Police in the Phillipines Arrest Eight in Yet Another Bitcoin Scam

Avi Rosten
  • Police in the city of Angeles arrested eight Israelis alleged to have operated the multi-million dollar scheme
  • Affecting victims in several countries, the scheme is alleged to have duped victims into putting in huge sums by paying returns on initial investments

Phillipine Police have arrested eight suspects in a multi-million dollar bitcoin fraud as yet another cryptocurrency scam has come to light.

According to the report in Ynet news, eight Israeli men were arrested on Wednesday in the city of Angeles after raids in three offices across the city, as well as 480 Filipino employees who were working in the operation’s call centre.

Alleged to have amassed several million dollars, the fradulent scheme encouraged investors to put their money into bitcoin and other online investments managed by the operation - and affected users in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Russia.

Two victims of the scam even flew to the Phillipines to try and claim back their lost money after they had (as with many similar scams this year) become excited by the promise of huge returns:

“I clicked on the banner and the next thing I know was that I had gotten a phone call and I was asked to give just $250, and I said to myself, ok, you’ll make a lot of money They took the maximum from all of my cards. They took everything. I have nothing. I can’t even pay the bills.”

Scam Victim

Police report that the scam began in November 2017 and bore the hallmarks of a classical Ponzi scheme: clients would first be given actual returns so as to convince them that the investments were legitimate, before being squeezed for much larger amounts which would never be returned.

Scams on the Rise

With the Israeli Foreign Ministry investigating this latest scheme, the rise in crypto-based scams seems to be concomitant with the ascendance of the cryptocurrency industry in general.

Just last week yet another cryptocurrency pyramid scheme - worth $47m - was exposed in China as it seems authorities across the globe struggle to get to grips with this new wave of financial crime.

Nexo Co-Founder: Bitcoin Doubters Are Running Out Of Reasons

Michael LaVere
  • Nexo exec says bitcoin doubters are running out of reasons. 
  • The price of BTC broke $12,600 for the first time in over a year. 

Bitcoin doubters are running out of steam in 2019, especially as the price of BTC trends towards new highs. 

No Longer Doubting Bitcoin

Antoni Trenchev, co-founder and managing partner of cryptocurrency lending startup Nexo, appeared on CNBC  onJune 25 to take aim at bitcoin detractors. In the interview, Trenchev explained that bitcoin has been declared dead more than 300 times, with 90 occasions occurring in the past year. 

Nexo Antoni Trenchev Bitcoin DoubtersAntoni Trenchev appeared on CNBC to discuss bitcoin's price rally | Source: CNBC

Crypto bears such as Warren Buffett and Peter Schiff have continued to call for the demise of bitcoin, despite the price trading above $11,000. Trenchev declared that bitcoin “has risen from the ashes yet again.”

He continued, 

“I think, you know, the doubters are having a really hard time continuing their cause.”

Institutional Interest In Cryptocurrency

Trenchev gave his reasons for the increased rise in bitcoin price. He highlighted institutional participation, including the launch of JP Morgan’s JPMCoin pilot at the end of the year. Geopolitical turmoil has also been favorable for the price of bitcoin. 

In early April, concerns over Brexit sparked the initial rally which saw bitcoin jump above $4,000. More recently, deteriorating US-China and US-Mexico trade relations have led to anxiety in the stock market. With President Trump now threatening sanctions against Iran, bitcoin is becoming a favorable digital asset for investors fleeing traditional markets. 

Set For New Heights in 2019

Despite crypto proponents losing confidence during last year’s bear market, Trenchev believes skepticism is shifting towards current bitcoin detractors. 

He told CNBC, 

“[During] the bear market of 2018, we’ve seen even the harshest proponents turning skeptical at some point, and this usually is the inflection point from which, you know, assets start rallying again, but I think it is really about institutional support and implications that it has in terms of mass adoption.”

Trenchev also gave a nod to Facebook’s Libra. While Facebook has created a storm of global regulatory concern over Libra, the digital currency has driven new interest into cryptoassets -- even if bitcoin's price was already on the rise. 

In all, Nexo’s co-founder believes it is more difficult to doubt bitcoin in 2019. The landscape for crypto has shifted since last year’s market collapse, which will provide a springboard for adoption and price.