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A novice crypto investor ended up with £185,000 worth of Bitcoin in his account by mistake after he was accidentally sent the payment.
Steve Brooks – who has only been trading for a month – is one of hundreds of people who mistakenly received a sum of money from cryptocurrency lender BlockFi.
The 38-year-old was left baffled after he received a notification from the US-based company saying he had won 5.23 Bitcoin, worth £185,000 at the time, as part of a promotion.
Before this, Mr Brooks, from Doncaster in South Yorkshire, only had £60 worth of Bitcoin in his account.
He then transferred the currency into another cryptocurrency wallet to check if it was legit – which it was.
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He said: “I had no idea what was going on. I assumed it must have been legitimate, as it is very hard to scam people with cryptocurrency.
“I could have done anything with it at that point – changed it into another currency or withdrawn it into my bank account.”
BlockFi had mistakenly sent millions of pounds worth of Bitcoin to hundreds of customers as part of a promotion scheme.
In one of the most extreme errors, one user on Twitter claimed he had been sent the equivalent of 700 Bitcoin, or £21million at the time.
But the mistake ended up with BlockFi threatening Mr Brooks with legal action unless he returned the funds.
In an email to Mr Brooks, the lender said: “Failure to return the erroneously received assets constitutes a crime and will result in BlockFi taking legal action.”
Mr Brooks consulted with lawyers over the payment and ended up agreeing to return the Bitcoin in exchange for £3,500 compensation.
He said: “It’s a very murky world cryptocurrency. It was quite exciting, potentially they would have no recourse to the funds.
“After a few days of sitting on it, I’ve made a bit of money.
“There’s still the thought in the back of my mind that what if I’d held onto the Bitcoin.”
In a statement on Twitter, BlockFi said: “Some clients who participated in the March trading promotion may see an inaccurate bonus payment displayed in their transaction history.
“Our team is working on a fix and the proper amounts will be reflected shortly.”
Cryptocurrencies are known for being extremely volatile – which means they fluctuate rapidly in value – and are considered a risky investment.
Bitcoin is one of many crypto assets that have crashed in recent weeks – sitting at around 50% of its all time high – after China launched a crackdown on the market.
China has now banned financial institutions and payment companies from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions.
They have also warned investors against speculative crypto trading.
Bitcoin has also been dented by news that Telsa would no longer accept it as a form of payment.
The price of Bitcoin fell below £24,030 for the first time in three months on Wednesday – although it has this morning pulled back slightly to £26,741.
Ethereum, Cardano, dogecoin and other major cryptocurrencies have also dropped in value in recent days.
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This content was originally published here.