Here are the list of crypto scams that took place this year.
2021 is a big year for cryptocurrency integration.
Popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin had a brilliant year that started after the memestock mania in January. This cryptocurrency has reached new heights, attracting the attention of people who may not be familiar with the industry. But cryptocurrencies are unpredictable. It is still a highly volatile market, almost completely without regulations protecting those who invest in the stock market, for example. With so many crypto newbies stepping into this illegal wild west over the past year, scammers have said goodbye to all the new ways to make money. Of course, scammers still use Twitter to trick new crypto speculators into believing that Elon Musk wants to double their investment. But that's a scam for 2020. The 2021 plans make some of them look like no brains.
By the end of the year, Mashable had some of the biggest scams of the year. We also don't speak strictly about the amount of money stolen. This list consists of the most unique and daring scams.
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Take the Biggest Streaming TV Hits of the Year, Convert to Cryptocurrencies, and What Do You Get?
One of the most advertised scams of the year. The media shyly fell for the Squid Game Token, a completely illegitimate alternative cryptocurrency based on the famous Netflix game series Squid.
In just a few weeks, the Squid Game Token has grown from a few dollars to nearly $3,000. CNBC, Forbes, Business Insider, and many other outlets report on the Squid Game token and seem excited about how fast its value is growing. However, there were problems from the start. Aside from the fact that its creators have absolutely no authority to use the Squid Game name as the basis for their cryptocurrency, people who invest in Squid Game tokens immediately complain that they can't sell what they buy.
That, of course, was the plan. The creators of Squid Game Token created an anti-sale mechanism right in their cryptocurrency. Not everything is blocked for sale, of course. And the Squid Game token ends up the same way most of these altcoins do: a pumping and dumping scheme that enriches creators and their friends, and leaves behind well-meaning retail investors at a disadvantage.
But the amount of press coverage that Squid Game tokens generated before the scam was exposed, which likely helped bring more scammers into the scam, was truly unique.
The SaveTheKids / FaZe story
Pushing cryptocurrencies is big business for influential people on social media in 2021. Of course, most of the cryptocurrencies promoted by your favorite Instagram star or TikTok star are ultimately pumping and dumping schemes. However, no other example of influencer-induced cryptocurrency can match what happened to the SaveTheKids token.
In early June 2021, FaZe clan members Kay, Teeqo, Jarvis and Nikan, along with YouTuber RiceGum, started promoting a cryptocurrency charity called SaveTheKids. These influencers don't just play a few tweets that take seconds to write. They made a promotional video and posted their photos on the SaveTheKids website.
The sale proposal is simple: invest in this new cryptocurrency, which is sure to work because of its association with the world's biggest esports brand, and the project will help raise money for children's charities. Win!
Except that everything took off. This happens when developers create cryptocurrencies with the aim of escaping with the help of investors. Shortly after the official launch of the SaveTheKids token, the cryptocurrency crashed due to a massive sell-off by the first investors to hold the most tokens. Once SaveTheKids went public, it became useless.
Maybe it could all end here, the whole situation has been described as another alternative coin scam. However, some have found that FaZe Kay in particular has a penchant for promoting cryptocurrencies which all ended up like this.
YouTubers like Coffeezilla, SomeOrdinaryGamers, and Barely Sociable soon saw a kinky web of scams where FaZe Kay went beyond just promoting the scam, but also how it was created.
At the end of this story, the FaZe clan started an internal review which resulted in many dismissals and FaZe members, including FaZe Kay, being banned from the group.
Adin Ross admits he is promoting crypto scams
It would be remiss not to credit Adin Ross' MILF token promotion in his own words. Ross is a popular Twitch streamer with millions of followers on the platform. Last year he was criticized for his gambling stream promoting the scheme's online casino platform. The streamer himself accidentally leaked his story on a stream over the summer, suggesting he made millions from this promotional offer.
However, in May 2021, Ross also plunged into the world of cryptocurrency by promoting an alternative coin called the MILF token. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid to Ross for surrendering through painstaking cryptocurrency purchases. However, just three weeks later, Ross made a drastic communication change regarding this investment opportunity.
"By the way, that MILF token bullshit I did a while back? I told you, don't buy this shit," Ross said laughingly during a live broadcast. “You paid me a bag for doing this bullshit. I do not care. I hope none of you actually buy it."
At the time of publication, the MILF token has lost about 98 percent of its value since Ross promoted it.
Fake press releases
Last year, in response to new Memecoin or Ponzi schemes, you couldn't find cryptocurrency tweets without a fake Elon Musk Twitter account. This year, fake press releases have taken this scam to the next level.
In two separate cases in 2021, fake press releases from global retailers tricked the media into publishing fake stories that the company had started accepting cryptocurrencies. In September, a fake press release announced that Walmart would start accepting Litecoin. Just months later, a fake press release claimed that Kroger accepted Bitcoin Cash as a means of payment.
Nothing is right. However, the fraudsters behind these fake documents managed to spread this fake news through massive press releases, which were disseminated and handled by the mass media. In both cases, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash prices rose on the news and then returned after Walmart and Kroger denied the allegations. The result: quick money making for anyone who cheats.
As cryptocurrency advocates continue to seek validation and legitimacy for their fledgling industry, scams claiming to offer this will continue to increase.
Poly network hacking
Forget 2021, that will be the theft of the century. In the summer, a hacker discovered a loophole in the decentralized financial platform Poly Network that allowed them to transfer more than $600 million into their accounts.
More than $600 million.
However, a catch of that size is likely to be difficult to eliminate without going acquittal. In the weeks that followed, the hacker contacted Poly Network and said he always wanted to get the money back. Poly Network mocks hackers, even calling him “Mr. White Hat,” a bias for ethical hackers who try to uncover security vulnerabilities so they can be fixed before bad actors show up.
In the end it turned out to be Poly Network. Finally, the hackers transferred most of the money from the cryptocurrency back to the platform. What's in it for hackers? On the one hand, they avoided all the possible consequences for the biggest crypto theft in history. Poly Network is also offering hackers a bounty of $500,000 for a refund.
Two brothers, Raees and Ameer Cajee, run a South African bitcoin investment company called Africrypt. Now they are gone along with all their investors' cryptocurrencies. Back in April 2021, Cajees announced that their investment company had been hacked and all their client accounts had been compromised. However, the story was quickly understood, and investors pointed the finger at Cajee.
Investors' lawyers say up to $3.6 billion was stolen from the Kaji brothers. If that's true, go to Poly Network, Africrypt will be the biggest crypto theft to date.
However, this figure is controversial. However, we are talking about at least millions and billions of dollars here. Africrypt investors are still working to get their funds back. It is not clear where Raees and Ameer Cajee are currently.
Bored NFT monkey stolen
The story of Calvin Besser is a little boring compared to the amount of money stolen by the other scams on this list. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning.
Becerra is, uh, owner of three NFT Bored Ape yacht clubs. Investors buy these irreplaceable tokens to prove ownership of the linked goods. In the case of Becerra, we are talking about three pieces of computer art depicting cartoon monkeys. Beccera said scammers tricked him into sending these three NFTs under the guise of providing technical support.
The current minimum price for one of these monkeys in the NFT market? About $225,000. Becerra claims the three NFT Bored Apes in his possession are worth more than $1 million. Becerra appears to have reclaimed at least a portion of his NFT, though it appears it will have to pay to get it back. However, when they were first stolen, Becerra tried to spread the word and tell others not to buy his stolen NFTs.
Although the blockchain indicates that he no longer owns it, Besera claims that this undeniable record on the blockchain is irrelevant and that he is, in fact, the owner. In principle, it challenges the foundations that NFT proponents defend for each of these values. Perhaps this makes this stolen NFT the biggest scam of the year.