It would be fair to say that Bitcoin is alive and well. Ever since establishing a bottom of $3,150 in December 2018, the leading cryptocurrency has embarked on a strong recovery.
As of the time of writing this, Bitcoin has found itself changing hands for nearly $12,000 apiece. This strong price appreciation within a span of six months has also led to a resurgence in the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem, marked by newfangled institutional involvement, corporate partnerships, and venture capital injections.
And, most importantly, Bitcoin’s return to five digits has allowed it to grace the screens of common Joes and Jills once again, as shows and outlets like Jeopardy, 60 Minutes, and CNBC have started to incessantly cover and name drop cryptocurrencies.
Crypto Scams Are Back
This crypto resurrection, so to speak, hasn’t come without its consequences though. Over the past few months, Ponzi schemes involving cryptocurrency or at least mentioning the asset class in passing have returned en-masse, resulting in a series of consumer losses.
These scams, which rose to prominence during 2017’s monumental bull run, have already started to affect investors across the globe.
In India, a nation soon expected to impose an all-encompassing, harsh ban on Bitcoin and non-sovereign cryptocurrencies, recently made a number of arrests against schemers. Reported by The Times of India last week, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of India has taken custody of four individuals. They are alleged of creating a cryptocurrency called “KBC Coin”, a project which earlier promised an investment return of over 10,000% within a short time period.
The CID claims that KBC Coin was marketed exactly like a classic pyramid scheme, touting a multi-level reward mechanism that rewarded those that took the plunge early and managed to draw others into the “business”. It is unclear how much capital KBC Coin’s founders managed to swindle.
A brief aside, India has been known for housing a number of Ponzi schemes that used the brands of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency to turn a quick buck. Most notably, Bitconnect, the $2 billion pyramid that collapsed in 2018, has been reported to have roots in the nation. This may be why the nation’s financial regulators are staunch critics of the broader industry.
In a similar string of news, a couple in Australia lost over $14,000 in a Bitcoin scam. A hacker managed to convince the duo that a website, Coinexx.org, they were visiting was a legitimate cryptocurrency service, leading to the couple siphoning the sum to the addresses that were provided.
Potato, Potato: Tron, Wave Field
KBC Coin and Coinexx.org are far from the worst of the recent crypto shams. Despite the fact that China has banned most things related to the cryptocurrency industry, the nation was recently rocked by a massive scam.
Over the course of a number of months, a project piggybacking off Chinese crypto upstart Tron’s success is reported to have stolen over $30 million from local investors. Known as “Wave Field Super Community”, the firm claimed to be a Super Representative, meaning a leading node, of the Tron blockchain, managing to secure funding from many, likely thousands of investors. The thing is, Justin Sun, the chief executive of Tron and a known Chinese entrepreneur, failed to disassociate and discredit Wave Field. This scam was so damaging that it has been reported that a Chinese single mother committed suicide after the scam collapsed, leaving a debt unpaid.
Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency Youtuber Boxmining recently commented on the rise of cryptocurrency in China, specifically discussing how scams like the aforementioned have already begun to rock the population.
While there are some being swindled by these get rich quick schemes, it is important to note that by and large, cryptocurrency investors are now much more knowledgeable than before. So, with time, these schemes should theoretically be phased out by bonafide projects with equally as valid use cases. That’s the hope anyway.