Business 11 April 2018Dennis Wafula
Vietnamese startup swindles $660M with 2 ICO projects: report
Modern Tech, a startup based in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, has gone dark after allegedly defrauding 32,000 people out of VND15 trillion (US$660 million) in connection with two initial coin offerings, according to local reports.
Tuoi Tre News reported that dozens of unhappy investors gathered in front of Modern Tech headquarters over the weekend, carrying signs denouncing the recent fraudulent activities by the company and were demanding refunds.
The startup reportedly claimed to have been authorized to launch initial coin offerings (ICOs) for two cryptocurrencies, Ifan and Pincoin, in the country. At least seven Vietnamese nationals made up the team that was In charge of luring investors to their operations. According to reports, the team used to hold a meeting with a potential investor in the remote areas of Hanoi.
According to information given to local reporters by the owners of the building, the startup company was a setup, and that Modern Tech had closed the shop and cleared their belongings a month ago.
Investors began to suspect something was wrong when the startup changed payment methods from fiat currency to digital money. When it became hard to withdraw profit made from the investments, the investors began to question the operations of the company, eventualy turning to social media platforms to denounce the alleged Ponzi scheme.
The rate of criminal activities relating to cryptocurrency has greatly increased with many investors and customers falling for the schemes. Authorities across the globe have risen to help reduce the rate of criminal activities in the cryptocurrency market.
Despite the various measures taken by the authorities to stop criminal activities related to cryptocurrency, the the number of Ponzi scheme cases still continue to rise.
Earlier this month, a self-proclaimed ‘cryptocurrency guru’ and a cryptocurrency entrepreneur, Amit Bhardwaj was arrested for allegedly scamming investors of huge sums of money. Bhardwaj, who was initially on the run from the law, was arrested on April 4 at the Bangkok airport. According to officials, the alleged scam ranged between $769 million to $2 billion. Bhardwaj had various operations, including GainBitcoin, GBMines, MCAP, and GB21. He had also published a book cryptocurrency for beginners, which was promoted on social media by many Bollywood actors.
This is just an example of the many efforts undertaken by criminals just to defraud investors out of their hard-earned money. Investors are urged to be very careful before investing their life’s savings in any ICO to avoid falling into the trap.
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