- Eli Regalado faces accusations of a $1.3M crypto scam involving INDXcoin.
- Kingdom Wealth Exchange, managed by Regalado, shut down.
- Regalado targeted Christian communities, making outlandish promises of wealth.
In recent years, crypto has found adopters among most industries, ranging from fashion to supply chain management. However, a recent scandal has brought attention to another industry integrating crypto: pastors preaching the prosperity gospel.
At the intersection between faith and get-rich-quick schemes, the prosperity gospel promises lavish financial rewards for the faithful; if they are willing to donate. One such pastor has landed himself under investigation by US authorities after his failed crypto venture left its supporters in the hole for $1.3 million.
Pastor Accused of $1.3 Million Crypto Rug Pull
Eli Regalado, a Colorado-based pastor and the founder of INDXcoin, found himself in the spotlight after admitting he is facing charges from the Colorado Securities and Exchange Commission (CSEC).
The charges came after some 300 investors, mostly recruited from his online congregation at Victorious Grace Church, were left stuck with INDXcoin worth a total of $1.3 million. After buying the tokens, they could not sell them or do anything with them.
This is why the Colorado regulator stepped in, deeming the tokens legally “worthless,” the pastor revealed in a video on his website on Thursday, January 18. At the same time, the regulator accuses him of spending the money on his lavish lifestyle, including a $300,000 remodeling of his home.
Selling tokens that can’t be redeemed is often called a “rug pull” by crypto investors and is one of the most common types of crypto fraud. The pastor, however, claims that defrauding investors was not his intention. Instead, he blamed technical issues at his Kingdom Wealth Exchange, which was supposed to allow traders to sell the tokens.
Pastors Promise Financial Gain Through Donations
Eli Regalado is a part of the “prosperity gospel,” a growing movement promising financial gain to followers through faith and, more importantly, donations. Pastors like Regalando urge their typically online congregations to “sow seeds” through financial contributions to them.
These “seeds” are supposed to grow and yield a substantial harvest in the form of financial rewards. However, in the Regalado case, the “seeds” sown by the 300 INDXcoin investors led to financial loss and disillusionment, all while enriching the pastor.
The prosperity gospel is legal in the United States, and pastors face no penalties for unrealistic promises of financial gains. Were it not for the crypto element in this story, pastor Regalado would be free to dazzle his followers with promises of huge financial rewards; if only they sent him money.
On the Flipside
- CSEC’s involvement in the pastor’s crypto scheme raises questions about the precedent crypto regulations set for other industries, including the prosperity churches.
- Despite curious cases like these, crypto hack and scam losses have actually fallen in 2023, down to $2 billion.
Why This Matters
The case of pastor Eli Regalado shows how crypto investments find their way into many industries, sometimes used by unscrupulous actors for monetary gain. It also shows that a growing number of people are familiar and comfortable with crypto investments.
Read more about the state of crypto scams in the last year:
$2 Billion Lost to Crypto Scams and Cyberattacks in 2023
Read more about Solana’s latest surge in stablecoins:
Can Solana Stablecoin Volume Threaten Ethereum’s Dominance?