A Chinese man who spent 23 years in jail for a murder he never committed has lost one million yuan ($145,000) of his compensation money to OneCoin that many believe is a Ponzi scheme.

In a poignant example of how a lack of education makes lay consumers easy prey for OneCoin, Chen Man only realized he had been involved in a pyramid scheme after his lawyer became suspicious.

“Most people are not familiar with this area, so, in this new field, I could perhaps stand on the same starting line as everyone else,” Sixth Tone quotes Man as saying. “I’ve been disconnected from society for too long.”

OneCoin promised up to 9x returns on Man’s investment when he decided to invest in December 2016, yet after ignoring warnings from a documentary filmmaker following him, he admitted defeat at the weekend when he realized he could not withdraw his investment.

Bitcoin, OneCoin comparison

Reactions to the story in the Chinese media produced bizarre conclusions, with one newspaper stating that Bitcoin “is actually not very different from OneCoin.”

“Ironically, had Man invested the money in Bitcoin instead on Dec. 8, 2016, he would have made around 35 percent profit - or $50,000.”

The Chinese perspective is not alone. Uganda and Nigeria have both recently issued warnings against OneCoin while telling the public there was seemingly no difference between the Ponzi scheme and genuine cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.