Here are the Top ICO Scams of All Time

in #bitcoin2 years ago

There is no doubt that cryptocurrencies have revolutionized how we transact however they have also enabled some of the biggest scams over the years. The success of Bitcoin and some other altcoins led to the birth of an industry that is using the Blockchain technology in many innovative ways.

While some smart minds have gone to create world-changing products using the technology other individuals with malicious intent have also jumped on the bandwagon and gone ahead to con unsuspecting investors using elaborate scams.

Below we are going to look at the top five ICO scams of all time.

Top ICO Scams of All Time

Pincoin And iFan

This is currently the biggest scam in the history of ICOs.

Over 32,000 investors managed to lose over $660 million from two ICOs that were run by the same company that was based in Vietnam. Ifan was said to be from Singapore while Pincoin was from Dubai. However, Modern Tech controlled both.

Last March the company silently vacated its offices in Ho Chi Minh City prompting investors to protest in front of the headquarters in April after lack of hard cash payouts. What followed was an investigation that saw authorities release the names of seven Vietnamese nationals who were behind the scheme. The surprising thing is that they were able to flee the country before anyone could find out what was happening.

Both platforms were later on classified as multi-level marketing scams. Pincoin promised investors over 40 percent monthly returns. It also made claims that it was building an online platform that would comprise of a peer to peer marketplace, an auction and investment portal, and an ad network running on the blockchain.

While iFan was advertised as a social media platform where celebrities would promote their content directly to their fans.


The platform allowed users to exchange their Bitcoins for Bitconnect Coin (BCC) on the platform, and in return, they were promised big returns.

In 2017, the platform launched its lending platform where users would lend BCC to others and make interest depending on how much they had lent out. The platform also had a referral system that had all the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme.

On January 7, 2018, the BCC coin hit its all-time high and, according to, was trading at $432 per coin with a market cap of $2.6 billion. Then the coin began to free fall mysteriously, and by Jan 15, 2018, it was trading at $290 per coin. However, an announcement made the following day would see the BCC coin lose almost all its value in just a few days.

On January 16, 2018, the company announced it was closing its lending platform, and the exchange would be shut down five days later. This was when many people realized that Bitconnect was a giant scam.

What followed was users launching a class action lawsuit against the platform to recoup their lost funds that amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

(Do share your favorite Bitconnect memes in the comments below.)


OneCoin was created by One Coin Limited, which was founded in 2015 by Ruja Ignatova, a Bulgarian national. Ignatova held many fake degrees and credentials. Her project was promoted as an analogue of Bitcoin system that had a private blockchain.

However, taking a closer look, there were many differences between the two. OneCoin lacked a peer to peer network. It meant the parent company conducted mining. Also, all transactions were conducted through partnership exchanges, and One Coin Limited stored all the data.

Interestingly the company’s main business was spreading educational material on exchange trading. To grow its community, the company used multi-level marketing (MLM), which led to suspicion of it being a pyramid scheme.

In 2016, Chinese authorities seized over $30 million from OneCoin, and its promoters were arrested as investigations began to analyze its operation in the country.

In July 2017, OneCoin was labeled a clear Ponzi scheme in India. Two months later it was fined 2.4 million euros by the Italian authorities. The company’s troubles did not end there as in January 2018, its offices in Bulgaria were raided and authorities seized its servers. The platform is rumored to have stolen over $300 million from gullible investors around the world.


This is not Bitcoin.

This scam ICO came around during the peak of the ICO frenzy. It managed to raise over $75 million through an initial coin offering. The project touted itself as the next generation Bitcoin and even sought the endorsement of Steven Seagal as its spokesperson.

However, in March of 2018, it was served with a cease and desist order from the New Jersey Bureau of securities as it was found in violation of the state’s securities laws. The platform also failed to disclose critical information to prospective investors including the identity of its principals, its physical address and any risks that were associated with investing on the platform.


This platform was offering MasterCard and Visa debit card services that were supposed to make it easy for its users to convert crypto into fiat. It sought the endorsement of two top celebrities, Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled, who promoted the debit cards to the masses.

However, regulators would soon catch up with the platform founders. Two of them were arrested on fraud charges that related to the platform’s ICO which had raised over $32 million.

According to the SEC, two of the founders, Robert Farkas and Sohrab Sharma went to great lengths to dupe investors. They created fake fictional executives, posted false and misleading marketing materials on the platform's website, and even paid celebrities to promote the ICO on social media.

Given the prevalence of scams within the crypto space, investors cannot be careful enough when it comes to ICOs. However, by asking a few questions, one can easily identify if a project is a scam or not. Below, we are going to look at six questions investors should ask themselves before investing in any project:

  • After reading the project’s white paper, do you genuinely feel the project’s proposal makes sense?
  • What problem is the project trying to solve?
  • Have you dug through the project team and their experience? Have you checked their history, profiles, and previous jobs?
  • Have you checked the forums to find out what other members of the crypto community are saying about the project?
  • Is the project using a trusted escrow company to handle the ICO funds?
  • What are the ICO rating companies saying about the project?

By asking the above six questions, as a new investor, you eliminate the risk of falling prey to unscrupulous individuals.

Want to know more? Join us on our Discord and Telegram channels and get into the discussion, or join our 8,000 member community on our ICO DOG Investment Platform:


Lol, BCH? Why is that such a scam? I thought BCH was okay... could be wrong tho

If only it was lel
but yeah it not an ico though

Yeah...and Ethereum's DAO! Initially,​ this "Decentralized Autonomous Organization" seemed very exciting but finally resulted in a $50 Mn Loss

Seriously I was expecting Bcash to be in this list worst coin ever with the worst of the worst people controlling it

No doubt, they should be #1.

yeah, but we decided to give rodger and Bcash its own article and deep dive into the whole proble, with big blocks. We already wrote one on craigh and bcash

Good stuff I don't even get why that coin has any value at all

Posted using Partiko Android

i love that this is the most popular comment xD

I posted on here a about a year ago a post that viral and detailed thoroughly what was happening. If you read it, you will see that everything I pointed out, ultimately proved to be 100% accurate. It is very in depth but most of it is just organizing a lot of info.

Already we have seen those coins the market and already facing some situation with the government sectors, instead of arguing here it is better to stay away from those coins.

Great! 🤣🤣🤣

Yeah please , can you enlighten us why BCH is a scam? It's the first thing i hear of it and would like to know more about this . thanx


wassa wassa wassa wassa aaaaaap!

So good hahah :D

I mean, I feel bad for people who fell for that shit but this performance was spot on! :D

I made a bitconnect character in one of my Crypto Comedy Skits, check it out for a laugh when you get a chance lol

dont forget adbank..

That you were always shilling

Your post, along with some comments contain many of the reasons I quit as a writer/promoter in my 'past life' of 'any' ICO and their product. I won't even do it with a 'disclaimer' attached to an article.

By the way...How about someone in the 'know' and with the energy/gumption to do it, NAME names in order to help protect the innocent? Some of these con artists are still out there scamming away at their hearts content. (Some are even right 'here' on Steemit)

nice post thanks

I would add also Envion..
The purpose was not to scam, but it is ending doing exactly this with one person taking all the money and scamming his own collaborators!

Btw, an other beautiful article.. :)

This article could have been 1000 pages and we would have still missed some ICO scams.

True. The last year or so was rife with scam artists. A lot of people got taken trying to cash in on the crypto craze.

O yep definitely ;) my self I was involved in few ;)

Posted using Partiko iOS

Sure man.. But Envion was one of the biggest ICOs ever(if not the biggest i don't remember)..
But you are right, there are a lot of scam, too much i would say.. :(

@criptoscimnia I almost invested there too! I got my self involved with Usi-tech and bitconnect and lost 1.7 BTC in total! Sadly! But lesson learned!

Posted using Partiko iOS

Yes, Envion! - I was expecting a multi-thousand $$ payout from these guys last year...

Then because of the lawsuits - They wont pay until that is cleared?
I want to see Envion CEO burn on the stake!

I just hope that the law will punish him as he deserve to be.. ;(

Good post. Especially providing the 6 questions every potential investor must ask. The good thing about regulation coming in is that it will help weed out the scam artists.

Regulation won't stop scams, it will only allow certain regulators to be the scam artists...(Check out all regulated markets)

Exactly ;) they will still be able to scam people!

Posted using Partiko iOS

Yup! All a joke

Good post! This list will grow much bigger...

i miss Carlos Matos from bitconnect.. he's a talented promoter and stage guy...

It's too bad scams have given crypto a bad name to newbies. :(

very true

No mention of Oyster Pearl? The founder restarted the ICO and massively printed more coins and sold them off, dropping the price to damn near zero.

ahahah, year i remember that. Indahash was also a good one. 45M gone

There are 100s more and 100s of master node coins.All ICOs are bad. If you need investor money there are many other ways and it all takes effort. Even crowdsourcing is possible. ICO was instrumented to get quick funding from ordinary investors without going thru due diligence that happens in Seed/Angel/VC funding or a crowd funding platform. SEC should take a strict stand and ban all ICOs. This will be healthy in the long run

i agree to an extent. But i disagree to a to a lot you said there.

The government is not responsible if people all start jumping off a bridge and killing themselves. Thatsts common sense.

Sending your life savings to some random person, who you don't know or will ever meet and that in mass scale is very irrational human behavior. You dont do it, nobody would do it with a normal bank account. People sent mass emails out to people as nigerian prince. Thank god the government did not make emails illigal.

I think its part of common knowledge. The government is not responsible to protect people from things that are common knowledge. People got greedy and irrational and got burned.

There are a handful of good projects which are getting funding. ICOs is a great funding model. It should not be destroyed just because people lose their common sense.

Excellent response. You were able to put everything into perspective. I am now following you. Great work.

I totally agree! Although there have been so bad actors, in a way ICOs are a good way for projects to gather funds and start evolving. Maybe the model has to be tweeked but still a usefull way of fundind. The proble resides on people being financially irresponsible. If the government dosen't interveen when people overspend on clothing, p.e., the government shouldn't come parenting me when I decide to participate on the funding of a project.

Posted using Partiko Android

You cannot compare investing vs buying cloths to wear. In case of ICO people are misled to believe something thats not true. Its cheating and you cannot blame the people for the same. It would be the same argument with stock market. I think some kind of legal framework will happen.

The stock market does not sell magic beans for eth.

ICO: Ok you give me your real currency and Ill give you this fake currency.

I think if anything ICO RATING sites and influencers should be regulated. The amount of scams I can find on Icobench is almost criminal. Also, the shilling industry quickly became a multi-million dollar industry and crippled the growth of the industry.

The biggest scammers in ICOs were the ones that helped them in marketing and shilling.

@kggymlife I also think is good to learn from our previous mistakes! So we don’t repeat them in future! Me my self I lost 1.7 BTC in 2 Ponzi schemes ...

Posted using Partiko iOS

Dam bro sorry to hear that just be a bit more careful in the future

At least now I know where to look for value. Not like a year ago when I join the crypto community for the 1st time.

thanks for taking the time to read it :D

Thank you for sharing

Great (and sad) overview, thank you for that

@brokernaples the point of that lesson is not to repeat our mistakes!

Posted using Partiko iOS

@brokernaples I’m saying the same! At least we learned from our mistakes early not late! Me my self lost 1.7 BTC in a Ponzi schemes but I learned!

Posted using Partiko iOS

Its great to see that people are taking responsibility for their actions. I also fell for a scam called indahash. looking back I was reckless and should have been more careful.

Honestly, I`m glad it happens at the beginning of crypto so I can learn my lesson for the real game :)

Esto pone a los inversionistas en una posición de sumo cuidado.
Es impresionante hasta donde puede llegar la estrategia de una persona para APODERARSE del dinero de los demás de forma fácil y confusa.
Me parece muy buena tu información.

Bitcoiin, what does it do? Well it has two i's, that's about it though lol

"If it is too good to be true, it probably is."

I feel like I am starting to sound like my parents....

world is tough place

Hello, i am from venezuela.
i like this post

Bitconnect was "the top of the rock"! 🤣🤣🤣

Bitcoiin?? Haha. What a name. Hilarious.

Posted using Partiko Android

Me my self I invested in 2 scams ;) bitconnect! With Trevon James and I advice every person who follows and support him here to stop doing it! And the other one was USI-tech I lost 1.7 BTC in those 2 in total! Lesson learned!

Posted using Partiko iOS

**But I disagree with the author that OneCoin is a crypto scam. **

Since here only the term was abused, but neither a blockchain nor cryptotokens were presentable. Only training packages and options on future tokens were traded in a centralized system of the company network around OneCoin. See also SwissCoin, GiraCoin and what else about MLM was adorned with the word crypto.

If I say, I am not a Human, I am a Lorry. What do you think? Do I be a human or a vehicle, because I look like a human?

Had you, @icodog, ever heard about Paycoin, The GAW MIniers scamcoin which promised a CC and the first cryptocurrency which would be accepted in Amazon?

I did invested there in 2014. How sorry I am to have done so...

yeah i actually heard about it. One out of millions. We need to learn our lesson that many people do not care about anything else than money.

unfortunately because 1.4 million new scam oriented websites are created every month it just never seems to end scams and every year they seem to get worse and 2018 was no exception the top scam online purchases that feature a very convincing website that tries to get you to send money for a product that either doesn't exist or doesn't arrive next up employment scams you know those work from home offers they usually want you to play the middleman for a small cut or in some cases you have to pay them do not fall for these another big scam is the old fake check or money order I've received a few of these at my house and they look real but they're not the scam works by you depositing this bogus check than sending the scammer a small portion of it back the scam the check is a total fake and by the time it's discovered you're out what you sent the scammer free money just does not exist phishing scams work worldwide millions of people getting these and that's why they work strangers requesting money or your personal information all wrapped around some sob story that's fake or some offer that doesn't exist tax collection scams will be ramping up soon because we're now in tax season let me tell you the IRS will not call you let me repeat the IRS will not call you asking for your information like your social security number or birth date sometimes the caller even threatens you like this one I got a few weeks ago before you get arrested please call immediately on our department number yep a scam so don't fall for it yeah the scam that gets me the most is called the grandparent scam and that is where someone will call your grandparents pretending to be you and saying that you're in trouble and need money this is a scam if you get one of these calls don't call back on a number they give you hang up and call your family first

@icodog hi dear it's true blockchain is scam. Recently i was log in blockchain. Any body have any information regarding this. Comments me on my ID @syedahmed1010.....

I'm from Viet Nam and I still can say that there are many scammers around here.

“Come On! We Say ” Surprisingly Interesting Scientific Facts From Each Other As

hello baby sexy

The steem ninja mine

Good to know. Thanks!

thanks for sharing, so far so many Scames are neatly wrapped, and look like real, even though everything is Scame

And how about Envion?
I'm not exactly sure what happened, but after the ICO they ran into legal trouble and are fighting it out in court ever since.
It's been more than a year, and I still haven't received my tokens...

yeah, maybe we´ll make a part 2.

This is why I never get involved in an ICO. I never know the company behind one. So, my suspicions are always raised. Unlike securities markets, crypto markets are completely unregulated to prevent fraud.

Posted using Partiko Android

thank you for keeping us aware of these scams. i would read your posts the whole day and still not get bored

nice content hey

Thanks a lot :D

Wow, i don't know that coins are also launched to scam people.

Posted using Partiko Android

That's cool and all, but what about ninjamining millions of Steem before the official launch of Steem, and runing away with people's money?

that's not an ico scam

Yes, ninjamining millions of free Steem is super fair! Where is @ned? Where the money from @steemit are going? Do you like paying for votes? Steem is full of guilds and corrupt witnesses. It's a scam, before it as ico, it's a scam now as long as shitposts make it and good authors never make it without buying votes. Wake up, sheeple!

Congratulations @icodog! You have completed the following achievement on the Steem blockchain and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

You made more than 50 upvotes. Your next target is to reach 100 upvotes.
You received more than 1000 upvotes. Your next target is to reach 2000 upvotes.

Click here to view your Board
If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word STOP

To support your work, I also upvoted your post!

Support SteemitBoard's project! Vote for its witness and get one more award!

да это так и это печально. Ведь скама очень много

Interesante conocer acerca de las distintas modalidades de estafas que se pueden conocer con las criptomonedas y tambièn para tomar las precisiones q que haya lugar para evitarlas. Muy interesante esta publicaciòn.

The new exit scam is 1NODE, they ignore discord, for information discord username is @soggietoes#7092

This article is helpful for crypto-currency traders. Thanks.

Great Blog, it's like the wild west in the crypto space, not many places are safe to keep your coins invested, now I stick to masternodes I control.

But to be honest 95% of all Masternodes are also scams.

Hahaha good to know.
Thanks for the information

Bitconnect will go down as a historic ponzi scheme.

probably the biggest scam in modern history

And but is not available not more...

Hey! Great article you got here! And yes, we all saw what this scam projects made to the whole ecosystem of crypto and blockchain. The news flew faster when the topic was scam in crypyo then when it was blockchain technology aplications. Still we are at this point with thousands of cryptocurrices that, while not all being scams, they seem to strugle on delivering a working product.

Keep the good posts!

Posted using Partiko Android

Thanks, We are still far away from a health ecosystem. Even the top 10 coins are mostly BS or Possibly even scams.

me gusta la moneda Bitcoin. pero no es fácil de ganar

You guys should really check out "Westland Storage" What a Ponzi Scheme! The managed to raise more than $2+ million dollars to invest in some fake island they don't even own!!! here's the news: I'll make sure to start exposing scams like these for everyone's sake.

THIS, coupled with financial media channels hyping the value of cryptocurrency to attract market participants buying into any kind of currency keeping in mind that it will flourish their lives; make them rich.

i got scramm from titanium bar i hate ico :(

I feel sorry for all the people who lost money believing these projects would deliver. I don’t feel sorry for the people who knew full well it was a scam but failed to find a buyer before it became obvious.

Posted using Partiko iOS

Yes, you hit the problem on the head. The main reason that these scams still exist and caused so much damage and continue to do so, because people invest to dump it on other people. This behavior is pretty much the same as theft. But people fill better about themselves. Its horrible.

I wanted to invest in Bitconnect soo badly. I knew it was fishy, but I wanted to make some quick cash. However, before I decided to join, people started to lose money. I was lucky lol.

Alternatives to Coinbase are Gemini Exchange, bitFlyer exchange and Poloniex exchange. These are American exchanges dealing in btc and eth and in some cases more. Gemini will be adding ltc and other cryptocurrencies sometime in the coming months. bitFlyer is a Japanese exchange that is licensed to operate in the United States (my favorite). I'm cleared on Poloniex but haven't done any business with them as the other 2 exchanges are sufficient for my purposes. My advice with exchanges is get signed up and cleared on as many as you never know when you might need one. About getting vetted with Gemini and bitFlyer due to their KYC. I signed up with Gemini when the entire world was trying to sign up with them; that's why I think it took so long. bitFlyer was one day. Both exchanges do credit/debit card but at limited amounts per day. Both exchanges accept bank wires and both exchanges have immediate access to btc/eth when payment is in the account. The debit/credit deposits take a few days to clear but you can still buy and trade; you just can't take it out until the bank transfer clears. Bank wires are immediate if sent before 11:00 during the day (in most cases). I've had concerns with Coinbase but they have always answered me when I wrote their support team. I'm sorry that COINCADO has had bad luck with them but I do think it's unfair to call them a scam. My bad experience with Coinbase is I lost $700 worth of eth when I transferred it out of my Coinbase account and into another wallet. Come to find out I had mixed up 2 numbers (49 instead of 94). The mistake happened when I had to manually type the eth address because of circumstances that it couldn't be copied and pasted; also I was rushed. That was all on me; I accept that (ouch, painful, errrrrrrr and past tense of itai) :) Lesson well learned. The beef I have with Coinbase is that when you buy eth or btc, they don't deliver the cryptocurrency to your account until a few days to weeks later (that's my experience). The other exchanges give it to you right away. Therefore, I only deal with Coinbase in an emergency. I haven't dealt with Coinbase for over a year now: maybe things have changed). Great video and thank you for the warnings....

Many Ponzis

Posted using Partiko Android

Good info! Especially for us newbies :)

You said,March of 2018, it was served with a cease and desist order from the New Jersey Bureau of securities as it was found in violation of the state’s securities laws.

Please Add ENVION AG its my my greatest deception.

Wow! Scammers do not stop!
YouTube video

steem pozi will be soon.

Lol, BCH? Why is it a scam? I thought BCH was fine ... although I could be wrong, I got involved with Usi-tech and bitconnect and lost 1.1 BTC in total!

Lol. Bitconnect was the bigest ...Bitcoooneeecctt :)

Thought I would see Envion in here as well...

I must confess I was provided with the link by a top marketer to Bitconnect and he created a video to show that he had also invested in this SCAM and how it worked! Alas, it was too good to be TRUE and I did not listen to my gut and was scammed and lost what I put into to it! It was only a couple of hundred dollars BUT the good news is that got a very fast lesson on how the crypto market worked and how to buy and sell crypto coin on another site that I had to first purchase bitcoin to buy Bitconnect (( which they cashed out for a fortune when it was $18,000 no doubt. BUt it did PUT me off buying into anything COIN based in the future. I cut my losses and have not looked back! BUT interesting article and embarrassing one for me!! I was led astray by the marketer and trusted his judgement and NOT mine! Opppppsss .

Over 95% of crypto market would consider as scam 😂

Posted using Partiko iOS

The winner by a mile has to be Bitconnnneeeeecccctttttttttttttt!

That will go down in history as THE single most notorious crypto scam of all time for sure.

I almost was a victim of ONE COIN thank God I didn't listen to their advocates.
I didn't like the idea that the system was centralize and hyped. The fact that they always compared it to bitcoin; how it will become bigger than bitcoin, tip me off and I had to do a little digging of my own then I found out it was all a scam. I just knew their business model wasn't realistic at all.

Definetely top scam of was bitconnect.

Bitconnect was crazy! Bitconneeeeeeeeeeeeect

At least we got this great song

scams everywhere

Bitconnect was a magical scam!
Does anyone know the investment platform is fraud/scam or not ?

Also don't forget these coins:
Umbrella Coin, TravelCoin, OneGram Coin, and McAfee Coin.


Great article. Forget about a lot of these scam ICOs, but who can forget "BitConnneeeect!" Lol

Some of the brainwashed zombies here think BCH is a scam, lol. A scam usually doesn't have a legit website, meet-ups all over the world, a booth at all the major crypto conferences, a working product, and a market cap in the top ten.

what about empowr?

Posted using Partiko Android

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.16
TRX 0.02
JST 0.038
BTC 10417.30
ETH 340.26
USDT 1.00
SBD 0.95