With 2022 finally coming to an end, it’s time to take stock of the year’s biggest scams. In an already complex year for investors, these scams didn’t help matters.
Top 5 Crypto Scams of the Year
For this ranking of the most important crypto scams of the year, crypto hacks will not be taken into account, since their origin differs from a project whose creators are suspicious from the start.
1- Pixelmon NFT: $70 million
A game to make money finds itself in trouble again. Players seem constantly worried about cases of cryptocurrency scams or carpet pulling. Yes, it often seems that games in the crypto world are inspired by video games that already existed to initially lure investors.
The idea for Pixelmon embraces this kind of strategy, with an initial goal of getting closer to the world of Pokémon while blending the gameplay with the graphics of Minecraft. Initially, the project teams see themselves going a long way, not hesitating to compare their project to a Pokémon from the metaverse through the purchase of NFTs.
Other elements also contributed to the good launch of the project, the number of NFTs limited to 10,000 as for Blockverse. Pixelmons exist as NFTs and can be used by players in the game and then potentially trained and resold. With a new price of 0.6 ETH for each NFT and knowing that the project included 10,000 non-fungible tokens, no less than $70 million in Ethereum was raised at that time. A feat that NFT gaming enthusiasts won’t soon forget.
2- Bored Bunnies: $20 million
Inspired by Bored Apple, we find another scam through an NFT collection. When hypes exist, it is clearly crucial to pay close attention to the many projects that are born and use the hyped elements of the moment, such as the metaverse, non-fungible tokens or play-to-earn. Sometimes it can be dangerous crypto scams.
For the Bored Bunnies project, celebrities have even been “hired” and used for advertising, such as boxer Floyd Mayweather. The NFTs of the project promised a lot with interesting utility, both in terms of effort and the possibility of “mint” [frapper] other NFTs from the first launches, or the countries attached to the metaverse.
Subsequently, the developers reported various promises, notably developing a roadmap and spin-off collections such as Bored Bad Bunny, which could also be “stamped”. After this coin, a new collection of non-fungible tokens appeared featuring the mutant Bad Bunny.
Unfortunately, nothing followed this news related to the project. In fact, from one day to the next, the developers were discreet, and there was no longer any communication on social networks and on the Discord channel, which was even disabled. A total of $20 million in cryptocurrencies had been raised by investors.
Subsequently, the project team reported a minimum of activity to avoid the Feds resuming after complaints from investors, to feign a resumption of the project and be able to disappear more quietly. Thus, the pretext of launching a collection of physical items (t-shirts or various goodies) allowed developers to save time.
Furthermore, according to Nansen, one in three NFT projects cannot survive over time due to low trading activity. Although the NFTs of the mentioned projects are not trading at $0, volume weakens when the project casts doubt and its creators stop providing news.
3- BNB42: $2.8 million
BNB 42 was a crypto project that promised profits to all these investors. Fast and incredible, these gains were in the order of 100% within days as promised by the project team. Although these crazy promises of gains are generally seen as crypto scams by their only way to proceed, investors still fall into the trap. In this case, several thousand people finally decided to invest in this project.
In total, almost 2.8 million dollars flew away when the scammers behind the project ended the adventure as quickly as it had started. Currently, the project’s website no longer exists at all, as the funds were stolen around mid-February, just after Valentine’s Day, when the creator behind BNB 42 inserted a different contract address to continue.
Subsequently, the trail of the funds was lost after the stolen cryptocurrencies passed through the Tornado Cash cryptomixer. Unlike the other scams, this one was based on the BNB chain and the funds were therefore stolen in BNB.
A total of 6,445 BNB coins passed through Tornado Cash. While the minimum deposit was 0.01 BNB, the project unfortunately received support from some crypto-influencers who helped raise money for the scammers.
4- Baby Musk Coin: $2 million
On paper, this project, which turned out to be one of the great crypto scams, had everything to succeed, with a symbolic name inspired by Elon Musk and the word “baby” like Baby Doge and other projects of this nature.
But again, everything did not go as planned. This same very promising coin ultimately only benefited the developers of the project as $2 million was collected thanks to the ICO. When the price of the token exploded after its launch and took more than 100% in value, the same coin sank and reached a significant low price.
Moreover, by the time the token hit its ATH, investors were unable to sell their tokens, being stuck while others were able to enjoy more profits. However, Baby Musk Coin had several elements that gave it or reinforced its legitimacy, with clear goals, but also a roadmap available on the project’s website, which outlined the main steps to follow for the project.
Among the papers published by the press, the name of the CEO would be leaked, especially on Yahoo Finance: Grant Liu. However, given the way the project sank, all indications are that Liu is not a real name, or at least does not correspond to the CEO of the project. In any case, although the name of Elon Musk has been mentioned in this project, the quirky multi-billionaire has nothing to do with the scam, but his name has been beneficial in publicizing the project more.
5- Blockverse: $1.2 million
There we find a scandal inspired by the world of Minecraft with an NFT game called Blockverse, which absorbed many of the principles of the famous pixelated game. It will not soon be forgotten by investors as it is the first time that a famous video game has been taken over for a crypto project and turned out to be a scam.
The pre-sale for the project was successful as a total of $1.2 million was raised and therefore “stolen” from investors. Initially, the project had investor appeal, with a private project only accessible by NFT that “made” Minecraft more private.
With 10,000 NFTs for sale, an extremely limited number, the project had a flash sale that lasted a few minutes to sell all of those NFTs. The 10,000 NFTs sold therefore very quickly helped raise a total of $1.2 million.
Although the project team has commented on the situation, no refund has yet been made and no relevant information is circulating about an upcoming opening of the famous Minecraft server. What takes a good place in this ranking.
Bonus Crypto Scam: The Ukrainian Government
This year, a “rug pull donors” was created by the Ukrainian government. Although apparently negative and incomprehensible, the phenomenon has an explanation.
Perhaps the only “good” scam in the cryptosphere? While Ukraine has been in the middle of a war since February 2022, the nation has decided to take advantage of cryptocurrencies for the conflict between the country and Russia. Knowing that it is a means of receiving money from donors who defend it and mobilize to collect funds, Ukraine probably thought that the jackpot could be interesting and help it a lot in its war effort, both for the purchase of weapons and for to maintain certain essential public services.
As a reminder, around this time cryptocurrencies entered a bear market, but not yet as advanced as later in the year. The sums of BTC or ETH received by Ukraine were therefore still significant at that time.
After a rapid adoption of digital assets, an airdrop was created for all people who wanted to send money to Kiev.
However, nothing went as planned. Although thousands of donors initially signed up, they seemed more motivated by the lure of potential airdrop profits than helping a country at war. While 60,000 transactions in two days were performed on the Ethereum blockchain for Ukraine’s wallet, the amounts turned out to be paltry, pointing to ill will on the part of donors. The latter actually seemed to be only interested in the airdrop and intended to take advantage of the situation as no minimum amount was required for these donations.
In response, Ukraine decided to to suspend this airdrop and to preserve the funds, while signing one of the most exciting “crypto-scams”. In fact, even though Ukraine walked away with the money from cryptocurrency investors, the investors still made payments to a charity, even if that was not their intention.
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