A pseudonymous YouTube user has leaked two months worth of Facebook chats between Glenn Arcaro, Trevon James, and Craig Grant, all leading U.S. promoters of Bitconnect, an alleged Ponzi scheme. Bitconnect may have been the largest pyramid scheme of all time before it collapsed in January under international legal pressure. The three men are facing an array of lawsuits and an SEC investigation, and various law enforcement agencies are hunting down even higher-ranking Bitconnect organizers worldwide.
The leaked chats span the period from late September through late November of 2017. They show Arcaro, James, and Grant discussing techniques for attracting new investors to the scheme, and sharing extensive financial details of their operations. The chats may also provide some insight into which of the promoters understood the scheme was entirely fraudulent, and which of them were themselves duped.
BREAKER has reached out to both James and Grant to verify the authenticity of the chats, and will update with any response. The records are extensive, however, and their release follows public statements by Grant that he recently retrieved his Facebook chat history at the urging of SEC investigators. A longtime Bitconnect critic known on Twitter as @bccponzi (who has remained anonymous as a safety measure) believes the chat logs are authentic, and may have been leaked by either James or Grant because “they don’t like Glenn that much anymore.”
Arcaro, who spearheaded Bitconnect promotion in the U.S., discusses receiving 10 percent of all funds generated from his region (down from 15 percent) as part of a so-called “development fund” used to pay for events and reward subordinate promoters including Grant and James. During the chat, a table is shared showing as much as $7 million per week being collected in the U.S. in mid-October, meaning Arcaro would have had access to about $700,000 per week in funds earmarked for promotion.
Grant and James, in turn, discuss spending thousands of dollars per week advertising Bitconnect on Google, Facebook, and Instagram. The ads, along with James’ and Grants’ impassioned YouTube videos, were stunningly effective, with James alone attracting nearly $2 million from fresh marks weekly in October. Later that month, business had picked up even further, with James funneling nearly $1 million into the scheme in a single 24-hour period.
The promotional spending was actively concealed from the public, with Arcaro at one point reminding James and Grant: “Don’t ever show your dev fund on camera. If you have videos showing that fund, gotta take it down.” Clearly, Bitconnect’s top brass realized that spending 10 percent of investor funds on marketing could raise red flags.
Grant and James, despite having access to this information, may not have recognized the (allegedly) fraudulent nature of the Bitconnect scheme. In a video posted just this week, Grant described a lengthy phone call with the SEC, in which they encourage him to dig up his Facebook chats with Arcaro. He also claims that he “believed totally in the BitConnect Platform,” and still holds a large number of BCC blockchain tokens.
Stunningly, Grant also argues that the SEC would be doing a public service by going easy on Bitconnect. “The SEC, if they care about the public not losing, that’s one move they could make, is come out and say something in a positive light, or not so bad,” Grant says. That would give “the Bitconnect developers a chance to come back and give the value back to the BCC token for all those who were holding and lost because of the cease and desist.”
That may suggest Grant genuinely still believes that Bitconnect was the functional “lending platform” it claimed to be. Alternately, it may suggest he is laying the groundwork for his own legal defense after helping rope thousands of innocent victims into a massive scam.