There are many fake cryptocurrencies in the market nowadays, but as a ‘member’ of the Indian government, Amit Lakhanpal often assures, he’s got a safe bet for buyers which will shortly overtake even bitcoin.

This must interest you just a little bit, after all, bitcoin has been the buzzword lately—the cryptocurrency which made many early adopters of the technology millionaires overnight. But those who missed the bus with bitcoin are now left confused, as hundreds of new crypto-assets have emerged and it’s hard to tell which one is going to be the next best thing.

Amit M Lakhanpal, MD of a real estate firm, also claims to be a member of the Ministry of Finance and winner of awards like Pride of India, Rashtriya Ekta Puraskar, and Mahatma Gandhi Gaurav Samman. Covered in gold accessories, he claims he’s got the next big cryptocurrency.

To the moon

Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency came into existence in 2009. Since then it has rallied from $0.06 per coin to $5,600, a rally of 9333233%, as per the Coindesk price indicator.

Cryptocurrencies are a volatile asset class and hard to understand. Having someone who is seen as a government official, a guide in the sea of confusing blockchain based assets, would seem reliable to many. The blockchain is a decentralised and distributed public ledger which is used to record transactions across a network of computers.

Lakhanpal is the founder of Money Trade Coin (MTC), a new cryptocurrency, which as per their press release, “is forecasted to exceed the value of $500 (~Rs 32,500) per coin this year across cryptocurrency exchanges.”

There’s just a tiny problem. It’s fake.

MTC is the product of a bizarre merger between the murky world of multi-level marketing (MLM) or Pyramid schemes and cryptocurrencies, a technology that maintains its legitimacy by being public and transparent.

MTC has no public blockchain, no mining process or a wallet that could store the coin and is run like a pyramid scheme by direct distributors.

Mining is the process through which each entry is verified and registered over a blockchain. A cryptocurrency wallet is a software (like Jaxx) or hardware (like Trezor) which is used to store, send and receive digital tokens.

As per Lakhanpal, MTC is a centralised cryptocurrency. This is quite similar to E-Coin, a fake cryptocurrency which was recently closed by Switzerland’s financial regulator.

According to coinmarketcap.com, a website which tracks the price movement of digital currencies, there are 1159 cryptocurrencies globally as of now. The number comprises both genuine and fake cryptocurrencies as the website does not “judge the merits of any cryptocurrency” and as long as any token “meets the listing criteria, it’s eligible to be on the site.”

This story is about how one of the most important technological inventions since the internet—bitcoin—remained unnoticed by the Indian government but got the attention of a few opportunists who were not shy of deceiving gullible people.

AUTHOR

Sidhartha Shukla

In his earlier stint at Moneycontrol, the website owned by the Network18 group, Sid wrote on cryptocurrencies, cybersecurity, business, and finance. Born in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, Sid has spent most of his life in Jalandhar, Punjab. He has a BSc in Mathematics from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Sid is a comic book nerd and a big fan of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Brian Azzarello. He can be reached at sidhartha at the rate the-ken.com

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