T Skevington and M Bacina
Punishment pending for PlusToken crypto conspirators?
The Chinese Ministry of Public Security and local police have released a report
confirming their arrest of 27 "major criminal suspects" and a further 82 "key" members of the infamous PlusToken ponzi scheme.
Launched in early 2018, PlusToken imploded over the course of late 2019, while holding an estimated USD$3 billion in digital assets including Bitcoin, Ethereum and EOS, among others.
Like many offerings at the time, PlusToken offered both a custodial wallet service and a supposed "investment program" which essentially guaranteed high monthly returns on stored funds, of between 8% and 16%.
PlusToken was primarily marketed in China and South Korea where the majority of its users were based, although the was also reported to have significant customer groups in Europe, North America and Australia. At its peak, PlusToken claimed a user base of over ten million, whereas third party analysis has estimated that up to 3 million people may have been invested.
Various blockchain research firms have been monitoring the movement of funds associated with PlusToken since the implosion, with movements in those funds being attributed to various price movements since June 2019. In particular, large liquidations of PlusToken sourced Bitcoin has been attributed to the significant price drops in September 2019. Chainalysis have summarised one of the key ways that the PlusToken scammers have tried to liquidate their ill-gotten gains:
These latest arrests follow the early arrest of the "PlusToken 6" in June 2019. First reported by the South China Morning Post, six Chinese nationals were arrested on the Pacific Island of Vanuatu for operating an internet scam associated with PlusToken.
At the time, an announcement was published on, supposedly by "community members", stating that the arrested individuals were regular users and not co-founders, and claiming:
Thus, no need bother about this rumors.
As always, hindsight is 20/20, and it seemed that the rumors are indeed something that those involved in PlusToken should very much have bothered with.