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Another day, another Ponzi scheme.
This time around it’s a couple in Australia, who lost $30,000 in an investment scheme that promised returns of up to 15 percent weekly, ABC news reported. The company, Coinexx.org—designed to catch out unwitting browsers looking for the legitimate Coinexx.com site—offered investments in bitcoin that were supposed to bring in high yields. It presented the logos of a number of crypto exchanges that it was supposedly working with.
Initially, things went well for Nick Yeomans and his wife Josie, both from Canberra, Australia. The two, who had discovered the site via Facebook, put down $1,400 AUD ($980 US) expecting to never see the money again, only to find their investment had more than doubled in six months. Sensing they’d struck gold, the Yeomans went all in. Nick Yeoman quit his job to manage his investments on Coinexx full time, they sold off possessions and even convinced other family members to pour in cash to the scheme. Then things started to turn sour.
The site asked for a substantial fee in order to “comply with the law” which the Yeomans duly obliged. After that point, gaining access to their money slowly ebbed away. After one final attempt to retrieve their money failed, they received a message via Whatsapp from the site’s administrators that said, "Let me save you the stress, cus (sic.) you've been through a lot already. Coinexx is a scam. Everything and everyone involved are [sic] the same," the message read. "Don't bother about trying to get back your money. Just focus on getting money to take care of your family." And the money was gone.
On reflection, the pair realized there were a number of red flags they should have taken note of–one of the main ones being the company’s headquarters listed at the same address of the London Aquarium.
Ponzi schemes are a dime a dozen in the crypto market. The most famous example is Bitconnect, which shut down in January 2018, after causing the loss of $1.5 billion in investor cash–before becoming a widespread meme. Other such examples include a diamond-backed scheme called Argyle and a “double your bitcoin” website called Doubly.
Will it never end?