As 2022 finally comes to a close, it’s time to take stock of the biggest scams of the year. For an already challenging year for investors, these scams didn’t help matters.
Top 5 Crypto Scams of the Year
For this ranking of the top crypto scams of the year, crypto hacks will not be considered, as their origin is other than a project whose creators are suspicious from the start.
1- Pixelmon NFT: $70 million
A gambling game to earn finds itself in the thick of trouble again. Players seem to be constantly concerned about cases of cryptocurrency scams or throws on the carpet. Indeed, regularly, it would appear that play in the world of cryptocurrencies is inspired by video games that have already existed to initially attract investors.
Pixelmon’s idea embraces this type of strategy, with the initial goal of approaching the world of Pokémon, mixing gameplay with Minecraft graphics. In the beginning, the project teams see themselves going the distance, not hesitating to compare their project to a Pokémon of the metaverse, through the purchase of NFTs.
Other elements also contributed to the successful launch of the project, the number of NFTs limited to 10,000 as for the Blockverse. Pixelmons exist as NFTs and can be used by players in the game and thus potentially trained and resold. With a mint price of 0.6 ETH for each NFT and knowing that the project included 10,000 non-fungible tokens, no less than $70 million in Ethereum was raised at that time. A feat that NFT gaming enthusiasts won’t soon forget.
2- Bored Bunnies: $20 million
Inspired by Bored Apple, we find a scam through an NFT collection. Certainly, when hypes exist, it is essential to be very attentive to the multitude of projects that arise and to use the hyped elements of the moment such as the metaverse, non-fungible tokens or play-to-earn. Sometimes they can be dangerous crypto scams.
For the Bored Bunnies project, celebrities such as the boxer Floyd Mayweather have even been “employed” and used for advertising. The NFTs of the project promised a lot with interesting utilities, both in terms of staking and the possibility of “minting” [frapper] other NFTs from the first launches, or lands tied to the metaverse.
Subsequently, the developers reported various promises, in particular to develop a roadmap and derivative collections such as the Bored Bad Bunny which could also be “minted”. After this minting, a new collection of non-fungible tokens featuring the mutant Bad Bunny appeared.
Unfortunately, following this novelty related to the project, nothing followed. In fact, from one day to the next, the developers were discreet, and there was no longer any communication on social networks and on the Discord channel, which was even deactivated. Investors have raised a total of $20 million in cryptocurrencies.
Later, to prevent the feds from following investor complaints, the project team reported a modicum of activity to fake a recovery of the project so it could more quietly disappear. Thus, the pretext of launching a collection of physical objects (t-shirts or various goodies) has allowed the developers to save time.
Furthermore, according to Nansen, one in three NFT projects cannot survive over time, due to low trading activity. Even if the NFTs of the mentioned projects are not trading at $0, the volume weakens when the project sows doubt and its creators stop reporting.
3- BNB42: $2.8 million
BNB 42 was a crypto project that promised profits to all these investors. Fast and incredible, these gains were of the order of 100% in a few days according to the project team’s promises. Even though these crazy promises of earnings are generally seen as crypto scams for their unique way of proceeding, investors still fall into the trap. In this case, several thousand people have finally decided to invest in this project.
In total, nearly $2.8 million was blown away as the scammers behind the project wrapped up the adventure as quickly as it started. Currently, the project’s website no longer exists as the funds were stolen around mid-February, right after Valentine’s Day, when the creator behind BNB 42 gave out another contract address to proceed with withdrawing the funds.
The funds were later lost after the stolen cryptocurrencies passed through crypto mixer Tornado Cash. Unlike the other scam projects, this one was based on the BNB Chain, and thus the funds were stolen in BNB.
In total, 6,445 BNB coins passed through Tornado Cash. Although the minimum deposits were 0.01 BNB, the project unfortunately received the support of some crypto influencers, who helped raise funds for the scammers.
4- Baby Musk coin: $2 million
On paper, this project that turned out to be one of the great crypto scams had all it takes to succeed, with a symbolic name inspired by Elon Musk and the word “baby” like Baby Doge and other projects of this type.
However, once again, not everything went as planned. This very promising coin itself ultimately only benefited the developers of the project, as $2 million was raised thanks to the ICO. As the price of the token exploded after its launch, taking more than 100% in value, the same coin then sank, reaching a significantly low price.
Also, when the token reached its ATH, investors were unable to sell their tokens, getting stuck while others could enjoy higher profits. However, the Baby Musk Coin had several elements that gave or strengthened its legitimacy, with clear objectives but also a roadmap available on the project website, which outlined the main steps to be followed for the project.
Among the papers published in the press, the name of the CEO would have been leaked, in particular on Yahoo Finance: Grant Liu. However, given the way the project foundered, everything would suggest that Liu is not a real name or at least does not correspond to the CEO of the project. In any case, although the name of Elon Musk was mentioned in this project, the capricious multibillionaire has nothing to do with the scam, but his name served to publicize the project more.
5- Blockverse: $1.2 million
There we find a scandal inspired by the world of Minecraft, with an NFT game called Blockverse that took up many of the principles of the famous pixelated game. It will not soon be forgotten by investors, as it is the first time that a famous video game has been taken over for a crypto project and it turns out to be a scam.
The pre-sales of the project were successful, as a total of 1.2 million dollars were raised and therefore “stolen” from investors. Initially, the project had investor appeal, with a private project accessible only by NFTs “making” Minecraft more private.
With 10,000 NFTs for sale, an extremely limited amount, the project had a few minutes long flash sale to sell all of these NFTs. The 10,000 NFTs sold very quickly then helped raise a total of $1.2 million.
While the project team has commented on the situation, no refunds have yet been made and there is no relevant information circulating about an imminent opening of the famous Minecraft server. Which occupy a good place in this ranking.
Bonus Crypto Scams: The Government of Ukraine
This year, the Ukrainian government established a “carpet donor”. Indeed, although apparently negative and incomprehensible, the phenomenon has an explanation.
Perhaps the only “good” scam in the cryptocurrency sphere? While Ukraine has been in the midst of a war since February 2022, the nation has decided to leverage cryptocurrencies for the conflict between it and Russia. Aware that it is a means of receiving money from donors who defend it and mobilize to raise funds, Ukraine probably thought that the jackpot could be interesting and help it a lot in its war effort, both for the purchase of arms and to maintain some essential public goods Services.
As a reminder, around this time, cryptocurrencies have entered a bear market, but not yet as advanced as it has been over the course of the year. The sums of BTC or ETH received by Ukraine were therefore still significant at that time.
After a rapid adoption of digital assets, an airdrop was set up for all people who would send funds to Kiev.
However, nothing went as planned. Though thousands of donors initially came forward, they seemed more motivated by the lure of potential airdrop earnings than helping a country at war. While 60,000 transactions were made on the Ethereum blockchain for the Ukrainian wallet in two days, the amounts turned out to be negligible, an indication of ill will on the part of donors. The latter, in fact, seemed interested only in the airdrop and willing to take advantage of the situation, given that no minimum amount was required for these donations.
In response, Ukraine has decided to do so suspend this airdrop and to preserve funds, while capping one of the most intriguing “crypto scams”. Indeed, even though Ukraine walked away with cryptocurrency investors’ money, investors still made payments to a charitable cause, even though that was not their initial intention.
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