The success of digital currency like Bitcoin has jumpstarted an industry that incorporates Blockchain technology in various innovative ways.
We have some of the smartest minds creating game-changing companies that are backed by the power of cryptocurrency and Blockchain. Conversely, we have some nefarious minds that have jumped on the bandwagon, ripping off unwitting investors in some of the biggest scams ever.
Here are three of the biggest cryptocurrency scams that immediately grabbed headlines!
OneCoin has been involved in a number of investigations in the past 18 months. In India, the scheme was officially labeled as ‘clear Ponzi’ and after two months, it was fined around €2.5 mln, by some Italian authorities.
OneCoin did not operate a legitimate decentralized ICO. Moreover, it doesn’t hold any public ledge and, in January, its Bulgarian offices were raided and servers were seized by the authorities. The court cases and international investigations continued against the company. Similarly, over $30mln were seized in the year 2016 by Chinese authorities, which thoroughly investigated the operation of OneCoin in the country.
Bulgaria, Thailand, Norway, Finland, and Croatia are just some countries that have already warned investors about the involved risks if they choose to invest in this country.
It was another scam that was labeled a Ponzi scheme. The operation of Bitconnect discontinued back in January and in the wake of desists and cease order from American financial regulators. On the Bitconnect platform, user traded Bitcoin for BCC (Bitconnect), launched in January 2017, as it promised huge returns on investors’ investment.
In addition to that, the company also ran a kind of lending program, in which users lent Bitconnect out to various other users, to get interested, based on how much Bitconnect they had already lent on the platform. This Ponzi scheme also offered a referral system.
Thus, when the operation shut down the exchange platform and lending scheme, the cryptocurrency investors were hardly sympathetic. Tons of users filed a lawsuit against Bit connect in order to recoup the lost funds that amounted to around $700,000 for the particular claim.
Centratech took the spotlight when the operation was endorsed by the likes of celebrities like DJ Khaled and boxer Floyd Mayweather. The company offered a Master and Visa debit card serviced that enabled the users to easily convert their cryptocurrency to fiat.
Since then, two of the founders are under arrest and facing fraud charges. These charges are relating to cryptocurrency that raised almost $32 mln as per the Ars Technica.
As SEC highlighted, the founders, Robert Farkas and Sohrab Sharma, created fictional executives having impressive biographies. They posted misleading and false marketing material on the website of Centra and even paid them to tout the cryptocurrency on their social media platforms.
Investors Should Be Diligent
Considering three biggest cryptocurrency scams above, it is obvious that fraudsters go extraordinary lengths to rip off unsuspecting investors. This indicates that there is a dire need for investors to pay due consideration before making investment decisions, especially when it comes to highly tempting and volatile digital currency.