This morning, news broke that there has been a massive development in the PlusToken case.
PlusToken was a 2019-era crypto Ponzi scheme that managed to trick mostly users in Asia into depositing billions worth of Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, and a number of other digital assets.
The news released today by The Block found that $4.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been seized by lawmakers in China. It was rumored that there were still many of PlusToken’s ringleaders on the run, though this report may have put this rumor to rest.
The holdings that Chinese authorities claim to have seized are substantial: 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.
While these assets only had a value of approximately $2 billion when they were first sent to the scam, they now value at $4.2 billion.
What the report didn’t make clear was whether or not these tokens have been sold.
The crypto market correction in 2019 is rumored to have been caused by an influx of selling pressure of Bitcoin and Ethereum on exchanges like Huobi, seemingly from PlusToken-related addresses. This report appears to have contradicted this, or did it?
Did the Chinese government sell the billions in stolen crypto?
According to Chinese crypto reporter “Wu,” there is a likelihood that the government sold a large portion of the coins:
“The Chinese government seized 190,000 BTC and 830,000 ETH from the Plustoken MLM case, with a total value of billions of dollars. The official announcement seems to indicate that the government has sold it and returned to the central treasury managed by the central bank.”
The Chinese government seized 190,000 BTC and 830,000 ETH from the Plustoken MLM case, with a total value of billions of dollars. The official announcement seems to indicate that the government has sold it and returned to the central treasury managed by the central bank. pic.twitter.com/o3VTPQ40RK
— Wu Blockchain（Chinese Crypto Reporter） (@WuBlockchain) November 27, 2020
This is in line with blockchain analytics, which has found that a large chunk of the PlusToken coins have yet to move while most were sold earlier this year or late last year on exchanges such as OKEx and Huobi.
This also irons out the confusion about how PlusToken funds were able to be deposited on these centralized exchanges without authorities freezing the funds.
Matthew Graham, a blockchain-focused investor based in China, corroborated this sentiment. He said that from reading the court documents, it is likely that the coins were “mostly sold,” so there’s no need for FUD.
It is unclear how China will go about selling the rest of the funds, if at all.
Further, it is currently unclear if China will try and reimburse the funds to affected users. As the funds went through mixers, it isn’t known if there is a way to easily track who sent what to the scam over time.
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