Chinese police arrest 15 over EOS gambling app, seize $3.8M in digital currencies

Police in China have busted an alleged online gambling operation built on the EOS blockchain network. The police arrested the developers behind the illegal platform and seized over $3.8 million in EOS and BTC.

Police in Yancheg city, Jiangsu province, have been investigating the operation since it came to their attention in October 2020, according to a report on Toutiao. In the month that followed, the police department reportedly analyzed 27 million transactions. From this, they gathered 26 smart contract addresses they associated with the gambling platform, known as Biggame. According to the police report, the operators used these addresses for the betting and prize distribution.

In December 2020, the Yancheng police conducted raids in Guangzhou, Suzhou, Shanghai and other major cities in which the operators of Biggame resided. They arrested 15 suspects whom they believe were deeply involved in the illegal outfit.

The police also managed to seize and confiscate EOS and BTC digital currencies worth $3.8 million. They claimed that since it was founded in June 2018, the gambling platform had brought in over $10 million for the operators. The police also revealed that this was the first case in which criminals had used smart contracts to operate an online gambling business in China.

For the Yancheng city police, this isn’t the first digital currency bust. The unit was also responsible for an operation that busted one of the biggest scams in the industry—PlusToken. In November, the police unit seized 194,775 BTC, 833,083 Ether, 27.6 million EOS and other digital currencies, cumulatively worth $4.2 billion. A Jiangsu court ruled that the digital currencies would be sold and the proceeds remitted to the national treasury.

The latest EOS-based illegal gambling app is yet another digital currency channel Chinese citizens have been using to access online gambling, a sector that the government has banned for several years now. Yet, despite the ban, thousands of Chinese citizens have been relying on shady and illegal platforms to gamble. The emergence of digital currencies has fueled this illegal activity, with billions of dollars’ worth of illegal proceeds exchanging hands every month.

As per official data from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Chinese government had arrested 60,000 gambling suspects and busted 1,400 illegal gambling sites in the first nine months of 2020.

China’s central bank, on its part, is building and testing a digital yuan. If it becomes widely used, the CBDC could become a very effective tool in monitoring such illegal activity, as it will be private, not anonymous.

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