The FIFA World Cup just ended with a new champion, but also with R14 billion ($1.5 Billion dollars) accumulated on a gambling ring that was actually a pyramid scheme. The information has been first released by the South China Morning Post. They informed that police from the Guangdong province detained six individuals involved in the gambling ring.
The Chinese officials were able to shut down the illegal business which had accumulated an important number of funds form users all over the world. The bets have been made using Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC). At the same time, in a statement, Chinese officials explained that the activities were considered as part of a pyramid scheme in which recruiters could profit off of other members.
The translated statement reads as follows:
“The bookmaker analyses the gambler betting, manipulates the odds according to the bet ration, and allows a small number of people to win.”
It seems that over 8,000 ‘agents’ that brought in gamblers profited from the scheme. It is important to mention that the gambling ring is thought to be one of the first crypto crimes that involve a major sporting event. Olympic games are going to take place in two years and we may experience similar things to happen. At the same time, police in Beijing, China, said that they were able to broken up a world cup betting that was worth over R700 millions (320 million yuan).
Gambling activities are totally prohibited in China excluding state-run lotteries that are compliant with specific rules imposed by regulatory agencies. Moreover, China has taken very hard measures to control the virtual currency market and avoid individuals having investments in cryptocurrencies. One of the main reasons behind this decision was related to individuals engaging in criminal or illegal activities, like gambling, terrorism financing or money laundering.
In the past, several other scams and pyramid schemes have been operative on the internet and related to virtual currencies. It is very easy to enter the market and invest in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and similar projects that are not regulated.
BitConnect Pyramid Scheme
Just to mention an important case, earlier this year, BitConnect closed its exchange due to the fact that regulatory agencies from the United States warned it.
BitConnect commented on the matter:
“BitConnect X ICO is still functional and we are building an exchange platform on the BitConnect X website. With BitConnect X operating as an exchange platform, BitConnect Coin (BCC) will be listed there. This is not the end of this community, but we are closing some of the services on the website platform and we will continue offering other cryptocurrency services in the future.”
At the moment of writing, BitConnect (BCC) is now the 1017 most important virtual currency in the market with a market capitalization of $4 million dollars. Each token can be bought for $0.48 dollars, compared to $400 at the beginning of the current year.