Scams or “rug pulls” are have existed since forever, and the cryptocurrency space definitely had a good taste of it.
What we have here is a comprehensive list of documented cryptocurrency project exchange exit scams the industry has faced throughout the years.
Make this be a reminder to be wary and skeptical of every single cryptocurrency investment and services in general.
Kokomo Finance (March 26, 2023)
“Optimism-based lending protocol Kokomo Finance has been suspected of a $4 million “exit scam” that has seen user funds plucked from the platform via a smart contract loophole.
Blockchain security firm CertiK alerted its followers to the “exit scam” in a March 26 tweet, noting that the Kokomo Finance (KOKO) token had plummeted 95% in value in a matter of minutes.” — Cointelegraph
Metadao (December 27, 2021)
This time, a total of $3.8 million in user funds were stolen, or about 800 ETH. Accordingly, according to Etherscan, we can see multiple transactions in the TornadoCash funds mixer.
The address has been marked as the “Metadao” rugpull address. It currently holds 46 Ethereum coins. 75 Ethereum finally moved to the address just two hours ago. Before that, the wallet made more than 50 transactions, while there were 180 transactions in total. Currently, the funds remain in the Tornadocash coin mixer, so tracking user funds is most likely impossible. Funds may be forfeited. — AZCoin News
Metaswap Gas (December 27, 2021)
“Blockchain security company PeckShield has alerted investors of a possible rug pull event after identifying a massive 46.99% price drop on MetaSwap’s MGAS token. The MetaSwap protocol allows nonfungible token (NFT) swaps over the Ethereum, Binance and Polygon blockchains.
Following the unexpected price drop, all official accounts linked with Metaswap Gas — including Twitter, Instagram and Medium — were removed, supporting PeckShield’s claim of a rug pull.” — Cointelegraph
Squid Game token (November 2021)
“The project itself was themed after the hit Netflix show Squid Game, but with no apparent official approval or connection — despite a claim on its website that it was partnered with Netflix.
The price of Squid Game token crashed to near-zero today as the developers behind the project sold their tokens on the market for 22,328 BNB ($11.9 million).” — The Block
AnubisDAO (October 2021)
“A newly launched crypto project that raised $60 million overnight appears to have lost the funds in what may have been a phishing attack.
The project was called AnubisDAO and it was promoted as a fork of OlympusDAO — a cryptocurrency backed by the assets in its treasury.” — The Block
Luna Yield (August 2021)
“Solana, a fast growing blockchain network, has suffered its first rug pull on Luna Yield, a recently launched high APY yield farm.
It appears that the farm’s developers have run off with millions of dollars of investor funds. hoakegani, a Solana developer, was the first to report the incident on Twitter. hoakegani’s on-chain analysis suggests that about $8 million worth of crypto assets have been taken out of the Luna Yield pools by the team.” — Investing.com
COSS (2017 – 2020)
“COSS raised $ 3.2 million in its ICO in September 2017. This would be an adequate financial runway to have a minimum of six well qualified full-time devs and all other accounts (legal counsel, compliance always, etc.) if managed properly – and those are conservative estimates.” — AZCoin News
Coinroom (2017 – 2020)
“Coinroom, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Poland, has suddenly closed down its services in April as part of an exit scam that had left thousands of customers as victims.
According to the Polish media outlet Money.pl, Coinroom customers received an email on April 2 stating that the cryptocurrency exchange is terminating their contracts and they have one day to withdraw their funds. Failing to do so within that time would force users to request withdrawals by sending an email directly to the Coinroom support team.” — CCN
Plus Token (2018 – 2019)
“Plus Token was a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme disguised as a high-yield investment program. Platform administrators closed down the operation in June of 2019. Fraudsters abandoned the scheme by withdrawing over $3 Billion dollars in Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and EOS) and leaving the message “sorry we have run“.” — Boxmining
Bitsane (2017 – 2019)
“Irish cryptocurrency exchange Bitsane has pulled an exit scam and disappeared with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency belonging to its users, reports Forbes.
Bitsane’s website, which reportedly boasted 246,000 registered users, has been offline since (at least) June 17, when its Facebook and Twitter accounts were noted to be offline. LinkedIn accounts for key employees have also been scrubbed.” — TNW
OneCoin (2014 – 2019)
“OneCoin is among the industry’s most infamous exit scams. Founded in 2014, the Bulgaria-based firm remained fully operational until late November 2019, despite ongoing criminal proceedings in the wake of allegations that it had fraudulently raised at least 4 billion euro ($4.4 billion) in a Ponzi scheme.” — Cointelegraph
“A South Korean ICO has defrauded its private sale investors out of roughly 13,500 ETH ($2.8 million) before disappearing from the internet entirely.
Pure Bit, which has already pulled the plug on its website, has apparently conducted a fairly routine exit scam for its Pure Coin token sale.” — Bitcoin Magazine
“A cryptocurrency startup called Prodeum – which promised to “revolutionise the fruit and vegetable industry” by putting it on the Ethereum blockchain – has seemingly pulled a good ol’ exit scam, leaving its duped ICO investors with one word only: “penis.”” — TNW
“CryptoKami was founded in 2018, it is not trading on any exchanges. CryptoKami was added to the dead coins list due to being Scam or Other Issues. Founder/CEO is Unknown.” — Coinopsy
Block Broker (2018)
“One look at the Block Broker whitepaper unravels a tale of unscrupulous intent. It contains little technical substance, is ridden with grammatical errors, and talks more about the token sale than the project’s function. Even so, the ICO accrued just over $3mln in funding during its lifespan, as the warning signs were not enough to dissuade every purveyor.” — CoinCentral
“Miroskii is about to undertake an initial coin offering, giving investors a chance to “join the Crypto Revolution” prior to its launch.
But the Gosling gaffe strongly suggests the company is a scam, a suspicion supported by the fact that Miroskii carries no white paper on its website, promising that its business plan is “coming soon”.
Miroskii claims to have raised $830,000 from investors in bid to challenge bitcoin – despite its management team being fictional” — Independent.co.uk
Centra (2017 – 2018)
“The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged two co-founders of a purported financial services start-up with orchestrating a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) that raised more than $32 million from thousands of investors last year. Criminal authorities separately charged and arrested both defendants.” — SEC.gov
Pincoin (2017 – 2018)
“A Vietnamese cryptocurrency company Modern Tech launched an ICO for its Pincoin token, raising $660 million from approximately 32,000 people. The company first ran the Pincoin ICO, promising constant returns to investors, and then launched another token, iFan (a social network token for celebrities). Picoin investors first received cash from their investment and then the team began paying out rewards to Pincoin investors in iFan tokens.
Then the team disappeared.” — TechCrunch
Benebit (2017 – 2018)
“Benebit, one of this year’s most hyped ICOs, has pulled an exit scam, making off with a reported $2.7 million of investor funds. Other estimates put the figure as high as $4 million. The fraud only came to light after someone noticed that the team photos had been stolen from a school website. Once this happened, the Benebit team scampered, taking their ill-gotten gains with them. The case is believed to be the largest ICO exit scam to date.” — Bitcoin.com
ACChain, Puyin, and BioLifeChain (2017 – 2018)
“It is indicated that almost $60 million has been scammed out from investors, with a majority of $40 million from ACChain plus Puyin and $20 million from BioLifeChain. A number of them have been arrested so far while some of them are already on to another ICO called Themis.” — Toshi Times
Giza (2017 – 2018)
“Scammers appear to have made off with more than $2 million in cryptocurrency after carrying out an apparent fake initial coin offering (ICO), and the individuals linked to the incident may be connected to another recent theft, CNBC has learned.
A bad actor or actors used a fake LinkedIn profile and copied pictures from another user’s Instagram to create a false persona — and successfully drew more than 1,000 investors into the ICO project, which was called Giza.” — CNBC
NVO (2017 – 2018)
“NVO carried out their ICO during the summer in 2017, promising to deliver an unparalleled DEX functioning from the wallet and also to pay out dividends from the exchange fees to all token holders.
They gathered 3000 BTC from the ICO with flashy website and polished whitepaper (at that time BTC was trading at 2500$)” — cool4y, Steemit
Bitconnect (2016 – 2018)
“The company, which made its foray into the cryptocurrency scene with an initial coin offering (ICO) in late December 2016, swiftly cemented its position as one of 2017’s best performing currencies on CoinMarketCap. Indeed, during its heyday, BitConnect boasted a market cap of over $2.6 billion and a value exceeding the $400 mark.” — TNW
LoopX (2016 – 2018)
“an emerging cryptocurrency startup more commonly known as LoopX has suddenly vanished out of thin air along with millions worth of its investors’ savings.
The sketchy investment platform, which promised to earn backers’ money with its proprietary trading algorithm, has abruptly gone dark after raising $4.5 million in a series of initial coin offerings (ICO). The company has since also pulled its website and deleted its social media fingerprint, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Telegram accounts.” — TNW
“The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced it obtained an emergency asset freeze to halt a fast-moving Initial Coin Offering (ICO) fraud that raised up to $15 million from thousands of investors since August by falsely promising a 13-fold profit in less than a month.
The SEC filed charges against a recidivist Quebec securities law violator, Dominic Lacroix, and his company, PlexCorps. The Commission’s complaint, filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, alleges that Lacroix and PlexCorps marketed and sold securities called PlexCoin on the internet to investors in the U.S. and elsewhere, claiming that investments in PlexCoin would yield a 1,354 percent profit in less than 29 days. The SEC also charged Lacroix’s partner, Sabrina Paradis-Royer, in connection with the scheme.” — SEC.gov
“It seems yet another fledgling cryptocurrency startup has pulled a Houdini. Distressed traders are flocking to Reddit to warn fellow cryptoenthusiasts that up-and-coming startup Confido, which recently raised $374,477 in an ICO, has vanished out of thin air.
The company, which promised to bring a new decentralized trustless payment solution for online shopping, has suddenly taken down its website.” — TNW
Recoin and DRC (2017)
“The SEC alleges that Maksim Zaslavskiy and his companies have been selling unregistered securities, and the digital tokens or coins being peddled don’t really exist. According to the SEC’s complaint, investors in REcoin Group Foundation and DRC World (also known as Diamond Reserve Club) have been told they can expect sizeable returns from the companies’ operations when neither has any real operations.” — SEC.gov
Opair and Ebitz (2016)
“A motivated community of small-time investors who put money into Opair and Ebitz are trying to track down a mysterious developer known only as Wasserman, the apparent mastermind behind two ICO scams which netted a combined total of 388 BTC.
Opair promoted a decentralized debit card system using its own token, XPO. Users discovered that the LinkedIn profiles of some of the team were fake and Opair rapidly vanished, but not before generating just under 190 BTC in its ICO in the summer of 2016.” — Cointelegraph
“Back in 2014, a crafty developer created a cryptocurrency and aptly named it PonziCoin. The idea was that it was to operate like a proper Pyramid scheme, where early investors would need to invite more people to invest in this coin in order for them to make money. Well, things didn’t go as planned as he waited for people to invest in the said cryptocurrency and he made off with approximately $7000, which is around $2.2M in today’s value, without giving any payouts to anyone.” — techweez