share of pooled funds to tumblers and mixers or other large pools of bitcoin.  

While the founding brothers’ mobile phones and other numbers are being redirected to the voicemails, calls seem to be pouring in on the phone number of the cousin of the Cajee brothers, Zakira Laher, who was also a former fellow director of Africrypt. The investors, police as well as the media are seemingly calling her for updates regarding the scam.

Laher, who has a week-old baby at their residence, is scared of the situation that the brothers left their family in and is exceedingly worried about the safety of her family. Speaking about the position that she used to hold at Africrypt, Zakaria mentioned that her designation was peripheral and she didn’t gain anything out of the same.


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Why is the Investigation of Cryptocurrencies Difficult?

Though the investigation is in progress, nothing is yet to come out that disclosed any whereabouts of the founders of Africrypt or the money lost. It is quite difficult to run an investigation involving cryptocurrencies even when it comes to a scam as colossal as the present case of Africrypt.

Brandon Topham, head of the Finance Sector Conduct Authority of South Africa said that the cryptocurrency assets are still not considered legal as financial products by the government, which is why they cannot launch a formal investigation for the same.

Conclusion

The cryptocurrency market has huge potential for the future, however, the road to success with these digital currencies is also fraught with frauds and losses. Besides, the latest rise in the prices of digital currencies ushered in a whole new world of risks.

With China announcing the latest ban on cryptocurrencies after their prices soared recently, it appears to be adding to the list of other countries like Bolivia, Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, making the future murkier for these currencies.

FAQ

Who are the founders of Africrypt?

Africrypt was founded by two brothers Raees Cajee and Ameer Cajee.

When was Africrypt founded?

Africrypt was founded in 2019 aimed at providing huge returns to their investors .

Did Africrypt founders left the company?

The founders of the company vanished with bitcoins that are estimated to be worth around $3.6 billion.

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