Over 12,000 bitcoins (currently worth over $117 million), associated with alleged crypto Ponzi scheme PlusToken, have just moved to two new blockchain addresses.
The two addresses are here and here, Chiachih Wu, vice president of research at Chinese blockchain security firm PeckShield, tweeted today. The first address contains over 11,999 bitcoins and the second address contains over 424 bitcoins.
Wu said the new addresses look like “cold wallets.” Cold storage refers to keeping private keys on a hardware device, disconnected from the internet.
The PlusToken scheme, suspected to be one of the largest cryptocurrency exit scams to date, has swindled nearly $2.9 billion worth of users’ funds, according to estimations from blockchain analytics firm CipherTrace. PlusToken claimed to have around 4 million users.
Six suspects affiliated with PlusToken have been arrested, Chinese police officials confirmed to The Block last August, although main operators of the scheme are still on the run.
One notable finding in PlusToken research, by blockchain analytics firms such as Elementus and Chainalysis, has been crypto exchange Huobi’s involvement in the scheme. For instance, Elementus found that almost 50% of all PlusToken withdrawals were sent to Huobi, indicating a “strong bias” toward the Chinese cryptocurrency exchange.
Chainalysis, on the other hand, found that “nearly all of the funds” were moved to the addresses of over-the-counter (OTC) brokers on Huobi with lax know-your-customer (KYC) requirements.