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$239m in cryptos still in the hands of PlusToken scammers

By Lawrence Gash

Bitcoin & Ethereum drop following latest report into $2bn Ponzi scheme

The price of the world’s leading cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC), has come under pressure from one of the largest ever crypto-scams.

Research firm Chainalysis published a report which found that upwards of 20,000 BTC and 790,000 Ethereum (ETH) are most likely still in the hands of PlusToken scammers. In addition to this $239m sum it claimed that $185m in stolen Bitcoin has already been laundered by those involved with the PlusToken scam.

One of the largest crypto-crimes on record, the Chinese-based PlusToken purported to be a cryptocurrency wallet that offered users rates of return as high as 600 per cent if they purchased its associated PLUS coin with Bitcoin or Ethereum. The Ponzi scheme was finally shut down in June with 6 associated individuals arrested but not before attracting more than $2bn worth of cryptocurrency.

The research firm’s analysis that a significant amount of the funds stolen are still in the possession of scammers likely contributed to Monday’s drop in the Bitcoin and Ethereum price. In the last 24 hours Bitcoin has fallen 4.63 per cent to stand at $6,767.59, only to be outdone by Ethereum’s 8.48 per cent drop to $129.01.

The simultaneous transparency and privacy of the technology behind cryptos such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have both helped and hampered their reputation as a trustworthy medium of exchange.

Transactions are able to be traced by decentralised ledger technology but criminals and terrorist groups have been known to take advantage of the anonymity granted to users of these accounts.

Chainanalysis stated that those associated with PlusToken were laundering their cryptos through peel chains and mixers such as Wasabi Wallet to obfuscate the path of transactions.

With scammers looking to dump their ill-gotten gains sooner rather than later, some are predicting Bitcoin’s price to suffer from the pressure.

FURTHER READING: Crypto industry clamps down on suspicious activities

FURTHER READING: Three arrested in $722m crypto mining Ponzi scheme

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