2 months ago

The Biggest Crypto Scams of All Time

Industry analysis

Scammers are always looking for new ways to steal your money. The growth in the use of cryptocurrencies observed in recent years creates new opportunities for dishonest people. The fact is that digital money has no boundaries, opening up a lot of opportunities for crypto fraudsters.  


Thus, it is necessary to clarify how scammers act and know how to identify potential “red flags". 


To date, several types of the biggest crypto scams of all time are known. The most common ones include blackmail, fake exchanges, fake giveaways, phishing on social networks, copy-and-paste viruses, phishing emails, pyramid schemes, and ransomware.

The Biggest Crypto Scams In History



The Vietnamese cryptocurrency Pincoin is a famous high-profile scam. Because of this, 32 thousand people lost about $870 million. The Pincoin cryptocurrency project was aimed at sharing assets. It promised an extremely high return on investment — up to 312%. Instead of receiving cash, investors received a token called iFan. Before that, the entire team behind Pincoin disappeared with all the means.



In 2021, the crypto world was rocked by a $2 billion scam, one of the biggest crypto scams in history! There were about 400,000 registered users on this Turkish platform. In April 2021, the exchange was closed for five days due to an emergency “6-hour maintenance period.” Thodex CEO Faruk Ozer immediately fled Turkey with more than $2 billion from more than 100,000 investors.



This platform was founded by Satish Kumbhar. The main purpose of it was to conduct credit and exchange transactions. BitConnect was based on BitConnect Coin. It turned out that it was the biggest crypto scams of all time. Using these tokens, users received investment payments from the loans provided, and fraudsters profited from this.  



In 2014, Doctor of Law Ruja Ignatova and her husband Daniel Dabek founded OneCoin Ltd. The company's main offices were located in Bulgaria and Dubai. 


It was a truly incredible pyramid scheme. What were they doing? They sold packages about financial education with different membership levels that allowed owners to mine OneCoin. The cost of the packages ranged from $100 to $100,000. In the end, the fraudsters' income will amount to more than $ 25 billion.


In 2017, the authorities exposed the project managers and closed this big crypto scam. The whereabouts of Ruja Ignatova are still unknown.



One of the largest pyramids was PlusToken. It all started with the sharing of information about a new earnings scheme in the Chinese messenger WeChat. The organizers promised investors income of 10% to 30% per month and bonuses for attracting new participants. To participate, one must exchange Bitcoin and other coins for cryptocurrency PLUS.


PlusToken has attracted more than 4 million investors from China, Japan, Germany, Russia, and other countries. Thus, more than 200 thousand BTC were collected. 


In June 2019, the authorities of the island of Vanuatu, where the famous crypto scam PlusToken had its office, arrested the scammers at the request of Chinese law enforcement agencies.


However, it was not possible to return the investors' funds.


Crypto Scams of 2023


Cryptocurrency fraud can manifest itself in various forms:

The Biggest Crypto Scams of All Time

  • Financial pyramids. They involve the promise of high investment returns to early investors using the money of later investors. Fraudsters usually use funds to pay promised profits to early investors, creating the illusion of a successful investment
  • Phishing Attacks. Targeted at cryptocurrency holders, they can be fake emails, messages, or internet sites. Scammers trick people into providing their login credentials or private keys, which allows them to steal money. 
  • Fake ICO. The purpose of this big crypto scam is the first public release of a new cryptocurrency in the hope that coin developers will use the proceeds to support the crypto network. The fake ICO ends with the developers disappearing. 
  • Cryptojacking. Cryptojackers are fraudsters who secretly use a potential victim's computer device to mine digital tokens. 
  • Ponzi scheme. It is a scheme providing high returns by attracting capital from new investors to pay promised profits. Like other financial pyramids, crypto pyramids deceive investors into believing that legitimate activities contribute to a return on investment. Bitconnect is an example of such a scheme. 
  • Fake wallet. Here, scammers make people think that they are using a legitimate digital wallet to store their assets. Scammers ask users to enter their secret keys or passwords and then use these secret keys to steal users' cryptocurrency assets. 
  • Social Media crypto scams. In 2023, scammers used social media to promote fake gifts or investment opportunities by tricking users into sending them their digital currency. 
  • Fake digital money. Fraudsters create fake currencies by convincing traders to purchase them and then disappear with all getting funds.

Updates and Forecasts for 2024


Shortly, we can expect some crucial changes in the crypto market, which may lead to the emergence of new risks. Here are some of them: 


  1. AI threats: Artificial intelligence continues to develop in all industries, including cryptocurrency and the criminal sphere. Tools such as voice cloning and deep attenuation of sound are becoming more sophisticated and accessible to cheaters. 
  2. Fake Trading Bots: If you use fake bots to trade or monitor the cryptocurrency market, you may find that your wallet linked to them is empty for some reason, and all your funds have disappeared from it.
  3. Fraud in the field of business and employment. This cyber crime involves the use of hard-to-detect tools to steal data or money during employment.


Regulatory Measures Regarding Crypto Crimes in 2024


Crypto cheaters are hard to catch. Due to the anonymity of digital currencies and the complexity of crypto regulation, it is becoming increasingly difficult for authorities to catch criminals, and they face numerous obstacles in investigating their crimes. So, crypto scam, what to do and how to protect yourself?


Today many services working with crypto offer their users solutions to help resolve fraudulent transaction scenarios. For example, on some P2P platforms, if something goes wrong during a deal, each customer can open a dispute online, and experts will help solve the current issue. And this is just one example of such security tools regulating crypto crimes. We hope that there will be many more such legal actions in the future.




Crypto frauds come in various forms, but they share a common concept: scammers promise their victims exorbitantly high incomes but eventually disappear with their money. They promise huge profits while practically no effort and risks are required on your part. Thus, you should learn how to identify billion dollar crypto scam schemes and avoid them to protect yourself from cryptocurrency fraud.

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