Bank of Hodlers was an Indian “blockchain based finance company” created by Darshan Bathija in 2018.
BehindMLM reviewed Bank of Hodlers in June 2019, concluding it was a simple shit token exit-scam MLM crypto Ponzi.
Bank of Hodlers went on to collapse in 2021, prompting Bathija to drop MLM and reboot as Vauld.
Vauld solicited investment, primarily from Indian residents, on the promise of up to 40% annually on various cryptocurrencies.
On July 4th 2022, Bathija suspended Vauld withdrawals, effectively collapsing the Ponzi scheme (again).
To avoid admitting Vauld ran out of invested funds to pay withdrawals, Bathija cited “volatile market conditions” and “financial challenges”.
Bathija claims Vauld investors withdrew $197.7 million throughout June 2022. Sounds to me like the inevitable “withdrawals exceeded new investment” Ponzi end-game.
While Bathija is based out of India, Vauld, like Bank of Hodlers, is set up as a Singapore shell company. Singapore has a poor history of regulating offshore securities fraud.
Unfortunately, rather than just admit his rebooted Ponzi scheme collapsed again, Bathija (right) is pretending Vauld is a legitimate company with options;
(Vauld) has engaged the services of Kroll as its financial advisor, and legal firms Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP in India and Singapore, respectively.
“We believe this will help facilitate our exploration of the suitability of potential restructuring options, together with our financial and legal advisors.
We seek the understanding of the customers of the Vauld platform that we will not be in a position to process any new or further requests or instructions in this regard.
Specific arrangements will be made for customer deposits necessary for certain customers to meet margin calls in connection with collateralised loans,” Bathija wrote.
Similarweb tracks 55% of visitors to Vauld’s website as originating from India. The US is the second largest source of traffic, coming in at 14%.
Citing court documents filed in Singapore (Vauld has filed for protection against its investors there), Decrypt pegs Vauld’s known assets at “around $330 million”.
The problem is there’s only $287.7 million backing this amount. And the longer the Ponzi scheme runs, the larger that discrepancy gets.
While Singaporean authorities are unlikely to do anything about the scam, Indian authorities have frozen Rs. 370 crore of Vauld’s assets ($46.4 million USD).
In a press-release response to the enforcement action, Vauld labelled the freeze “unfortunate”.
We follow strict KYC requirements in every country, including India. We are seeking legal advice on our best course of action in order to protect the interests of the company, its customers, and all the stakeholders.
KYC isn’t a substitute for registering with financial regulators and filing audited financial report. I personally pointed this out to Bathija himself back in June 2019.
The exchange was prompted by Bathija labelling BehindMLM’s accurate assessment of Bank of Hodlers being a Ponzi scheme, as “worthless clickbait that’s not researched well at all.”
With the exception of Twitter, which he rarely uses, Bathija has locked down his social media profiles. Whether he’s still in India or has fled is unclear.