PlusToken Effect: Alleged Asian Exit Scam to Blame for Market Decline?

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A hobbyist blockchain researcher reported on Twitter that he'd tracked almost 200,000 BTC that had gone missing over the summer, when several million people invested in PlusToken - a South Korea-based exchange and a high-yield investment program - found themselves unable to withdraw their money.

The greatest exit scam in historyThe story of PlusToken is a testament to the fundamental disconnect in contact between the Asian and Western crypto spaces.

Launched in May 2018, PlusToken offered both a wallet service to store cryptocurrencies and an investment program promising high monthly returns on stored funds, between 8% and 16%. It was primarily marketed in China and South Korea, although Wan reported that the exchange's customers were also located in Europe and even North America.

The scheme reportedly targeted a mainstream audience of people not particularly savvy with crypto, emphasizing the "Educational" component of the operation, which came down to teaching new members how to deposit funds via the PlusToken app.

While the six allegedly high-ranking members of the operation found themselves in custody, other purported PlusToken bosses, including a Korean and a Russian, remained at large.

Money on the moveOn Aug. 14, news emerged that the funds associated with PlusToken were being moved to exchanges.

A few days later, crypto watchdog Whale Alert pointed to four transactions totaling almost 23,000 BTC that were likely PlusToken proceeds.

Three months later, what can be made out of the new wave of media attention to the matter? Granted, it was not until late November that members of the crypto community first came to suspect that the spoils from the PlusToken scheme could exert considerable selling pressure on the market.

Conducted by a crypto enthusiast who goes by Ergo on Twitter and Medium, the analysis connects some dots in the PlusToken plot by tracing the funds allegedly associated with it and estimating the average pace at which they get dumped into the market.

By late October, the researcher was able to track some 54,000 out of the alleged 200,000 BTC linked to the PlusToken scheme that were mixed using these two techniques.