ASIC Bans Former BitConnect Front-man
John Louis Anthony Bigatton will not be providing financial services in Australia and likely not anywhere else, anytime soon. On Thursday, September 3, 2020, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) officially banned Bigatton from providing financial services for the next seven years due to his promotion of BitConnect. The fraudulent cryptocurrency startup is now infamous for the exuberant endorsement of another promoter named Carlos Matos whose enthusiastic sales pitch turned into a widely shared meme meant to represent a hucksterism inherent to cryptocurrency. It seems that Bitconnect and its boosters may forever serve as the popular image of crypto fraudsters.
Bigatton served as the Australian National Representative for the infamous online cryptocurrency known as BitConnect based in the United Kingdom. BitConnect and its investment scheme known as the BitConnect Lending Platform, purportedly allowed users to lend the value of their BitConnect Coins in return for daily compounded interest payments. Users were told by promoters like Bigatton that they could trade Bitcoin for BitConnect Coin on the BitConnect Lending Platform and lock in instantaneous value for the coin for a set period while earning an extremely high rate of daily interest.
Those thinking the value locking and daily compounded interest sound too good to be true would be correct: BitConnect met its swift demise in January 2018 when several U.S. state regulatory authorities issued cease and desist notices or warnings that the BitConnect platform was in fact a Ponzi scheme. BitConnect shut down on January 17, 2018, leading to a crash of 92% in BitConnect Coin prices and swindling investors out of up to $2.6 billion USD.
From August 2017 to January 2018, Bigatton served as the BitConnect front man in Australia, just one of many promoters of this scam. As a consequence of his unlicensed participation in the BitConnect scheme, ASIC found that Bigatton: “is not a fit and proper person to provide financial services; is not adequately trained, or is not competent, to provide a financial service or financial services; and is likely to contravene a financial services law.”
Bigatton is also under investigation by the Australian Federal Police for money laundering. The desire for easy profit led many people to gamble funds on Bitconnect that they could not afford to lose. For Mr Bigatton the results have been devastating, as he has been banned by the ASIC, faces a long jail sentences and his wife has gone missing under mysterious circumstances in apparent connection with this scandal. Once the facade of the BitConnnnect scam crumbled the investors and ultimately Bigatton himself are left with nothing pain but pain to show for their efforts.