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Exit scams are some of the worst scams associated with the world of cryptocurrency. If you're wondering, "What is an exit scam?", these are the things that people worry about when they're looking to invest in an ICO, and often costs investors huge amounts of money.
An exit scam starts off with a business ICO that appears legitimate. The ICO will have white papers, a good website, people who speak on behalf of the ICO, and calls to invest. Once enough people invest, the ICO immediately folds up and all people associated with it vanish, money in hand.
This scam category is one that is increasingly common in the blockchain technology world. Around 80 percent of all ICOs in 2017 were shown to be a form of exit scam—or otherwise failed.
There are a lot of worthless ICOs out there, and if you can't afford to fall victim, many would say you shouldn't invest in crypto at all.
To be one of the biggest exit scams known to the blockchain world, you really have to have some serious criminal smarts. Below is what happened with some of the worst ICO rip-offs to ever hit the net.
Bitconnect was, at one point, one of the most highly-respected Initial Coin Offerings out there. It supposedly had a product concept that acted as a cryptocurrency lending platform with a specialized investing algorithm to help it give investors returns.
Guaranteeing 40 percent returns, Bitconnect was one of the top performing ICOs on CoinMarketCap. It had a market cap of over $2.6 billion and a value of $400 per coin.
It also was the king of the biggest exit scams in history. No algorithm ever existed; it was a Ponzi scheme. When the scheme bellied up, the entire platform collapsed and the people behind it fled.
The coin's crash gave it a 96 percent loss, and several investors had to go into counseling for suicidal ideations after they lost all their money.
Bitconnect's head was recently arrested in Dubai.
Savedroid was an ICO that was supposed to use an algorithm to manage user investments, all while offering a cryptocurrency credit card that would allow them to spend. The ICO quickly boomed as investors loved the idea.
Dr. Yassin Hankir, who was the head of the company, was able to raise a whopping $50 million in both ICO money and hard lending. Along with being one of the biggest exit scams in recent years, it also was one of the most arrogant.
Hankir, right before he exited, posted an Instagram photo of him on a beach thanking investors and telling them all that he was going. That's some cold behavior, right?
Well, not quite. Apparently, the company is still going, so it's not a total scam. Or maybe it is, and the CEO is just trying to figure out how to exit without people tracking him down. It's hard to tell.
However, it's really hard to tell what's happening with Savedroid, and many investors have rightfully chosen to pull out.
PlexCoin wasn't just one of the biggest exit scams in history; it was also one of the very few that was shut down by the Securities Exchange Commission for defrauding both American and Canadian investors.
This ICO was meant to raise money for an investment that promised a ridiculous 1,354 percent return. The founder, Dominic Lacroix, claimed the coin's returns would be higher than anything the world had seen.
Investors gobbled up the promise, despite the fact that Lacroix was guilty of defrauding investors in a similar lending scheme earlier. Around $15 million went into the company from investors around the world.
The SEC froze assets and was able to return some funds to investors—but not all was found. The losses totaled well over $12 million.
Benebit was an ICO that claimed to be a blockchain-based customer loyalty program that would allow users to extend buying benefits to anyone who shopped with the right people. The concept and marketing materials were hits, and raised an estimated $4.6 million.
This ICO scam was very believable, even to the point that it had its own online telegram. Things fell apart after it was discovered that photos of the founding team were actually taken from a UK boys' school.
The scammers quickly exited, taking every penny of the raised funds with them.
Opair and Ebitz
Opair and Ebitz were companies that offered to create a debit card usable at merchants using a special currency they created, called XPO. It sounds reasonable, but things were amiss. The developer, only known as Wasserman, couldn't really be reached.
Nevertheless, around $2.5 million was placed into both companies' creation via the ICO token buy up. Not too long after, Wasserman vanished, along with the Bitcoin.
ACChain, Puyin, and BioLifeChain
Currently one of the biggest exit scams to come out of China, ACChain was an ICO token that was created in Shenzhen. The company promised a global community, a new crypto platform, and a new era of excellent blockchain investments.
ACChain was slated to become one of the most successful ICOs of its kind, and offered up tokens called ACCoin. It raised a total of $60 million from investors who wanted to help blockchain succeed.
When a photo leaked of an empty room being the ACChain headquarters, it became clear that it was a scam. It ended up being one of three Shenzen scams to be hit by police; the other two were Puyin Coin and BioLifeChain.
Since the scam was revealed, ACChain continues to operate its social media. However, no developments are ever given to the product it allegedly made. BioLifeChain and Puyin have since vanished.
Clocking in at a loss of $660 million, Pincoin has every right to be called one of the biggest exit scams of the century. This ICO was released with a huge affiliate sales team, celebrity spokespeople, and more than enough fanfare.
Shortly after, the headquarters released another ICO called iFan, which was meant to help launch an app for fans of Vietnamese pop stars. This all seemed great, right? Not quite.
Pincoin investors were guaranteed returns in cash, but soon got paid in iFan tokens. When investors balked, the entire company that released both vanished—and took a total of $660 million with them.
LoopX was yet another exit scam that ended up preying on investor greed. Much like a number of other members on this list, LoopX claimed to have a foolproof algorithm that would guarantee returns regardless of what the market may be undergoing.
The company launched a series of very well-marketed ICOs, raising a total of $4.5 million. Shortly after the $4.5 million mark, the CEO bailed while taking the money with him. Shortly after, the LoopX site, social media accounts, and YouTube channel vanished, too.
Named after the home place of the Great Pyramids, Giza was an ICO that only recently was revealed to be one of the biggest exit scams in recent years.
Like other scams, Giza looked totally legitimate until things started to fall apart. It was meant to be a device that would allow you to safely store cryptocurrency.
The CEO became increasingly distant, suppliers had a falling out after no plan was ever given, one thing led to another, and all that was left was a $2 million money pit that never really came to fruition.
Cryptokami raised a total of $12 million for a decentralized blockchain hub. The company claimed it would become the FED of crypto, but ended up being one of the worst cryptocurrency scams in history.
People bought up KAMI tokens to the tune of $12 million, after which the company just tried to fade out. The site went dark, and investors have no idea where their money went.