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Ugandan Crypto Startup Bails on Workers and Investors Overnight  

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Several investors in Uganda have begun to regret their decision to turn their gaze towards the cryptocurrency space, after a crypto startup that promised to fix them with jobs and make them rich has mysteriously packed up.

According to a report from independent local news medium Daily Mirror, the company, which was named Dunamiscoins Resources Limited, suddenly pulled what seems to be an exit scam, leaving investors and potential employees in the dark. The company set up in the Masaka District last month, generating a lot of buzz by inviting several people in the area to invest, apply for jobs, and be a part of its digital currency network. Now, however, the company’s offices have become a ghost town; barely a month after it set up shop there. 

Attractive Returns Were too Much to Pass Up

Citing a businessman who had close ties with the company, the Daily Mirror reported that Dunamiscoins had convinced several people to be a part of its network, attracting them with promises of as much as 40 percent returns on their cash investments. Then, the company set up alliances with several payment companies in the region as well, in a bid to bring more people into the fold. 

Per the news source, up to 50 locals were hired at the end of the recruitment process, with these people filling roles varying from cashiers, marketing executives, office assistance, and business managers. A separate individual who worked as a salesperson asserted that the company also milked its own workers, collecting money from them in exchange for registration and promising that they will see high returns on the “investments.”

All in all, each person was made to pay abut 20,000 Ugandan shillings (about $5) to join the company and be a part of its network. Then, like magic, the firm was suddenly here one day and gone the next. When the new workers showed up to their new place of employment, they met a deserted office space.

All victims have been calling for their fellow “investors” and “workers” to come forward with their own stories, although there is little good that this could do for them. The Ugandan government has stated its disapproval of cryptocurrencies on several occasions, and the asset isn’t recognized as a means of payment or legal tender in the country. The probability that these people will be able to get any compensation or recourse in court is low indeed. 

It’s All Part of the Rising Trend 

Although this is terrible news, it does underscore the growing sentiment that Africa is the new frontier for cryptocurrencies. Twitter and Square chief executive Jack Dorsey said pretty much after a visit to the continent last month, and in October 2019, peer-to-peer crypto exchange Paxful announced that the volume of trades on its platform from Africa had increased by 64 percent over the same period in 2018. 

While countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana are thought to be leading the crypto revolution on the African continent, other countries are showing considerable interest as well. Sadly, this is what you get in an environment where a trend begins to grow, malicious people who want to make a quick buck off the mixture of excitement and relative ignorance.

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