7 Major Crypto Scams Events and What We Can Learn From Them

Crypto scams have been around ever since Bitcoin came out in 2009. Crypto researchers found out that from 2011 to 2020, cyber criminals stole almost $2.5 billion  online. Roughly 80% of these funds, the equivalent to $2 billion, was from digital currencies.

The growth rate of cryptocurrencies has increased over time, with most coins, such as Bitcoin, hitting an all-time high of $63,000. While intelligent minds have come up with coins and companies backed by blockchain, scammers have also upped their game to target unsuspecting investors.

Major Crypto Scams of All-Time

As much as cryptocurrencies have revolutionized transactions, they have also been a target for significant scams. Let’s look into the major crypto hacks and what we can learn from them!

OneCoin – $15 billion

In front of thousands of fans, Dr. Ruja Ignatova announced back in 2016 that she would launch a new cryptocurrency, OneCoin. She mentioned that it would work just as any crypto. For instance, it would reach global payments, involve mining, etc. The coin would have had a $120 billion supply on the network.

Even though all the information was very similar to Bitcoin, people still fell for it. More so, they thought that Ruja was perfect. She could speak several languages fluently and had a Ph.D. from Oxford University. Above all, she appeared in top magazines as a crypto expert.

As part of this crypto scam, people had to select education packages that cost between €110 and €188,000. In each package, several tokens would correlate to mining OneCoins. However, the only way to sell the tokens was through the internal exchange. Also, only users that purchased more than the starter package could buy these tokens.

As you probably have guessed, the exchange did not even exist. More so, people were trading with the company itself, which is a clear red flag. The members also only profited from inviting new users.

When the police found out, Ruja had already disappeared. Next, a two-year investigation led to several arrests. Among them were Ruja, her brother, and the lawyer behind the company.

Bitconnect – $3.45 billion

One of the most infamous crypto scams, Bitconnect appeared in 2017. It claimed that users could exchange Bitcoin for the Bitconnect Coin(BCC) on their Bitconnect platform. The developers also made sure that significant returns of 40% would trickle into their accounts over time.

Bitconnect also ran a lending program that allowed users to lend out BCC to other users on the platform. By doing this, they would get interest from the amount they lent out. It should have been a red flag for a typical Ponzi referral scheme.

Shortly after, the platform turned out to be a scam, and their investors lost most of their funds. Some of them have since filed a lawsuit against Bitconnect in a bid to recover their lost assets.

Pincoin- $870 million

In Vietnam, Modern Tech launched Pincoin and iFan, with its offices in Ho Cho Minh City. Pincoin captured 32,000 people who, instead of receiving cash as payment, got a new token called iFan. Top celebrities advertised iFan on social media. Therefore, the project did not look suspicious at all.

A few months down the line, their offices shut down. The project creators managed to get away with about $870 million. Protestors met outside their vacant offices on April 8, 2018, but they did not process cash withdrawals.

Centratech – $32 million

Centratech appeared on the market with a heavy expectation. Many thought that it would bring a Visa and Mastercard debit card service to help users convert cryptocurrencies to fiat. Also, to add to the spotlight it was already gaining, the likes of Dj Khaled and top boxer Floyd Mayweather advertised it. Just like that, the coin gained fame, and only its ICO raised $32 million.

The founders, Sohrab Sharma and Robert Farkas, did not manage to get away. Police arrested them on fraud charges. They had created fictional executives with great biographies, paid celebrities to promote it, and posted misleading marketing materials on their website.

The U.S. regulator enforced that they both pay back what they stole and at interest. Also, the regulator banned them from ever serving as company officials and participating in any security offerings of sorts.

Plexcoin- $20 million

Plexcoin was one of those deals that seem too good to be true. The company offered a 1354% return for investments per month. Surely this should have been suspicious enough to investors, but the founders took about $20 million of their money. The coin’s ICO was successful and raised over $15 million alone.

However, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) caught on to this after investigating and ordered that all the money they took needed to be repaid. SEC froze their funds, and the founder, Dominic Lacroix, was arrested and later jailed.

The event marked the first that the SEC stepped in and charged an ICO through its Cyber Crime Unit.

What to Learn from the Crypto Scams

Crypto-related scammers will go to any extent to convince people that their offer is legit. Considering this, investors need to wise up and do their research properly before investing in any cryptocurrency.

Generally, it necessitates that the crypto community provides financial education and ethical investments practices to everyone. Governments also need to be vigilant and regulate cryptocurrencies to remove the bad actors from the market.


Scams have an effect on cryptocurrencies in general. Most people have become skeptical about investing in cryptocurrencies because they either have heard about crypto scams or gone through one themselves. They then tend to classify all cryptos under these scams, whereas genuine ICOs and cryptocurrencies exist.

Bitcoin live price
price change

In turn, this is limiting growth and innovation in the crypto space.
The most effective way that investors will be protected is only by education. They need to know more about evaluating investments, spot scams, and learn how to manage risks. Authorities also need to realize that not all cryptocurrencies are scams, and some are here to stay. By taking their time in understanding cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain in general, they can offer knowledgeable regulation that will promote innovation.

Stay up to date with our latest articles

More posts

Are Gold-Backed Tokens Worth Investing During Crypto Bear Market?

The crypto market is under the complete control of bears, investors taking short positions to profit from declining prices. In this unstable environment, new capitalists are fearful or skeptical when funding projects. Instead, they turn to more reliable assets that would not wipe out their portfolios when or if they flop. Gold-backed tokens represent a category of assets ready to provide portfolio stability and allow investors to overcome the bear market without too many losses. On the contrary, gold-pegged tokens…

The Buyback and Burn Practice Explained

In a constantly evolving and growing crypto market, it is difficult for investors to know where to put their money. One popular investment strategy in the crypto space is buying tokens of teams that conduct a buyback and burn program.  This guide will explore what a buyback and burn practice is, how it works, and its benefits and risks. What Is a Crypto Buyback and Burn Practice A crypto buyback and burn practice happens when a company buys back its…

Should You Sell Off Your Crypto Assets During a Bear Market?

Selling your crypto assets during a bear market can be a hard choice. On the one hand, selling off your assets may seem logical during a down market. On the other hand, you may be worried about missing out on potential profits if the market rebounds.  This guide will illustrate the benefits and risks of selling off your crypto assets during a bear market. While you should always do your own research, we will also share some tips for doing…

Why Do Some Crypto Projects Issue More than One Token?

In recent years, the popularity of cryptocurrency has exploded. As a result, more and more people are looking to invest in crypto projects. However, not all projects are equal, and it can be challenging to determine which ones are worth investing in. This guide aims to help investors make informed decisions about which crypto projects to invest in. It will explain multi-token models and why they have become so popular among crypto projects.  The guide will also outline the benefits…

How to Spot a Crypto Project with Great Tokenomics?

In the cryptocurrency world, there are a lot of projects with amazing tokenomics. However, it can be challenging to determine which projects are worth investing in.  This guide will help you spot a project with great tokenomics. In this way, you can make a great decision about where to invest your money.  Before analyzing the technical components of tokenomics, there are other red flags you should be able to spot. Our guide will begin with this premise and then move…

A Guide to the Signs that a Crypto Project is About to Fail

Cryptocurrencies are digital assets and a payment system invented by Satoshi Nakamoto. They use cryptography to secure their transactions and control new units' creation. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, not subject to government or financial institution control. Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, appeared in 2009. With the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies, there has also been an increase in crypto projects that end up failing.  This guide will explore the signs that a crypto project will fail. By understanding these signs, you can…

An Easy Guide to Initial Gaming Offerings (IGO)

Initial Gaming Offerings, or IGOs, have been gaining in popularity as of late. This guide will explore the ins and outs of IGO investing. The aim of this post is to help you make informed decisions about this investment opportunity.  We'll cover everything from what they are and how they work to the benefits and risks associated with them. At the end of the guide, you will find it easier to assess IGOs on the market. What Are IGOs, and…

Initial Metaverse Offerings (IMO) – A Beginner’s Guide

Initial Metaverse Offerings (IMO) allow businesses to raise money by issuing tokens on the blockchain. IMO offer investors a chance to get in on the ground floor of exciting new projects. Through an IMO, you may provide businesses with the capital they need to get started.  This guide will explore what IMO are, how they work, and what you need to know before investing in one. What Are Initial Metaverse Offerings (IMO)? Initial Metaverse Offerings are a way for blockchain…

Top 5 Crypto Portfolio Trackers To Use in 2022

An active cryptocurrency trader cannot do without the support of a crypto portfolio tracker. Not if they want to be successful at trading or investing. A crypto portfolio tracker is an app enabling you to monitor the amount and value of your crypto assets across all wallets, exchanges, platforms, and blockchain networks in real-time. It allows you to track historic transactions, live crypto prices, gains, and losses. Above all, it prevents you from mismanaging your portfolio while getting the best…

Five Gold-Backed Crypto to Consider in the Current Inflationary Economy

Many traders are optimistic about the blockchain's development potential and recognize that volatility is inevitable with new technology. Some are asking how to invest in digital assets while maintaining some degree of stability. A relevant part of investors frequently mentions stablecoins as a valid investment alternative. Anchoring the value of crypto to a fiat currency can undoubtedly sound appealing. However, fiat money depreciates as inflation increases, making stablecoins less valuable. In this particular context, the crypto market is offering a…