As the year draws to a close, let’s examine the top 5 cryptocurrency and ICO scams of 2018. Were you unlucky enough (or dare I say greedy enough) to lose money with one of these? Let us know in the comments.
It took less than 2 weeks for this scheme to unravel. On the 7th January 2018 a Bitconnect token traded for $431.79, then crashing down to $15.20 just over a week later and then flat lining around zero. Bitconnect began with an ICO in 2016 for a crypto lending platform that offered users absurdly high ROI promises.
Vitalik Buterin famously called out Bitconnect as a ‘ponzi’ when he discovered the advertised 1% a day reward.
Yeah, if 1%/day is what they offer then that’s a ponzi.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) November 2, 2017
The interesting thing about the entire Bitconnect debacle is that its collapse did not come as a surprise to the crypto community. The project had become something of a living meme months before its collapse:
It still shocks me that even as late as December and January, investors were still pouring in money and the project’s die hard fans defending Bitconnect and it’s exceptionally dubious leadership team including Trevon James. The video below is Trevon’s last public statement regarding Bitconnect and he urges investors not to blame him and to keep their assets on the bitconnect platform.
“The price always goes back up”
Trevon says with confidence to his followers.
Bitconnect was hit with an emergency cease and desist letter from the Texas Securities Board and the house of cards that had stood for far, far too long finally collapsed.
Another trap that investors must have been living under a rock not to hear the dire warning about. This bogus cloud mining operation based in Dubai offered investors similar ROI promises as Bitconnect (around 1% a day to top level affiliates) and was also hit with the same emergency cease and desist from the Texas Securites Board stating on the order:
Texas Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles entered an Emergency Cease and Desist Order Dec. 20 against USI-Tech Limited, an overseas firm that is promising low-risk, triple-digit returns from investments tied to Bitcoin mining.
The Texas Securities Board claimed that the Dubai based firm was using two sales agents located domestically in the U.S were:
Soliciting investors in dozens of Texas cities through targeted craigslist advertisements, YouTube videos, and standalone websites.
CryptoKami raised $12,000,000 from it’s ICO which offered investors the chance to profit from “3rd generation blockchain infrastructure for global financial services”.
The alleged goal of the Kryptokami project was to become the federal reserve of the cryptocurrency landscape by becoming the main Blockchain Decentralized Reserve System“.
The companies roadmap was extremely ambitious:
August 2018 – Issuance of Visa/MasterCard cards for cryptocurrency payments.
December 2018 – Beta banking services for end users.
Instead however the Japanese based ICO team simply took the money, shut down the website and disappeared with the loot.
Capital Expanse (CAPX)
Another cryptocurrency ‘lending token’ that ended up becoming just another ponzi in 2018 was Capital Expanse. Launched by a handful of Youtubers, the project aimed to:
We want to bring crypto to the masses by offering value in a user-friendly environment. We are not here to re-invent the blockchain, we simply want to make it easily accessible and user friendly for the masses.
Source: White Rabbit
And indeed they did not ‘re-invent the blockchain, or anything for that matter. When the price of bitcoin started to tumbled they closed up shop and shut down the website. Another exit scam…
The Ponzi King. Unlike other schemes which grow their network through affiliate and MLM practices, OneCoin has acquired members through the purchase of other failed (or failing) ponzi’s.
Conligus – 10,000 members
Univer – 120,000 members
OPN – 400,000 members
Bonofa – 60,000 members
BNG International – 10,000 members
Source: A Bit Greedy
The OneCoin scheme masquerades as an education company for traders. In order to join OneCoin you need to purchase a level training package (ranging from 100 to 118,000 euros). Packages come with ‘tokens’ which can then be assigned to mine OneCoin from dedicated pools. The company claims that they do not sell crypto currency or OneCoins, however reports of people who have visited their events claim that there is very little talk of the educational material.
You can only buy OneCoin through the OneCoin Exchange xcoinx or through private marketplaces open only to top tier investors.
Like almost all other MLM scams, the scheme offers direct sales and signup benefits to reward those who expand the OneCoin network.
OneCoin is not listed on CoinMarketCap and arrests have been made regarding the projects leadership in China. Additionally, the Hungarian Central Bank issued a statement warning its citizens about the scam, calling it an outright pyramid scheme.
Who you’re reading:
David Black is a staff writer at The Decentral, living and writing in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He’s also the author of both fiction and non fiction books and likes to debate the finer parts of crypto currency and politics to anyone who will listen.
You can learn more about David here.
For questions or story ideas, you can contact David
Disclaimer: Any and all opinions expressed here are those of David Black alone. The article is for educational and/or entertainment purposes only, so please use it at your own risk.