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The $20k Scam That Rocked Astrotwig

 

In a tale that reads like a screenplay for the digital age, a group of final-year students and co-founders of Astrotwig found themselves ensnared in a web of hope, ambition, and eventual despair. Their journey, which took them from the prestigious stages of Midem, the world’s largest music conference, to the lows of a high-tech scam, highlights the vulnerabilities of startups in the fast-paced tech world.

The team behind Astrotwig, led by the enthusiastic visionary known on Twitter as @SegzsADaEngine, ventured to Midem last month with high hopes. They sought funding and partnerships to propel their dream into reality, a common narrative for many startups looking to make their mark. However, despite their efforts and presentations, they returned empty-handed, a setback that did not deter their spirits but rather fueled their determination.

The turn of events came unexpectedly when, weeks after their pitch, a supposed investor reached out. This individual claimed to have been present at their Midem pitch and expressed an interest in investing the $1 million the team sought for their pre-seed phase. This investment was to come in the form of a convertible loan, a beacon of hope in what seemed like a dire situation for the team. Eager to see their project succeed, @SegzsDaEngine and his co-founders proceeded with due diligence, legal bindings, and preparations for the funds to be transferred.

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Given the complexities of banking in Nigeria, the decision was made to conduct the transaction through the Polygon network, a blockchain platform known for its security and efficiency. The investor requested a validation of the team’s financial stability, asking to see $20,000 in the company’s account as proof of their seriousness. In a desperate bid to secure the investment, the team pooled all their resources, even borrowing money, to meet this request.

The story took a dark turn when, upon the investor’s request to test the newly created wallet with a $19 transaction, @SegzsDaEngine mistakenly sent $19,000. This error, whether due to a technical glitch or a momentary lapse, resulted in the immediate loss of the funds. The investor vanished, blocking all lines of communication and leaving the team not only without the promised investment but also in significant debt.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the risks involved in the pursuit of funding and the increasing sophistication of scams targeting startups. The team’s appeal for help and their search for genuine investors reflect not only their resilience but also the harsh realities of navigating the tech startup ecosystem.

As Astrotwig’s story unfolds, it sheds light on the broader challenges and pitfalls that lie in wait for entrepreneurs, especially those operating within the digital and blockchain spaces. It’s a cautionary tale of how dreams can be derailed by deception, and a call to the tech community for support, vigilance, and solidarity.

 

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