The name of the accused is Aythami Jose M.P., a Canary Islands resident who was detained on Monday and later allowed to walk with charges pending against him for the theft of at least 32.35 BTC, the equivalent of approximately 8.200 Euros at the time of this writing with an exchange rate of 1 BTC per 231,4 Euros.
This marks the first time that the Spanish government brings charges against someone for crypto-related theft, the charges against Aythami were brought together by at least 5 different people who lost their money after working with him.
Aythami managed to pull of his operation through a period of time by advertising himself as the CEO of Spanish website Cloud Trading & Devs on a wide number of Bitcoin forums, where he claimed his company had developed its own trading algorithm in conjunction with a team of economists and professional programmers, which could guarantee potentials clients a return of at least 65% on top of their investment.
On the Cloud Trading & Devs website they reassure potential investors in the following manner:
“Starting from the premise that no software is 100% reliable, we have implemented several security policies within our application’s algorithm that stop, in most cases, a loss of the initial investments by executing an immediate sale of the Bitcoins available within the account when the wallet’s value drops below 105%.”
Cloud Trading & Devs not only advertised itself as a investment group, but as a consultant for Bitcoin related ventures, although following the case against Aythami, they’ve modified their company description across all social media and dropping all mentions of investments and re-branding themselves solely as consultants. They’re still replying to information requests and contact via social media, although their accounts haven’t been updated in months so at the moment it doesn’t seem they plan to cease operations.
HOW THE THEFT OCCURRED
The true amount of Bitcoins collected by Aythami as investments thanks to his publicity on forums is still unknown: however he managed to continue operating for quite a while by selectively honoring the contracts signed with clients through the use of coins invested by newer clients, whom all proceeded to leave positive reviews, in other words, the classic Ponzi scheme that’s plagued the Bitcoin ecosystem since its inception.
When Bitcoin prices crashed and the flow of new “investors” ceased, Aythami cut communications and ceased payment and the rest is history.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BITCOIN IN SPAIN
The tax agency of Spain has previously declared that their Fraud Investigation arm would monitor crypto-currency use in order to avoid tax fraud but government’s general stance at this moment is still ambiguous, as in much of the rest of the world.
Although the amount of the theft pales in comparison to more high-profile heists in the Bitcoin world, it remains a landmark case considering it’s the first of its kind within Spain and the proliferation of Ponzi schemes could inspire Spanish lawmakers who don’t fully understand crypto-currencies to crack down on them for simplicity’s sake.