Karatbars International, Karatbit Exchange and V999 have received securities fraud warnings from Alberta, Canada.
The ASC added Karatbars International, Karatbit Exchange and V999 to its Investment Caution List on or around March 15th.
The ASC advises;
To help inform and protect investors, the ASC provides a list of companies and individuals that are not registered with the ASC and that appear to be engaging in activities that either require registration under Alberta securities laws or may be investment scams.
Investors are encouraged to consult this list if they are considering investing, especially if they are approached with an unsolicited investment opportunity.
Karatbars International was run by Harald Seiz, a wanted German national who has since fled to Thailand.
Karatbars International launched in 2011 as a simple gold-themed pyramid scheme.
Around 2018 Seiz partnered up with Josip Heit, and thus began Karatbars International’s transition to crypto fraud.
Karatbank Coin’s “KBC” ICO was announced in February 2018. By 2019 KBC had been dumped for KGC.
After months of marketing hype, KGC launched on July 4th, 2019 – only to immediate collapse thereafter.
There was an attempt to resuscitate Karatbars International with V999 (KGC was abandoned shortly after it collapsed), however that just resulted in even deeper investor losses.
Eventually Josip Heit split and went on to launch his own GSPartners “G999” Ponzi clone.
Heit persisted with Karatbars International, going on to launch Freebay, Lifebase and Minebase.
Within the Karatbars International crypto fraud ecosystem, Karatbit Exchange served as the platform affiliates were (theoretically) able to cash out returns and recruitment commissions.
As of February 2023, SimilarWeb tracks negligible traffic to Karatbit Exchange’s website. Karatbit Exchange’s social media profiles were abandoned in February 2020.
V999’s standalone website is still up, with SimilarWeb tracking 10,000 visits to the site last month. This is up from just 690 visits in January 2023, suggesting the traffic can be attributed to the Minebase reboot.
Canada was one of the first countries to take action against Karatbars International. Way back in 2014 the AMF (Quebec) issued a Karatbars pyramid scheme warning.
This eventually led to Karatbars International being banned in Quebec in 2016.
Outside of Alberta and Quebec, Karatbars International has attracted regulatory attention in Namibia, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, Ontario and the Bahamas.
At of February 2023, SimilarWeb ranks top sources of traffic to Minebase’s website as Germany (21%), Venezuela (14%), Ecuador (12%), Spain (8%) and the US (7%).