Blockchain technology has brought a wave of disruption across all industry sectors through smart contracts, tokenization, decentralization, etc. The innovative technology of our times has also given birth to the concept of Initial Coin Offerings. While many legitimate ICOs are conducted every year, there are few exceptions. They offer an easy platform for conmen to do malicious activities. Let’s take a look at 10 of the biggest scams that were orchestrated through ICOs in the year 2018.
Famed rapper THE GAME and Miss Iowa committed a scam of USD 70 million. They leveraged the trending news of cannabis legalization and went on to invest the accumulated funds through the ICO in real estate.
The PLEXCOIN scam helped the conmen to raise as much as USD 15 million. They purportedly claimed that PLEXCOIN was better than the Bitcoin, and they even boasted of a partnership with VISA. When caught, the SEC termed it as a ‘full fledged cyber crime’.
- BITCOIIN (B2G)
The scammers roped in Hollywood celeb Setevn Segal to promote their ICO. They claimed that the code base would be open source, when in reality it turned out to be closed. The conmen claimed that their ICO was to be the second generation Bitcoin and garnered over USD 75 million from unsuspecting investors.
The scam of USD 2 million was conducted when the team members (who were hackers) claimed to be from the famous social network Telegram They were able to convince people to sell their Ethereum for the purported Telegram private sale.
The PRODEUM scam was worth as much as USD 6.5 million. The culprits scammed people by misleading people into believing that they were launching a Blockchain-based platform for fruits and vegetables. After getting the necessary funds, they shut their website and fled.
The CENTRATECH scam raised above USD 32 million. The conmen hired celebs to promote the ICO. Their ICO claimed that a platform will be developed which will enable users to convert crypto into fiat easily through the debit card system.
The rumour mill has it that the ONECOIN ICO scammed people of a massive USD 300 million. The mastermind was a woman from Bulgaria by the name of Dr.Ruja Ignatova.
The BENEBIT ICO was planned meticulously to siphon off as much money as possible from the unsuspecting investors. In the end, the ICO turned out to be fake, while investors collectively lost USD 3 to 4 million.
ARISEBANK scam siphoned off USD 600 million from crypto investors. Here again, a celeb was made the spokesperson. The culprits claimed that they had a partnership with VISA. A complaint was filed against the conmen in the US Federal Court.
- iFAn and PINCOIN
This scam finds its home in Vietnam where a company by the name of ModernTech launched 2 ICOs, namely iFan and PINCOIN. While they claimed that they will be issuing ERC-20 compliant tokens, it was nothing more than a big hoax.