Ethereum Worth $105 Million Moved by PlusToken Scammers
A recent “whale” transaction of 789,525 Ethereum (ETH) was claimed to belong to the wallets of the PlusToken scam. The exact holdings of ETH for the scheme are unknown, but this tranche alone is worth $105 million.
PlusToken Still Holds onto Part of BTC, ETH Haul
PlusToken, despite the law enforcement crackdown against the team, seems to be in no trouble to access its assets. The move to an “unknown wallet” can function as obscuring the ETH, especially if there is no organized tracking of addresses.
🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 🚨 789,525 #ETH (105,099,509 USD) transferred from PlusToken to unknown wallet
— Whale Alert (@whale_alert) December 19, 2019
But what was extremely brazen – Chinese social media accounts connected to PlusToken went on to explain the transactions and identify themselves. At this point, it is unknown what they intend to do with the vast haul of ETH and Bitcoin (BTC), but it is possible to affect the crypto ecosystem for years.
The PlusToken scammers' social media account in China now claims credit for the movement
What if they just use their $ETH transactions to PnD the market forever?
"hi, who wants to buy 200k eth from me?"
"brb, about to go lvg long eth on DeFi"
"10k eth to tornado, actually nvm" https://t.co/LDpfdP2hsB
— Su Zhu (@zhusu) December 19, 2019
It is uncertain if the persons claiming to move the funds are part of the core PlusToken team or just affiliates.
PlusToken was one of the biggest schemes to divert BTC and ETH, with estimated earnings between $2.9 and $3.2 billion. The size of the Ponzi scheme is close to that of OneCoin, the defunct money-making machine that scammed as much as $4 billion out of investors.
Ethereum Transfers Could Affect Market, Defi Space
The activity of PlusToken is causing suspicion for affecting asset market prices. One of the explanations for this week’s BTC slide below $7,000 is that PlusToken wallets liquidated some of their coins again. PlusToken has been known to send tranches of 600-1,000 BTC to exchanges, mostly moving the funds to Huobi.
Now, the market renewed its fears that PlusToken would either affect the ETH market or even move into Defi and exploit ways to launder the funds. ETH sank to $128.83 even after a slight recovery, and the wallets of PlusToken are now seen as a significant threat.
The recent transaction is just a small slice of all the ETH held by the scammers’ wallets. Chainalysis recently tracked the funds and discovered the scheme took in 180,000 BTC, and around 6.4 million ETH.
“We tracked a total of 180,000 BTC, 6,400,000 ETH…. spikes in on-chain flow to OTC brokers correlate with drops in Bitcoin’s price….. PlusToken one of the largest Ponzi schemes ever. https://t.co/rx9NU9p3hl
— Charlie Shrem (@CharlieShrem) December 18, 2019
Chainalysis suggests some of the coins may be shed on OTC markets, avoiding the KYC rules of exchanges.
“We’ve tracked roughly 800,000 ETH and 45,000 BTC we can definitively say the scammers transferred to their own addresses to launder. They’ve cashed out at least 10,000 of that initial 800,000 ETH, while the other 790,000 has been sitting untouched in a single Ethereum wallet for months,” Chainalysis explained.
Not all the ETH collected by PlusToken is available, as some of it was used for early payouts, to build an image of legitimacy for the high-earnings scheme.
What do you think about PlusToken ethereum transfers? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @whale_alert, @zhusu, @CharlieShrem