Scams are quite common in the world of virtual currencies. And, recently in Vietnam, blockchain companies – IFan and Pincoin – duped investors of millions of dollars.
Ho Chi Minh-based startup Modern Tech is now at the center of an investigation behind a scam after duping as many as 32,000 investors of an estimated $660 million in relation to two Ponzi schemes involving cryptocurrency projects and their Initial Coin Offerings.
The company had claimed to be the authorized representative of the two cryptocurrencies in Vietnam and was responsible for conducting two ICOs on their behalf.
The Modern Tech agreed to repay clients monthly interest and more if they could attract other customers into the schemes, but has been slow to pay them back, VNExpress reported.
At the end of 2017, interest payments started to come in late, and media reports say that the company vacated its office premise in Ho Chi Minh City a month ago.
The fraud came to light when dozens of investors descended on the headquarters of Modern Tech Sunday, demanding refunds from the company for the cryptocurrencies it claimed to represent, reported a local publication Tuoi Tre News.
The company has been accused of encouraging people to invest in its cryptocurrencies, the iFan and Pincoin. The Modern Tech claimed the two cryptocurrencies had been established in Singapore and Dubai respectively. However, the websites for both schemes are still online now.
Followed the multi-billion scam, Vietnam is planning to tighten regulations on cryptocurrencies as Vietnam's deputy prime minister ordered an investigation into allegations of the new cryptocurrency fraud.
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue told six ministries to "quickly consider and tackle" the scam, according to a statement on the government's website that didn't name the coins involved, says a Bloomberg report.
A separate statement from Vietnam's prime minister on Wednesday called for the nation's financial companies to avoid handling cryptocurrency transactions, which authorities had previously declared illegal, the Bloomberg report added.
Several cases involving cryptocurrency and bitcoin exactions have reported in the last few months. Earlier this month, Amit Bhardwaj, the founder of GainBitcoin, was arrested in Bangkok. He has been accused of cheating investors to the tune of $300 million.
The criminal investigation department (CID) in Gujarat, India Wednesday booked eight policemen and arrested two of them for extorting bitcoins worth Rs120 million from a Surat-based builder and real estate player. Governments around the world are increasingly scrutinizing the cryptocurrency market following scams.