A major South American Bitcoin exchange may be going down in São Paulo, Brazil

A company named STM Investimentos (aka STM Operações) which ran a Bitcoin investment fund and the STMBit Exchange has stopped all payments, quit taking calls and investors are furious.

According to G1 news portal, users sold cars and took out loans in order to invest in STM – and now they feel like they’ve lost everything.

One investor drove 600 km to STM’s headquarters but claims he only found a few employees who could not offer any details beyond excuses for the payment delays. None of the company’s executives were found for comment.

In a late January announcement, the company stated that all visits must be scheduled and that no more than 30 clients would be serviced per day.

How did it work?

We can’t say we haven’t seen this before in other well known (and now closed)  schemes.

The fund promised a 31% weekly return rate on Bitcoin deposits, which is over 500% higher than the country’s yearly official interest rate SELIC.

This is 26,000% higher, per year, than the return in Brazil’s treasuries. Such return rates should be cause for concern in any kind of investment, especially in unregulated markets.

Promotional videos by STM can be found on Youtube:

The STM website claims to have over 7000 clients and the domain name was registered in March 2017. Domain ownership changed just 3 days ago on February 19, 2018 according to Registro.BR public whois data. (November 2018 Update: The domain has since expired and the website is no longer active. Link to stminvestimentos.com.br has been removed.)

We urge all crypto investors to perform due diligence and only invest what they can afford to lose. One investor in STM claims he needed the car which he invested in order to drive his ill niece to medical treatment. This is the kind of capital you should never risk in any sort of investment.

If return rates seem too high to be real, then they probably are. The Brazilian Prosecutor’s Office has been informed of the scheme at least since January 2018.