Top 5 Crypto Ponzi Schemes In The History Of Cryptocurrency

The present digital currency industry is filled with investment opportunities. An average crypto investor is well aware that the innovative characteristics of blockchain and crypto can bring high returns on investments. In this article, we will talk about the top 5 crypto Ponzi schemes in the history of the industry and will also see how the crypto actors associated with it took advantage of the complex and fluctuating appeal of crypto. 

What Is A Crypto Ponzi Scheme?

A crypto Ponzi scheme Reddit is generally an extended investment scam that has been designed to attract investors with the promise to generate high returns. In most of the cases, the companies focus on receiving the money from new investors and distributing them among the old investors. Eventually, such a technique unfolds when the income from a new investment turns off. 

Crypto Ponzi scheme scams are characterized by the following flags:

  • The promise of fast and risk-free investment returns, regardless of the market scenario.
  • Investment models or business activities behind such schemes that are presented as allegedly too complex to explain.
  • Having access to documents that could attest to the existence and legitimacy of the business and its investments. 

But it is unfortunate that the Ponzi scheme operators know how to cover these red flags and manipulate the investors. 

There is another scheme that is similar to the Ponzi scheme and that is known as the Pyramid scheme. This system also depends on the inflow of investment to pay for the old investments. Ethereum pyramid scheme forage, Bitcoin pyramid scheme South Africa is the famous pyramid scheme scam in the crypto world. In the Bitcoin Pyramid scheme 2021, the Bitcoin pyramid scheme companies include USANA Health Sciences, Nu Skin Enterprises, Mary Kay, etc.

5 Biggest Crypto Ponzi Schemes In The History Of Cryptocurrency

The concept of the Ponzi scheme and pyramid scheme is not new. They have been into action for a long time. The only difference between Ponzi and Pyramid is that a Ponzi scheme claims itself as a legitimate venture that provides profits by giving services or selling products. In contrast, pyramid schemes do not have the purported profitability of the scheme to the performance of a business.


Onecoin is the longest crypto Ponzi scheme ever seen in the crypto industry. This scheme was founded by the Bulgarian fraudster Ruja Ignatova, in the name Cryptoqueen. Onecoin managed to attract investors in their numbers between 2014 to 2019. During this time, the Ponzi scheme was said to have conned investors of $5.8 billion by claiming Onecoin as a “Bitcoin Killer” and the next alluring innovation in the crypto industry.  


Another big and important crypto Ponzi scheme, Bitconnect, was launched in 2016 as a Bitcoin lending solution that promised monthly returns of 40%. The operators of this scheme were unknown developers that were headed by an individual named Satoshi Nakamoto, which is obviously not his real name. Investors were bound to purchase BCC tokens, lock them on that platform and wait while trading bots used their locked funds to trade. 


PlusToken is one of the newest and biggest Ponzi schemes ever noted in the crypto world. The scam carried out most of its marketing campaign through the Chinese messaging app, WeChat, by attracting investors with the idea of generating 10-30% monthly returns on investment. PlusToken gathered over 3 million investors, a majority of which were located in China, South Korea, and Japan. The entire entity model of the project centered around wallet service and crypto literacy. Ultimately, the frauds convinced investors to increase their earnings by purchasing the project’s token, PlusToken.


In 2016, GainBitcoin came out as an India-based cloud mining solution that promised to generate monthly returns of 10% for a span of 18 months. As hilarious as this sounds, the project gathered no less than $300 million worth of investment from Indian investors. In 2017 it became transparent that there was no physical mining equipment and no mining procedures backing the broadened scheme. 

Mining Max

Like GainBitcoin, Mining Max also used a cloud mining solution to cover the true nature of its illegal procedures. The platform promised the investors a way to capitalize on widespread crypto money. Mining Max gave the idea of participating in a multi-crypto mining scenario, which had the power to generate high returns. However, just like every other crypto Ponzi schemes, much of the entity model depends on heavy marketing campaigns aimed at attracting new investments and investors. 


From our discussion on the top crypto Ponzi schemes, it’s transparent that the investors are the prey of the fraudsters as they lack education on crypto. The nature of crypto makes the investors think that this is an option to avoid price fluctuations, but that is not the solution. If you are here to stay in this digital currency world, then you will have to embrace price fluctuations. 

Frequently Asked Questions On Crypto Ponzi Scheme

1. Is cryptocurrency a Ponzi scheme?

On three accounts, the quick growth in digital is comparable to a Ponzi scheme. People invest in these schemes because they want good returns. There is no identified source of getting revenue on the investment.

2. Is Coinbase a pyramid scheme?

No, Coinbase is not a crypto Ponzi scheme. Coinbase is a staggeringly successful, credible, company whose revenue is over $1 Billion for 2017.

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