“Rug pulls” or exit scams have been around ever since the beginning of time.
Whenever you invest in a new stock or start a new business with someone you have never worked with, the chances of it being a scam is significant.
One can never be entirely sure. Cryptocurrency has surely had its fair share of such scams.
A crypto exit scam or a rug pull is when an individual or a company lies about their business operations and goal in order to fool people to save money into their venture.
Once they manage to lure in a significant number of people, they vanish. Usually they wipe out all evidence including their websites and social media presences which are fake to begin with in most cases.
Some of these schemes have turned into a cautionary tale for other people.
Over the time people have become more careful about where they invest their money but at the same time the scammers have also become smarter.
We have compiled a detailed list of such exit scams in cryptocurrency projects.
This list should be taken as a reminder in general for people to be extremely careful when making decisions about cryptocurrency services or investments.
MetaDAO Scam of December 27,2021
In this case the funds that were stolen amounted upto $3.8 million, which was equivalent to 800 ETH.
Etherscan shows that multiple transactions took place involving the TornadoCash funds. The entire scam took place under a project named MetaDAO.
All of this happened just before New Year’s Eve. Early morning on December 27, 2021, a blockchain security firm named Peckshield put out an alert that MetaDAO had made $3.8 million in a rug pull scam.
It then proceeded to move the robbed amount to Tornado Cash. This privacy protocol provides a high degree of anonymity to the perpetrators.
Metaswap Gas Scam of December 27, 2021
On December 27, 2021, MGAS token of Metaswap suffered a huge price drop of 46.99%.
Peckshield was the first to inform its investors of this bad news. Metaswap allows NFT (nonfungible token) swaps over Polygon, Binance and Ethereum blockchains.
Soon after the massive price drop that was highly unexpected, all official Metaswap Gas accounts such as Medium, Instagram and Twitter were shut down and removed.
This gave further evidence to back Peckshield’s claim about this being a rug pull.
Squid Game Token Scam of November 2021
This crash took place in November, 2021. This project was named after Squid Game, a Netflix series that went viral all over the internet.
There was no official connection between this project and the actual series even though the website for this crypto claimed otherwise.
The developers of the project let go of all their tokens in the market for $11.9 million (22,328 BNB). This brought down the token’s price close to zero.
This crypto exit scam left its victims utterly shocked mainly because they had genuinely fallen for the false information on the project’s website about it being connected to the actual Netflix series.
AnubisDAO Scam of October 2021
This was a brand new crypto project that lost all of its funds in a phishing attack. They had managed to raise $60 million almost overnight.
It was a major hit for the investors and it occurred in October 2021.
AnubisDAO was a branch of OlympusDAO, which is a cryptocurrency that has the backing of the assets in its treasury.
Luna Yield Rug Pull of August 2021
Solana was a rapidly growing blockchain network that went through its first ever rug pull with Luna Yield in August 2021. This APY yield farm was launched recently.
It was quite apparent that the farm’s creators stole millions of dollars from investors and ran off. hoakegani was a Solana developer who was the first one to report this news on Twitter.
Hoakegani claimed that according to his analysis, crypto assets of about $8 million worth were stolen from Luna Yield.
COSS Scam 2017-2020
COSS managed to raise $3.2 million in September of 2017 through its ICO.
This was an appropriate financial runway for acquiring six adequately qualified developers and other help (compliance always, legal counsel, etc) if the amount is managed properly.
Coinroom Scam 2017-2020
Coinroom was one of the most influential cryptocurrency exchanges in the entire Poland. It closed down all of its functions suddenly in April 2020.
This was the part of a crypto exit scam that rendered thousands of investors as victims.
Plus Token Scam 2018-2019
This crypto exit scam was basically a cryptocurrency ponzi scheme that was hidden under a lucrative investment program. The creators of this program shutdown its operations in June 2018.
Over $3 Billion dollars in the form of cryptocurrencies (EOS, Ethereum and Bitcoin) were withdrawn by fraudsters at that time and then they abandoned ship.
Bitsane Scam 2017-2019
This was an Irish cryptocurrency that pulled a crypto exit scam. They managed to take cryptocurrency that was worth over thousands of dollars.
The entire sum belongs to the multiple investors who had been scammed.
Bitsane’s website had been pulled down since June 17 , 2019. Later their Twitter and Facebook accounts also turned offline.
All the LinkedIn accounts belonging to their major employees had also been removed.
OneCoin Rug Pull (2014-2019)
This crypto company was based in Bulgaria and it was fully functional until the end of November 2019. After which 8 turned into the industry’s most hated crypto exit scams.
They also had criminal proceedings going on against them after they were allegedly involved in a Ponzi scheme worth $4.4 billion.
Such examples should be used as teaching examples for the future so that others do not make the same mistakes.
This was a South Korean crypto exit scam. The ICO fooled its investors and stole around $2.8 million before they vanished from all across the internet.
This wasn’t as remarkable of an exit scam as they usually are because what they pulled is quite a common pattern.
Pure Bit took down its website after it had indulged in this exit scam.
This was a cryptocurrency startup that promised to revolutionise the vegetable and fruit industry by putting themselves Ethereum.
They pulled a remarkable exit scam during which they left their ICO investors with nothing but only a single word “penis”.
They did leave quite an impression on their investors to be wary of any such investment in the future.
The CEO or founder for this scam is unknown. However it cannot be found on exchanges anymore so it has been moved to the dead coins collection because it was most probably a crypto exit scam.
If you take a look at the block broker white paper you will see that there is little material of technical substance and the entire thing contains large amounts of grammatical errors.
Moreover it is basically quite evident that their intentions were not good from the start.
Regardless of this they were able to collect an investment of over $3 million. It shows that all the warning signs fell short of convincing every single investor.
The Gosling gaffe tried to dissuade many investors from putting their money into this company.
The main reason behind this was that the website of the business had no whitepaper on it and it just mentioned that it was coming soon.
Regardless of all the red flags this company was able to raise $830,000 in the form of investments despite the fact that their entire management team never existed.
Centra Scam 2017-2018
This is a straightforward crypto exit scam. Centra managed to generate an investment of over $32 million after their fraudulent ICO.
The main culprits were the two co-founders who were later arrested after they had been charged.
Pincoin Scam 2017-2018
This major crypto exit scam involves over 32,000 victims who were duped into investing $660 million in ICO held for a Vietnamese cryptocurrency firm called Modern Tech.
The firm first launched the Pincoin ICO during which they promised their investors that they will continue to receive consistent returns.
Initially the investors received some cash but later the company started paying in the form of iFan tokens. Thereafter the entire team completely vanished.
Benebit Scam 2017-2018
Benebit was 2017’s most popular ICO. They managed to pull a well thought out crypto exit scam, whereby they managed to dupe their investors out of $2.7 million.
Until the year 2018 this was the biggest crypto exit scam that had ever taken place.
This fraud got attention when people started to notice that the photos of the team mentioned on the website were actually taken from the web page of a school.
When this came to light the entire team got scared and they scattered away along with the investors’ money.
ACChain, Puyin and BioLifeChain Scam 2017-2018
This is another major crypto exit scam. It has been claimed that over $60 million has been stolen from investors.
Out of this the bigger chunk of $40 million was taken by ACChain and Puyin. The smaller amount of $20 million was taken by BioLifeChain.
A significant number of these culprits have been arrested so far but some of them are already putting together another ICO named Themis.
Giza Scam 2017-2018
In this crypto exit scam the scammers managed to take off with a little above $2 million in the form of cryptocurrency.
They did this by putting together a fake ICO. The people who made this happen were also linked to another theft that occurred recently.
An actor formed a fake profile on LinkedIn and took pictures from different Instagram users to put together a false front.
By doing this they managed to draw out around 1000 investors. This ICO was called Giza.
NVO Scam 2017-2018
NVO made huge promises during their ICO about delivering a top notch DEX functioning that was unparalleled.
They also promised their investors that they were going to give out dividends from exchange fees. This promise was made to all the token holders.
Bitconnect Scam 2016-2018
This company made its first appearance in late December of 2016. By 2017 it had made a strong position for itself on the CoinMarketCap.
During the time of its heyday, Bitconnect had a market cap of around $2.6 billion.
LoopX Scam 2016-2018
A crypto exit scam that left people utterly shocked in the year 2018 was that of LoopX.
They just vanished with millions of dollars that belonged to their investors.
They had a fishy looking platform which promised to earn back the investors’ money with its trading algorithm.
It disappeared all of a sudden after investors had put in a sum of $4.5 million during the ICO.
After the disappearance the firm also took off their social media accounts such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc and their website.
The SEC made an announcement about putting a stop to a firm that made $15 million through a huge number of investors by making false promises regarding huge amounts of profits.
The company claimed in their ICO that they would give a 13-fold profit. They put a complete halt to all functions of the company and froze all their assets.
Later the SEC went on to file charges against Dominic Lacroix, the owner of PlexCorps.
The commission’s complaint alleged that PlexCorps sold commodities called PlexCoin across the internet to US-based investors and people from other places.
They claimed that PlexCoin would generate profits of over 1354 percent within 29 days.
The SEC also went after Sabrina Paradis-Royer, who was Lacroix’s partner.
This Houdini type crypto exit scam left investors shocked in 2017.
The victims rushed to Reddit to put up warnings for other people to not invest in a new crypto business called Confido as it had vanished completely after collecting $374,477 from gullible investors.
The firm that was claiming to introduce a new form of trustless payment solution that would be decentralised, had all of sudden removed their website.
This left quite a lot of crypto enthusiasts in shock.
Recoin And DRC
The SEC claimed that Maksim Zaslavskiy had been selling securities that were unregistered and those digital coins or tokens that were being peddled didn’t actually exist.
Both the companies had told their investors that they could expect sizable returns when they had no real operations to begin with.
Opair And Ebitz
Wasserman was the main culprit in this crypto exit scam. A large community of investors have been trying to hunt down this scammer who managed to rob 388 BTC.
This mastermind really managed to dupe his investors into giving up their money in the way of these ICOs.
Opair had been promoting a debit card system that was decentralised on a token name XPO.
Investors later discovered that most of their staff had fake LinkedIn profiles. They managed to rob 190 BTC in their ICO that took place in summer, 2016.
The mastermind behind this crypto exit scam has aptly titled it as PonziCoin. This was a well thought-out pyramid scheme.
Early investors need to bring in more people and gradually help the culprit make more money.
The scammer eventually ran off with $7000 which must equal a value of $2.2 million in the current times.