Two men in South Africa could have just pulled off the largest cryptocurrency heist in history.
Ameer Cajee and his younger brother, Raees Cajee, started a new digital coin in 2019 called Africrypt.
Cryptocurrency had been around for a couple of years, but this continent-specific coin attracted a lot of attention and loads of people invested their money hoping to make a quick buck.
The coin rocketed up in value and during the April peak of this year it was worth an incredible $4 billion.
Now the Cajee brothers have disappeared with the money and can’t be found anywhere.
When the digital currency reached its limit a few months ago, Ameer told everyone that Africrypt had been hacked and their accounts, wallets and nodes had been compromised, according to Business Insider.
The 20-year-old, who is the company’s chief operating officer, bizarrely told their clients not to report this issue to authorities so they could handle the hack and said authorities would prevent them from getting to the bottom of the issue.
While many heeded the warning, the Independent Online reports there were a few customers who thought the whole thing was a little fishy and contacted Hanekom Attorneys.
At the same time, all the Africrypt had been transferred into 69,000 Bitcoins.
Hanekom Attorneys told Bloomberg: “We were immediately suspicious as the announcement implored investors not to take legal action. Africrypt employees lost access to the back-end platforms seven days before the alleged hack.”
A South African police unit was called in when the lawyers couldn’t get hold of the brothers.
However, the nature of cryptocurrency means it’s exceedingly difficult to trace and work out how to prosecute.
South Africa’s Finance Sector Conduct Authority, the country’s financial institutions regulator, said cryptocurrency-related matters aren’t in their jurisdiction. Therefore, the hunt is on to find the authority responsible for tracking down this sort of crime.
FNB, one of South Africa’s big five banks and funded Africrypt, has denied any sort of responsibility for the missing brothers and currency.
In a statement to the Independent, FNB risk spokesperson Nadiah Maharaj said: “FNB once again confirms that it does not have a banking relationship with Africrypt. Due to client confidentiality, FNB cannot provide any information on specific bank accounts.”
It highlights the ongoing concern related to cryptocurrencies and their currently unregulated market.