To this day, BitConnect is considered to be one of the biggest scams in the still young history of the crypto space. One person in particular is associated with the incident: Carlos Matos. But the role of the unexpected YouTube star in the scam is not completely clear. Was he a perpetrator or a victim – and how did he become famous in the first place?
It is October 28, 2017. We are in Pattaya, a coastal city on the Gulf of Thailand. Almost 2,000 people are expected in the conference hall of a luxury hotel. What connects them all can be described in one word: BitConnect. Suddenly a bald man takes the stage and begins to give a fiery speech that would make him an internet celebrity even years later.
The man introduces himself as Carlos Matos from New York. He was thrilled to be able to share this “glorious and wonderful moment” of his life with the people present. Together we will change the world. In doing so, Matos underpins his convictions by intensively saying “BITCONNECT!” Several times. screams.
He goes on to say that he has already invested a little more than $ 25,000. This has now grown to $ 140,000. Nevertheless, his wife thinks he is crazy and the “project” BitConnect is a huge fraud – she should be right.
BitConnect: A Ponzi Scheme?
Because the business model was basically based on a so-called Ponzi scheme – a kind of pyramid scheme in which the fraudsters are in direct contact with their customers – it is above all the exorbitant profit promises that attract. The investors should do nothing else than simply exchange their Bitcoin for the native BitConnect Coin (BCC). A trading bot would take care of the rest – and generate returns of up to 40 percent per month.
It so happened that BCC’s market capitalization swelled to $ 2.5 billion in a very short space of time. The catch: The highly touted “Volatility Software” never existed. In the end, the apparent returns were just liquidity that flowed into the project from new users and then passed on to investors who had previously joined the company. In January 2018, the project turned out to be a fraud. The result was an estimated $ 250 million in total damage and prosecution by the FBI, SEC, and other agencies.
Ups and downs
After the vertigo was exposed, Carlos Matos fell silent. Some suspected him to be the mastermind behind BitConnect – probably a fallacy. Because also legally there was never a case against Matos. Unlike other “promoters” of the network, such as Trevon James or Craig Grant. In a video on his YouTube channel, Matos spoke up for the first time in May 2019 and gave deep insights into his inner soul. He looked resigned, told how he put a total of 200,000 US dollars on BitConnect in the sand, how he lost another 160,000 US dollars on other scams, that his wife ostracized him as a failure and finally left him.
But he also found new hope. He wanted to develop professionally. His current job as a therapist would fulfill him, but he still strived for it Board Certified Behavior Analyst on. It wasn’t just about money, but above all about recognition and prestige.
What Carlos Matos is doing today
On his YouTube channel “Partner With Carlos Matos” he gives insights into his life and tips about personal development in regular streams. In his current video, for example, he shows how he buys a new Tesla Model Y. Matos also remains loyal to the crypto space. He discusses current trends with his followers on Twitter and keeps checking coins.
Today Carlos Matos is best known for his legendary BitConnect speech. It is uncertain whether he succeeded with his professional development. However, at least the new Tesla implies that Matos was able to overcome his financial troubles. While the former masterminds behind BitConnect are now in the dock, Matos seems to be able to lead a fulfilled life. Even if he will probably never see the money invested again, Matos benefited in some ways from his involvement in the BitConnect cause. His “failure” ultimately made him what he is today – a celebrity of the crypto space.
This article has been reviewed and updated and was first published in the July issue of our monthly magazine Kryptokompass. For information about a subscription, click here.