See what were the 7 biggest cryptocurrency scams in the world

Charlie Taylor

The history of Bitcoin is unfortunately marked by a series of scams, pyramids and other schemes that have already accumulated billions of dollars with crypto. But what have been the biggest schemes to date and what can we learn from them? In this article we will name by name the biggest scams in the cryptocurrency market, and demonstrate why you should keep a 'foot in the back' with all the companies that ask for your valuable ones bitcoins. The ranking below is based on estimated numbers of the amount stolen, victims injured and the negative impact that the schemes have had on the crypto community.

1 OneCoin

Onecoin collapsedSimilar to the Brazilian pyramid KriptaCoin, despite its name, OneCoin was also never a blockchain cryptocurrency, but it was advertised as a highly successful digital currency. According to unofficial sources, they stole more than R $ 107 billion from the victims. Official sources speak for R $ 27 billion, however, employees are working with leaked documents that have the data from 2014 to 2017, and therefore do not include those injured in 2018 and 2019.


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Like many other scams, OneCoin insists on continuing to function and attracting even more customers, despite the fact that its original CEO disappeared in 2017 and the alternate CEO was arrested for fraud and money laundering. They are selling useless tokens in the form of “packages. education ”, promising high returns to members. The scam was never closed and there are still "leaders" who are trying to attract more people to the system with the intention of subtracting their money.Fraud amount: R $ 27-107 billionDeceived users: 3,000,000See also: Two ponzi prosecutors found dead in Mexico

2 BitConneeeeeeeeect

via GIPHY “Hey, hey, heeey”… Almost everyone in the Bitcoin community knows about the Bitconnect scheme due to the ridiculous stage presentation by Carlos Matos, who quickly became one of the best-known crypto-space memes. BitConnect (BCC) in fact had a token and because of its pyramidal structure, it had several youtubers promoting the scam. It was launched in 2016 as if it were a loan platform, but it turned out to be a Ponzi scheme over time. During the period it was run, it was promoted by huge youtubers who were making money through referral links. CryptoNick, Trevon James and Craig Grant were some of the big names that were actively promoting. It is estimated that influencers damaged their audience by about R $ 16.8 million. On January 3, 2018, the Texas State Securities Board issued an order to cease and desist for the company, calling it the Ponzi scheme and citing flaws transparency of user earnings and misleading statements. Just 14 days after the Bitconnect exit scam, the price of the token lost all its value, dropping to 0.Fraud amount: R $ 14-19.5 billionDeceived users: 1,500,000

3 PlusToken

Plustoken leadersWith thousands of Chinese and Korean victims, PlusToken was a ponzi touted as a “high-yield investment program”. The scheme offered monthly returns of 9% to 18% on the investment for its victims, also very similar with several Brazilian scams. Their approach was different from the Bitconnect call, for example, they focused more on meetings and off- online to chat in person with potential investors. In this way, they were able to create a large user base of investors, even outside the cryptocurrency world. At the end of June 2019, the first problems began to occur. People were no longer able to withdraw their profits from the platform. The PlusToken team tried to hide the fact that they were ready to conduct an exit scam and blamed the miners. But not long after that, they officially fled with more than R $ 16.7 billion in large amounts of BTC, ETH and EOS. Some people believe that the eviction of their cryptocurrencies was the reason why BTC fell in 2019. Six of the team members were located and handed over to the Chinese authorities to put them on trial. The PlusToken exit-scam transaction had a note: “Sorry, we ran away”.Fraud amount: R $ 16.7 billionDeceived users: 100,000

4 Bitcoin Savings & Trust

Trendon ShaversMany people have never heard of this ponzi because it was launched at the beginning of Bitcoin in 2011, however, it showed how BTC could be used by scammers who take advantage of people's ignorance about something still new. Shavers, also known as "Pirate". He claimed that he was selling BTC to some local buyers and needed more BTC to provide liquidity. People started sending coins to him. In theory, he would sell them over the counter (OTC) and repurchase for a better price on the market and refund people up to 7% more per week. He ended up announcing a Bitcoin Savings & Trust default on August 28, 2012. The vast majority of the money was never returned to users and it was proven that the money was directed to: rent, car-related expenses, services, retail purchases, casinos and meals. Back then, accumulating 700,000 BTC at once was huge, as the crypto space was much smaller than it is today. In July 2013, the SEC accused Trendon Shavers of defrauding investors in a Ponzi scheme and sentenced Trendon to 18 months. in prison.Fraud amount: R $ 32.4 billion (at current quote)Deceived users: 10,000

5 Unick Forex

Unick Forex DirectorsUnick Forex was a Brazilian financial pyramid that offered up to 3% of income a day to its customers. This is such an absurd rate that if an investor invested 10 thousand reais he would have "guaranteed" R $ 484 million in one year. The company guaranteed that investments were made in cryptocurrency trading such as Bitcoin, arbitrage and Forex. The Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) soon banned the company from attracting investors in 2018. But despite the order, the scheme continued to recruit new participants to raise money. The number of customers compared to a large national cryptocurrency exchange. With an absurd number of victims, the pyramid only collapsed when the Federal Police ended the party with the Lamanai operation, which arrested the main members of Unick Forex. Altogether there are 13 indicted, among them Leidimar Bernardo, Danter Navar and Fernando Baum. According to a report by the police authorities, Unick ended up owing R $ 12 billion to about 1 million customers. It is estimated that the total amount handled by the scheme was 28 billion reais, becoming without doubt the largest financial pyramid related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in Brazil.Fraud amount: R $ 12 billionDeceived users: 1,000,000

6 Pincoin and iFan

Fraudulent ICOs (initial coin offers) could not be left out of that list, such as Pincoin and iFan, managed by the same company Modern Tech. They were promising 48% profit to investors just after one month and full investment payback after 4 months. A return completely outside the market average and without transparency. In addition, the 8% commission for the referral program was yet another clear indication of a classic Ponzi scheme. To attract people, they organized several face-to-face events across Asia. IFan should be a celebrity app to connect with your fans and sell your goods. Shortly after the company ran out of new victims entering its Ponzi, they stopped to pay people, the media went on to talk about it and Modern Tech was accused by several reports of being a financial pyramid.Fraud amount: R $ 3.6 billionDeceived users: 32,000

7 Atlas Quantum

Rodrigo Marques CEO of Atlas QuantumImagine a supposed quantum robot capable of performing arbitrage with its bitcoins and delivering a return of around 1 to 3% per month. Without promises of profit as absurd as ordinary ponzis, the Brazilian Atlas Quantum resembled more with Maddoff's improved pyramids, an investment opportunity without any transparency but that offered high returns to customers. consistently and made great marketing moves with famous actors, all while breaking promises that there would be a transparent audit of the company. Even CVM, when realizing that the company offered collective investment contracts without proper authorization, issued a stop order. This caused a wave of mass withdrawals that collapsed the scheme. To remain active today, Atlas unilaterally transformed all of its debts from BTC to BTCQ, a useless token created by the company itself to pay customers at no cost. Despite losing countless lawsuits, few victims have actually managed to block some of the company's value. The whereabouts of CEO Rodrigo Marques are still uncertain today.Fraud amount: R $ 1 billionDeceived users: 40,000Unfortunately, cryptocurrencies are still widely used as a kind of showcase for scammers to target victims. These schemes end up damaging the image of Bitcoin for laypeople who end up confusing the cryptocurrency itself with the scams that use its name. Safely storing your bitcoins also consists of containing greed and being careful of fallacious promises of high returns. We recorded an episode of the Satoshi Connection podcast focused only on this topic, watch below and see how to identify a financial pyramid. See also: What is a financial pyramid or ponzi? Don't fall for the scam!

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