TOP 10 Biggest Crypto Scams [Updated March 2023]
Discover the top 10 cryptocurrency scams making headlines, resulting in billions in losses for investors. From NFT collections to Ponzi schemes, be cautious and do your research.
As the popularity of cryptocurrency continues to soar, it's no surprise that it has also become a prime target for scammers. From deceiving investors with fake initial coin offerings (ICOs) to luring them into Ponzi schemes, these scams have resulted in billions of dollars in losses for unsuspecting victims.
Fasten your seatbelts, because we're taking you on a tour of the top 10 crypto scams that have been making headlines.
10. Bored Bunnies ($20M)
The developers roped in celebrities like Floyd Mayweather, DJ Khaled, and Jake Paul to promote the project, promising NFT enthusiasts access to exclusive events, virtual land, and the ability to breed new NFTs.
But instead of delivering on those promises, the developers focused on breeding more and more NFTs, launching a derivative project, Bored Bad Bunny, just days after the original launch. And then, a Mutant Bad Bunny collection soon after.
In the end, the project raised over $20 million, but the developers went silent and the project stalled. Twitter sleuth ZachXBT exposed the project and the founders, and legal action was taken against them. But by then, it was too late for investors who were left high and dry.
9. Baller Apes Scam ($100M)
When Le Anh Tuan unleashed his wild and crazy Baller Apes NFT collection, investors were chomping at the bit to get a piece of the action. But little did they know, Tuan was just playing monkey business with their money.
After cashing in on the collection launch, he disappeared into the jungle, leaving behind a trail of empty wallets and broken dreams. By June 2022, the law caught up with him and he was slapped with a hefty charge of crypto chicanery, leaving investors out of pocket to the tune of $100 million.
Don't let this gorilla play you for a fool, always do your research before investing in any NFT collection.
8. QuadrigaCX ($200M)
QuadrigaCX was a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange founded by Gerald "Gerry" Cotten in 2013. By 2017, the company had amassed over 350,000 customers.
Cotten had harnessed all of the private keys to users' wallets, which allowed him to transfer almost $200 million to other exchanges and support his high-end lifestyle. Over a hundred thousand customers were left without a way to withdraw their funds. It was later revealed that Cotten had taken all of the funds for himself and used QuadrigaCX as a Ponzi scheme.
However, in December 2018, Cotten suddenly died during his honeymoon in India. Shortly after Cotten's death, QuadrigaCX closed temporarily for maintenance and never re-opened. The majority of the funds remain missing, and there are suspicions surrounding Cotten's death. Some believe that he faked his death to avoid legal pursuit.
7. JuicyFields Scam ($273M)
The JuicyFields platform promised huge returns for investing in the cultivation of cannabis plants, with a minimum stake of just €50. Investors were told they would earn high-interest rates, from 36% to 66%, just three months later.
But in July 2022, the site suddenly disappeared and thousands of investors' funds evaporated. Muriel, an executive in the pharmaceutical industry, invested €6,500 into Juicy Fields, believing in both its financial promise and its supposed mission to develop the therapeutic benefits of cannabis.
When the site closed abruptly and her money was gone, she realized she had been scammed. JuicyFields.io scam: investors lost $273 million worth of cryptocurrency as of July 2022.
6. GainBitcoin ($300M)
Looking to make a quick buck, Amit Bhardwaj pulled off the ultimate hustle with the GainBitcoin scam. He promised investors a 10% return on their investment every month but instead pocketed over $300 million from unsuspecting Indian victims.
He sold the idea of cloud-mining Bitcoin by purchasing GainBitcoin tokens, but in reality, he was just using the money to pay off fake returns and not for any actual mining equipment.
But the party couldn't last forever and in March 2018, Bhardwaj was finally caught and arrested. Unfortunately, he passed away in January 2022, at the age of 38, due to cardiac arrest and kidney issues, before facing the consequences of his actions.
5. Pincoin Scam ($600M)
Pincoin promised to change the way we share assets, and boy did it ever! Unfortunately, not in the way investors were hoping.
With an ROI (return on investment) of a whopping 312%, Pincoin seemed too good to be true. And as it turns out, it was. No legitimate investment project can promise such returns, and the alarm bells should have gone off right away.
But the red flags didn't stop there. The project had a sketchy recruitment system and a multi-level structure that screamed the Ponzi scheme. And sure enough, the financial scam directory Behindmlm confirmed it.
In the end, the Pincoin scam swindled investors out of a mind-boggling $600 million. A harsh reminder that in the world of crypto, it pays to be sceptical of projects that seem too good to be true.
4. Bitclub Network Crypto Scam ($722M)
Bitclub Network: the digital currency community that promised to be the ultimate way to make money with Bitcoin and other coins. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for anyone looking to get in on the crypto game.
But as it turns out, it was too good to be true. According to the IRS, Bitclub Network was nothing more than a fraudulent scheme that lured investors in with promises of big returns, only to scam them out of a staggering $722 million.
The masterminds behind the operation have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, and it's clear that this "innovative and lucrative" community was anything but. It's a reminder that when it comes to crypto, you should always be on the lookout for potential scams.
3. Thodex Scam ($2B)
With a whopping $2 billion scam and its founder facing an eye-popping 40,000 years in prison, Thodex offers definitely a story for the books.
Here are the juicy details: Thodex was a popular exchange with 400,000 active users. But one day, things took a turn for the worse when the platform announced it would be shutting down for a "couple of days" for maintenance. Investors were reassured that their funds were safe. Little did they know, it was all a ploy.
As it turns out, Thodex's founder, Fatih Özer, had other plans. He went offline and it became clear that this was an "exit scam" - where the founder makes off with the money and leaves investors high and dry.
2. BitConnect Crypto Scam ($2.4B)
BitConnect was the talk of the town - a lending and exchange platform that promised big returns, all powered by their very own BitConnect Coin. With its charismatic founder Satish Kumbhan leading the charge, it was no surprise that BitConnect was generating a lot of buzz.
The hype reached new heights in 2018 when an investor named Carlos Matos became a viral sensation for his over-the-top performance at a BitConnect event, where he couldn't stop raving about the platform. But little did he know, the party was about to come crashing down.
Rumors started swirling that BitConnect was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, and unfortunately for its investors, those rumors proved to be true. In February 2022, the founder was charged with running a massive Ponzi scheme to the tune of $2.4 billion. So much for easy money, huh?
1. OneCoin Crypto Scam ($4B)
OneCoin was the cryptocurrency that seemed too good to be true... and unfortunately, it was. This Ponzi scheme was masterminded by none other than the infamous "Cryptoqueen" Ruja Ignatova, a Bulgarian entrepreneur who promised investors the moon and the stars.
But the real story behind OneCoin is like something out of a Hollywood thriller. After swindling investors out of a mind-boggling $4 billion, Ignatova vanished into thin air in 2017, leaving behind a wake of angry investors and a whole lot of unanswered questions.
Now, the FBI is on the hunt for the elusive Cryptoqueen, offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who can help track her down. Will she be caught? Only time will tell, but one thing's for sure - this is one crypto tale that's far from over.
The world of cryptocurrency is plagued with scams and Ponzi schemes that have resulted in billions of dollars in losses for investors. From OneCoin to GainBitcoin, investors have been left with empty wallets and broken dreams.
It is important to be sceptical of projects that seem too good to be true and to always do thorough research. Law enforcement agencies are working to track down the masterminds behind these scams, but it is a reminder that risks are always present in the crypto world.
Always do your own research and be cautious of obvious scams!