Over $4.2bn Seized in PlusToken Crackdown So Far, Court Documents Show
While the PlusToken saga is far from over, the latest development in one of the largest Ponzi schemes China has ever seen shows that there’s very little life left in the case. According to the latest reports coming from local news sources and provincial courts, more than $4.2 billion worth of various cryptocurrencies have so far been seized in the case.
This information was first revealed by the Jiangsu Yancheng Intermediate People’s Court in Nanjing in a November 19 judgement, but it wasn’t until November 27 that the judgement was made public. The document quickly began making headlines in local media, as it was the first time a court has published details of all of the crypto assets seized by the Chinese police during their investigation of the PlusToken case.
According to the document, police forces have seized bitcoin, ether, litecoin, EOS, DASH, XRP, DOGE, bitcoin cash, and USDT from dozens of addresses associated with people involved in the PlusToken scheme. With 194,775 BTC, 833,083 ETH, 1.4 million LTC, 27.6 million EOS, 74,167 DASH, 487 million XRP, 6 billion DOGE, 79,581 BCH, and 213,724 USDT seized, the worth of all of the appropriated funds is estimated at around $4.2 billion at current market prices.
In its November 16 ruling, the court said that it will begin processing the seized cryptocurrencies according to local laws. Many have assumed that this means that the local police authorities will begin selling off the seized funds, with all of the proceeds and gains from the selloffs forfeited to the national treasury.
However, neither the Yancheng Intermediate People’s Court nor the local Nanjing police have shared any further details about how exactly they plan to “process” the seized funds or what methods they will use. Nonetheless, many assume that the selloff process will take weeks or even months to complete and will most likely be done through OTC trading desks to avoid tanking the market with $4.2 billion worth of extremely volatile cryptocurrencies.
And while the seized sum is the largest ever made by Chinese authorities when it comes to investigating cryptocurrency scams, there is still a lot left to recover from the PlusToken ponzi scheme.
Local authorities estimate that, between April 2018 and June 2019, the scheme absorbed more than 314,000 BTC, 117,450 BCH, 96,023 DASH, 11 billion DOGE, 1.84 million LTC, 9 million ETH, 51 million EOS, and 928 million XRP. These funds were worth almost 15 billion yuan at their lowest price between May 2018 and June 2019, the court said in the judgement. If recovered in total today, the cryptocurrencies associated with PlusToken would be worth over $11 billion at current market prices.
However, given the fact that the court managed to trace $19 million dollars worth of cryptocurrencies that were laundered into Chinese yuan, it’s possible that the public will never see all of the PlusToken money recovered.
Priyeshu is a software engineer who is passionate about machine learning and blockchain technology. He built his first digital marketing startup as a teenager and worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies. He's an alumni from mass-transit app Ola and holds a degree in computer science engineering.
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