According to JoongAng, South Korea’s largest mainstream media outlet, investors in the local cryptocurrency exchange market are outraged over Bitcoin Platinum, an alleged scam created by a South Korean teenager.
The Twitter handle @bitcoinplatinum, the official account of the Bitcoin Platinum project has advertised the project, as a hard fork of the Bitcoin Blockchain. Earlier this month, the creator of Bitcoin Platinum claimed that a group of miners, developers, investors and Bitcoin users will hard fork the Bitcoin protocol at block 498,577.
However, the Twitter account has not provided the public with any information about supporters, developers, investors and/or miners. Even before this most recent incident that set off the South Korean Bitcoin community, investors remained highly skeptical of the project given its vague description and vision. Bitcoin Platinum claimed to achieve “Satoshi’s original vision of Bitcoin as decentralized electronic cash,” copying the vision of Bitcoin Cash.
Adding to the skepticism, the Bitcoin Platinum account has not offered any additional information apart from PR gibberish. One statement from Bitcoin Platinum read:
“Bitcoin Platinum brings true Blockchain ledger to the world. Merchants and users are empowered with low fees and reliable confirmations. The future shines brightly with unrestricted growth, global adoption, permissionless innovation and decentralized development.”
Earlier today, on Dec. 10, after releasing all of the statements in English since the first week of November, the Bitcoin Platinum Twitter account holder wrote in Korean:
The brief statements above, written with a highly informal tone, read:
“[Bitcoin] shorting very good,” and “so who told you to buy Bitcoin, shorting [Bitcoin] is the best.”
Based on the tweets released by Bitcoin Platinum, the motivation behind the Bitcoin Platinum project evidently was to try to decrease the price of Bitcoin by introducing a hard fork and profit off the short-term price trend of Bitcoin by shorting it.
JoongAng and other South Korean mainstream media outlets revealed that the administrator of the Bitcoin Platinum Twitter account and the creator of the project, which is now suspected be a scam, is a South Korean teenager, who allegedly introduced the project to find an opportunity to short Bitcoin in the South Korean Bitcoin exchange market.
The teenager then admitted on Twitter from the Bitcoin Platinum account that the project was created as a scam. The Bitcoin Platinum creator wrote:
“Please forgive me. Bitcoin Platinum is a scam coin. I created the project to earn five mln Korean won ($4,590).”
South Korean government’s plan
Last month, a $200 mln Ponzi scheme was unraveled, which targeted middle-aged investors. The operators of the Ponzi scheme established a Bitcoin consultancy firm in Seoul, lured in investors in the market, and offered unrealistic profit margins, claiming that their money would be invested in Bitcoin.
Ultimately, the five individuals behind the Ponzi scheme were arrested, as investors requested a local police department to investigate into the scam many months after they did not receive any payouts from the operators.
In the upcoming months, the South Korean government and its cryptocurrency task force formed by five ministries and commissions, including the ministry of strategy and finance, will create policies to regulate the South Korean cryptocurrency market. The upcoming regulation is an effort to crackdown on scams and fraudulent operations, such as the $200 mln Ponzi scheme mentioned above and, most recently, Bitcoin Platinum.