Shortly after receiving cease-and-desist letters from the State of Texas and North Carolina, BitConnect (BCC) discontinued its lending platform, effectively shutting down the Ponzi scheme and leaving investors with stacks of worthless BCC tokens as compensation for their dollars lost.
When BitConnect announced the shutdown, the coin instantly dropped 90% and has since continued to depreciate. While this was great news for the majority of investors that recognized the nature of the scam, they may be saddened to see that several other Ponzi schemes have gained popularity in the week following BCC’s closure.
The most prominent example is Davorcoin (DAV), which appears to be almost a carbon copy of BCC. Both scams are advertised as lending platforms in which users lock their funds for a certain period of time and receive daily returns. Rather than shying from the shutdown of BitConnect, DAV’s team has been parading the event on their social media as proof that Davorcoin is superior to BCC and now represents the top “lending platform” in cryptocurrency.
Much like BitConnect, DAV’s growth is largely due to aggressive marketing and a targeted focus on naive investors who are looking to chase the magnificent gains boasted by some traders in the cryptocurrency sphere. Trevon James, a popular cryptocurrency YouTuber and major BitConnect supporter, recently posted a video in support of Davorcoin. The team is also looking to hire community members as “country leaders”, top supporters in various countries that communicate with the team in order to shill the coin to individuals residing in their area.
A more deceptive alternative that popped up earlier this week is CryptoCelebrities, an Ethereum-based “game” where players can purchase smart contracts representing various celebrities. In this scheme, users can purchase the rights to a celebrity for a predetermined amount of ETH. After they purchase the celebrity, the price of the contract increases, and if another player purchases the same contract, the previous owner is given their payment.
CryptoCelebrities has received huge attention in its first few days, with some celebrities’ contracts appreciating to tens of thousands of dollars worth of Ethereum. However, there is inherent risk involved, and while this may not technically qualify the game as a Ponzi, it is certainly an HYIP (high-yield investment program) that makes playing very dangerous. The risk is that, with each purchase, there is a chance that the buyer will lose their funds and that the price will revert back to its initial value. In extreme cases, the unlucky buyer can be out 10 ETH or more.
The last example is PonziCoin. This one is unique in that the developer of the Ponzi is very transparent about the nature of the coin. It is clear that the coin is satire, and it is repeated throughout its website that the coin is a blatant scam. In fact, the whitepaper links to an SEC warning about cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes.
Perhaps because of the transparency, many individuals threw money into the smart contract. The way it works is simple: with every increment of 100 coins, the price doubles. Individuals can purchase coins automatically, as well as resell them automatically for 25% of the market price. Unfortunately, with the wild popularity, the developer was afraid that his joke was getting out of hand. After only a day, buying support was removed on the site, and the developer encouraged everyone to get out and stop purchasing.
The developer also deliberately did not sell any of his own coins, meaning that, with the massive wave of individuals selling back to the smart contract, profits for the developer were minimal. As the smart contract is immutable, however, the Ponzi is still running, and could potentially gain traction again at a later date.