No, the New Zealand mass shooter was NOT involved in cryptocurrency - but he was part of a crypto-themed Ponzi scheme...

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First, let me explain my intentions here - I hate when media coverage focuses on irrelevant background information of these mentally deranged mass shooters. Digging into their lives like what they did made them so interesting that suddenly their life story is newsworthy.

It's about as unproductive as approaching a crazy person on the street corner yelling at the sky and asking 'why are you doing that?' - you're never going to uncover a valid reason, one does not exist. If you need further proof, see every time you've done this in the past and note how still today we don't have any answers.

I'm writing this because the media is getting it wrong. One of the roles of The Global Crypto Press Association is to serve as a link between the mainstream media, the cryptocurrency industry, and community as a whole. My professional background includes on air and producer positions at two of the largest broadcasting companies in America, a similar background to several other reporters on our staff.

We do understand the challenges faced by journalists covering a variety of topics with a new focus every few days. It is both unrealistic to expect a journalist to know everything instantly, and unacceptable to let the current mistakes continue without addressing them.

The shooter's manifesto only says:

"...making some money investing in Bitconnect, then used the money from the investment to travel". 

But the media is saying:

"He quit his job, invested in cryptocurrency and began traveling the world using his inheritance and money from bitcoin investments" says Fox News.

"He worked for a short time before making some money from Bitconnect, a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, then used the money to fund his travels." says ABC.

"He financed his trips with money he made from Bitconnet and cryptocurrency like bitcoin" says NY Post.

"He funded his travels by making money from BitConnect, a cryptocurrency similar to bitcoin. Organized white supremacists, some of whom are banned from using PayPal and other major digital pay systems, often trade advice online about using cryptocurrencies that promise complete anonymity in transactions. Some of the extremists avoid using banks because they believe florid conspiracy theories in which Jews control international banking." The Washington Post says in a full-on disgusting attempt at implying cryptocurrency is the payment method of choice for all the worst people. 

Ironically, the reality is almost the complete opposite - one of the most debated and controversial topics in cryptocurrency revolves around exchanges banning the same people PayPal has, not just racists, but organizations like Wikileaks as well.

Let's correct the record.

He was not involved in cryptocurrency, or anything similar to Bitcoin:

What he was involved in was a scam called Bitconnect that used the word 'cryptocurrency'. 99% of people who say they are 'into cryptocurrency' are in a completely separate world where someone promoting or sharing a link to Bitconnect would earn them an instant ban from the forum or chat room they were in.

Bitconnect was immediately mocked by the legitimate side of the cryptocurrency world since it's inception.

The only place 'cryptocurrency' comes into the picture isn't even real:

Bitconnect claimed the profits came from a trading bot they created. Using artificial intelligence this software would take the money invested and make profitable trades on the cryptocurrency markets, earning income even when things were in a slump.

This never existed.

I'm sitting here thinking 'this explanation is too short' - but it really is this simple.

There is a story here, and the media is missing it:

Implying the shooter was involved in cryptocurrency isn't just incorrect - they're missing some real insight into his mind. You have to be unintelligent, gullible, and desperate to hand your money over to a website that was promising the things Bitconnect was.

The offer he thought was legitimate: daily 1% compound interest that would turn a $10,000 investment into $500 million within 3 years. "Risk free" too, a statement the Securities Commission cited as one of the reasons they issued a cease and desist.

Bitconnect would only end up lasting months, some estimate they held up to $900 million when they disappeared.

To this day the true masterminds behind Bitconnect are still at large. There have been some arrests, but those were misunderstood by the media too. The biggest arrest was someone who just signed up a lot of people under him in the ponzi scheme, not one of Bitconnect's creators.  I covered that when it happened here if anyone is curious.

Bitconnect and I go way back, let me tell you about their members:

I am the only journalist to have confronted Bitconnect in person.

In a video that received nearly 500,000 views, I attempted to confront a representative of Bitconnect at a cryptocurrency conference with the math mentioned above, asking to explain how they plan to pay thousands of people millions of dollars each. Of course, the Bitconnect rep had no answer other than to say my math was wrong, they have ways to 'make it work' and I wasn't owed any further details.

The death threats and angry comments rolled in, and it was clear - I was speaking with some of the stupidest people I have ever encountered, and none of them were from the cryptocurrency world.

No one who had given Bitconnect their money could explain how the investment worked, but they sure did stand by it... whatever it did.

Bitconnect supporters eventually filed enough false reports to get the video removed, but a report from that day can be here.

...Just a couple months later it was all over, and Bitconnect stole everyone's money and disappeared. (That story here)

Following the collapse I contacted the guy I had confronted and learned this 'representative' was simply another victim of the scam. Just as the company was starting to garner a lot of attention, they reached out to their members, carefully selecting true believers,  and offered them pay to show up to industry conferences representing Bitconnect. A final attempt at fixing their public image of a shadowy, nameless, faceless scam.

In closing:

The correct story is of someone so lost in life, he handed his money over to shady online Ponzi scheme promising magic. He seems to have been one of the lucky few who pulled his investment out before it all came crashing down. No skill, just luck.

Journalists - equating this to being involved in cryptocurrency is like someone holding up the worst trashy tabloid magazine, with a cover story saying 'Melana Trump pregnant with alien baby' and saying that you are in the same business as whoever wrote that.

So please, stop.

To the crypto community - if you spot any incorrect claims about the shooter being involved in cryptocurrency - tweet the author a link to this.

Other publications, bloggers, anyone really - you have our permission to re-publish this article on your platforms.

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Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Ross@GlobalCryptoPress.com Twitter:@RossFM
San Francisco News Desk


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