Turcoin, whose sales began in October 2017, was exposed as a Ponzi Scheme after the founders of the company reportedly fled the country, with Turkish Lira [TL] 100 million collected from 10,000 people.
The Turkish Minute reports a steal of TL 100 million, while the Ahval News reports that “Executives of a Cyprus-based company which introduced Turkey’s first cryptocurrency fled the country with 1 billion Turkish liras.” TL 1 billion equals around $212 million.
The altcoin was launched by Istanbul based company Hipper, founded by Muhammed Satıroğlu and Sadun Kaya last year. They claimed that Turcoin would be the ‘national cryptocurrency’, even if the government never accepted it.
The token became a household name after a lavish party was thrown, which many Turkish celebrities attended, to promote the cryptocurrency, reports the Turkish Minute. Early adopters were gifted luxury cars by the company, in an attempt to bring even more people to buy the currency. An early adopter told the Hürriyet daily:
“Some of the cars were really given away and some of them were there only for show to persuade more people to join the system.”
Each new participant would bring more revenue to the person who signed them up. The company stopped paying dividends in early June, leading many members to call its center in Istanbul, but no one answered. Also, growth had stopped, and people started getting suspicious about two weeks ago.
Satıroğlu, a partner who owned 49 percent of Hipper, told Hürriyet:
“I was only a mediator. Our company Hipper does not even have a single dollar in the bank. All the money went to Sadun Kaya’s company in Cyprus.”
Kaya, who holds 51 percent of the company, has a criminal complaint filed against him by the other members of Hipper, who accused him of fleeing the country with TL 100 million.
Can Okar tweeted:
“In the least surprising news of the day, it turns out Turcoin, the Turkish cryptocurrency, was a Ponzi scheme. It’s founders have apparently disappeared with around $200m. That was more than predictable – it was a certainty.”
“They actually ran TV adverts. Incredible chutzpah.”
Arieh Kovler replied:
“That’s terrible. And the added credibility of TV probably drew in thousands of naive ‘investors’”
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