If you have any familiarity with the cryptocurrency markets you are surely familiar with ICO scams. Initial Coin Offerings have surfaced largely as a fundraising tactic that challenges traditional investment banking methods.
The ICO craze exploded in in 2017 with figures of over $6 billion being raised according to icodata.io. It’s only halfway through the year of 2018 and total amount raised by ICOs has already hit the $5 billion mark.
Unfortunately, where there is money to be made, there are scammers looking to make a quick dollar.
In this article, we have broken down 4 of the most notorious ICOs that have scammed investors:
OneCoin was marketed as a coin to facilitate the sale of educational trading materials. Red flags were quickly raised around the project after the OneCoin team was linked to previous Ponzi schemes.
In January of 2017, OneCoin Exchange, the only exchange that allowed for the coins to be converted to other cryptocurrencies was shut down without warning. It was soon discovered that the majority of the organization’s website contained falsified information.
On April 23rd, Indian authorities raided a OneCoin recruitment event, jailing 18 of their members. The scam resulted in the loss in the amount of multimillions.
PlexCoin claimed to be working on a coin that could be used without transaction management and verification.
To an experienced investor, the promise of 1,300% return on investment is an obvious cause for concern. It appears however greed overtook many, allowing Plexcoin to scam thousands.
$15 million was generated through the ICO with thousands of investors being duped. The Security and Exchange Commission quickly froze the company’s funds and founder Dominic Lacroix was jailed.
Modern Tech, a Vietnam-based company, recently made headlines when it was discovered that they were operating not one but two ICO scams. These ICOs went by the names Pincoin and iFan.
iFan promised to create a social media for the socially elite to interact with their fans. PinCoin was a classic ponzi scheme, offering 40% monthly returns and 8% commission on every new member brought into the network.
Estimates put the statistics at 32,000 investors scammed for around $650 million dollars, making this scam the largest in history.
With a slogan as genius as “Sharing is caring” it’s hard to image how this company was unsuccessful.
BitConnect is likely the most notorious scam in the industry.
Another clear Ponzi scheme, BitConnect claimed to have created a bitcoin lending platform that would allow lenders to return investments of over 50% per month.
The company hosted lavish events across the globe and offered unrealistically high referral fees, feeding into the success of this red flag-laden scheme.
Who could forget this classic:
As a reminder, before investing in an ICO keep these tips in mind:
- A guaranteed return on investment is a huge red flag.
- Read the company’s whitepaper to get a better idea of the vision for a coin. Determine whether you believe the company has realistic and well thought out plans.
- Celebrity endorsements mean nothing regarding the integrity of the coin or company. Celebrities are easily paid to promote products they may be completely unfamiliar with. **cough** Floyd Mayweather **cough**