Is PlusToken the Biggest Cryptocurrency Scam?
Huobi, the popular cryptocurrency exchange based in China, saw the maximum number of withdrawals from the purported crypto Ponzi scheme PlusToken, as per the latest research report published by Elementus, a blockchain framework firm in New York.
Elementus claims that roughly 50% of the total number of PlusToken withdrawals was ultimately done through Huobi.
Earlier this month, PlusToken was one of the reasons for huge sell-off of Bitcoin (BTC), which is to be blamed for a $400 drop in BTC’s value in a span of few minutes.
The information indicates that from about 800k respondents, PlusToken’s network of about 100 addresses on the Ethereum blockchain pulled in almost 10 million ETH.
Of this quantity, 820k ETH has remained on-chain from the beginning of June, without any flow of cash in or out. The rest, around nine million ETH, were sent to 248k distinct addresses from the PlusToken wallets.
However, just a few thousand reflect the major portion of the ETH volume.
It is uncertain most of these big transactions constitute user winnings at the top of the pyramid, or insiders from PlusToken concealing an exit fraud under a confusing pattern of withdrawal. Most of the ETH disbursements were transferred to exchanges, with an exceptionally large proportion (48%) heading to Huobi.
The total quantity of ETH collected by PlusToken was measured as illustrated in the above time series, scrapped by block number rather than time. Notice the abrupt stop in deposits near block 8,040,000 (mined on June 27th). On this same day, several members of the PlusToken group have allegedly been detained in Vanuatu.
3/ The #PlusToken scam is alleged to have been ended by #Vanuatu Police on the 27th of June. According to reports in Chinese media on the 1st of July that showed photos of some of the suspects arrested in Vanuatu & the alleged ring leader in China who was reported to be at large. pic.twitter.com/9knaWlSzIa
— DLT Vanuatu (@DLT_Vanuatu) July 14, 2019
Of the 9.9 million ETH amassed by PlusToken, 9.2 million ETH has already been moved out. 820K ETH is still being held on the blockchain in three PlusToken addresses.
Of 9.9 million ETH amassed by PlusToken, 820k ETH (worth approximately ~$166 million) lies on-chain, bundled in three addresses. The payouts have been spread over 248k distinct addresses. However, huge quantity of ETH lies in few receiving addresses. Half of the ETH deposited (~5 million ETH) was given out to just~7k “large winners” (less than 1 percent of partakers) presuming that each of these addresses actually constitutes a single PlusToken member. Those at the very top pulled out millions of US dollars’ worth ETH. The five biggest exchanges which processed PlusTokens are marked in the graph and sorted out in the following chart.
The exceptionally large payout level does not imply any misconduct on Huobi’s side. Rather, it poses the query why all these PlusToken users would want to hold their winnings in that cryptocurrency exchange.
PlusToken alone amassed nearly $2bn in ETH. Bearing in mind the scheme was also actively involved in BTC, XRP and EOS, after taking all amounts into consideration, we anticipate that PlusToken will arise as the biggest crypto Pyramid scheme so far, exceeding BitConnect / OneCoin / MMM by a significant percentage.