Chinese authorities have charged four suspects for allegedly operating a $2 bln cryptocurrency pyramid scheme OneCoin, Wednesday.
The pyramid scheme involved nearly two million investors and totaled ¥15 bln Yuan equivalent to $2 bln USD, according to a statement released by prosecutors in China’s Hunan province.
The suspects were charged as part of an extensive global investigation into the cryptocurrency investment scheme called OneCoin.
The OneCoin scheme, founded by Bulgarian entrepreneur Ruja Ignatova, has been fraught with police investigations in several other countries including India, Finland, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, and Italy.
The scheme operates under the guise of selling educational material for crypto trading. Members can buy educational packages ranging from 100 euros to 118,000 euros which include "tokens" that can be assigned to "mine," but no method of trading Onecoins with other currencies exists.
While the company claims that OneCoin doesn't sell cryptocurrency, but only educational material, many investors say that educational content is barely mentioned.
China has imposed stiff penalties against cryptocurrency fraud. Nearly 100 people have been prosecuted for allegedly deceiving investors in 20 provinces. Fraudsters have been sentenced up to four years in prison and face hefty fines.