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Two Australian cryptocurrency schemes have collapsed, leaving investors potentially owed over $150 million. Ash Balanian, who claims to be a former NASA mission scientist, has been ordered by the Federal Court to hand over his passport and freeze his assets up to $55 million. Liquidators from KordaMentha have been appointed to three companies operated by Balanian that offered cryptocurrency investments. Concerned investors sought to have the companies wound up due to management concerns, licensing issues, and breaches of investment scheme requirements. Some investor redemption requests were met while others were still pending at the time of the court action, raising concerns about the impact on investors.

Further investigations by liquidators are expected to reveal more investors, with the total owed amount likely to increase significantly in the coming months. KordaMentha’s examination of the Fund suggests that there may be up to 100 investors owed money, with creditor claims potentially reaching $100 million. Balanian has not responded to requests for information or engagement with KordaMentha to assist in their duties. Balanian, an American businessman, has a background in cryptocurrency and was involved in the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory mission as a Command Controller and Mission Planner.

The freezing order issued by the Federal Court covers Balanian’s $7 million home in Ingleside and four other houses. Liquidators have been appointed to DCA Capital, Digital Commodity Assets, and the Digital Commodity Assets Fund in response to concerns from investors about the management of the fund and compliance issues. Balanian’s legal team declined to comment on the matter but is preparing a response to the allegations. The liquidators expect to uncover more investors as their investigation progresses and the total amount owed may continue to grow.

Investors in the cryptocurrency schemes had sought returns on their investments through a redemption process, with some requests being fulfilled and others still pending. The shutdown of the group’s operations has raised concerns about the potential negative impact on investors who have not received their redemption requests. Balanian’s failure to engage with KordaMentha and provide information has hindered the liquidators’ efforts to determine the extent of investor claims and the overall financial situation of the schemes. The collapse of the cryptocurrency schemes highlights the risks associated with investing in unregulated and speculative markets.

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