Portal do Bitcoin reporter Fernando Martines joins the podcast (available on Spotify) to discuss the emergence and collapse of Braiscompany - a R$1.5 billion (US$289 million) cryptocurrency pyramid scheme that operated out of the northeastern state of Paraíba.
In what some have dubbed as Brazil's last major bitcoin Ponzi scheme, the operation involved everyone from local politicians and business leaders to an estimated 10,000 retail investors from around the country.
Braiscompany provided handsome monthly payouts to investors while enriching its extravagant and charismatic founders Antonio Neto Ais and Fabrícia Campos. The music stopped in late 2022 when it ceased making payments amid the crypto market collapse, prompting a backlash from angry customers and inquiries from authorities.
The company's headquarters were raided on February 16 by Federal Police. However, Neto Ais and Campos were nowhere to be found when authorities arrived and remain at-large, with some suspecting that they fled to Argentina. Authorities in Paraíba have appealed to Interpol for assistance in tracking them down.
Meanwhile, the company remains leaderless and directionless. Employees have been advised to retain their own person legal counsel. Unfortunately, the prospects of Braiscompany investors recouping their money looks bleak.
Fernando and the team at Portal do Bitcoin have been doing an incredible job of reporting out this story since customer complaints began to emerge late last year, and I’m grateful that he took the time to help us better understand the situation.
I enjoyed this conversation with Fernando and I hope you do as well.
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