History’s third largest Ponzi, Plus Token, took in nearly 10 million Ethereum—worth $1.9 billion—from over 800,000 victims, according to analysis conducted by Elementus. These coins have the potential to flood the ETH market should the perpetrators cash out.
Background on the Plus Token Wallet ponzi
Plus Token Wallet, a mobile app promoted across China, South Korea, and South East Asia promising monthly returns upward of 10 percent, collapsed late June—leaving its mark as the world’s third largest Ponzi scam.
Yet, only recently have researchers uncovered the magnitude of the scheme. A few days ago, evidence showed that over $2.1 billion Bitcoin was sitting in Plus Token wallets. These coins may find their way back on to the market, shocking prices with a glut of supply.
Today, an analytics firm released details behind an additional $1.9 billion Ethereum that were taken in by the scam.
Deeper analysis on the Ponzi’s damages
Elementus, a company which indexes and organizes blockchain data, released an analysis showing that the Ponzi collected 9.9 million ETH—worth roughly $1.9 billion at current prices. Of that Ethereum, over 9 million of that seems to have been paid out to “winners” of the pyramid scam.
What remains is 830,000 ETH (~$160 million), which has seen no movement since the end of June. The halt in activity coincides with the arrest of ringleaders from the scam, meaning these coins may be stuck in limbo. Deposits into these Plus Token wallets stopped around June 27, the same time the supposed scam organizers were arrested by Chinese authorities on the island of Vanuatu.
Pessimistically, other second-level ringleaders may have access to these wallets and find ways to dump the coins on exchanges. Optimistically, the arrest of the top-level organizers may mean these coins are lost forever, taking the coins out of circulation and improving the scarcity of Ether.
Given this new data, cumulatively, the Plus Token scam caused at least $4 billion in damages. This astronomical figure cements Plus Token as the third largest Ponzi scheme of all-time, handily placing it ahead of other multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency scams such as BitConnect and OneCoin.
Are the scammers cashing out?
What’s still unclear is whether large transfers out of Plus Token-related wallets are going to “winners” or other second-level organizers inside the scheme. So far, the top 1 percent of participants were able to make-off with millions in Ethereum, each.
Below is a list of the top payout recipients and the associated Ethereum addresses.
Of these withdrawals, 48 percent of payouts went to the mainly Chinese exchange Huobi (now based in Singapore after China’s exchange ban). Other exchanges that were used for liquidating illicit funds include ZB.com at 8.0 percent and Upbit at 5.8 percent.
Depending on the nature of these withdrawals, the recipients of these funds may also be putting downward pressure on the price of ETH. If so, much more than $160 million could enter the Ethereum markets.
Watch out for scams
Cryptocurrency is still poorly understood by the public. This, when combined with the brain-melting gains seen during the bull market of 2017 and Bitcoin’s ascent to a $180 billion dollar asset class, means crypto is the perfect breeding grounds for ‘believable’ cash grabs and exit scams.
Investors need to remain vigilant. It’s easy for a company to make claims that it’s creating a “new paradigm” or “reinventing an industry.” Building a profitable startup, however, is much harder.
Additionally, firms promising retail investors returns via crypto mining, arbitrage, or algorithmic trading are likely scams. Legitimate ventures into these areas seldom solicit funding from retail investors (if they were truly profitable they wouldn’t need money from small-time investors). Ultimately, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Even Bitcoin, the safe haven among crypto veterans, is fraught with risk and volatility. Do your own research, and don’t play with money you can’t risk losing.
Ethereum Price Analysis: ETH Upsurge Could Extend Above $200
- Ethereum price started a strong upward move and broke the $185 resistance against the US Dollar.
- ETH price is trading near the $200 level and it might continue to rise in the near term.
- There was a break above a crucial bearish trend line with resistance near $175 on the 4-hours chart (data feed from Coinbase).
- The price is showing positive signs and it could even break the $200 and $202 resistance levels.
Ethereum price is trading with a positive bias above $190 against the US Dollar. ETH price might correct lower, but dips are likely to remain supported near $190 and $185.
Ethereum Price Analysis
This past week, we saw positive signs for Ethereum price above the $175 support against the US Dollar. The ETH/USD pair followed a bullish path above the $180 level and the 55 simple moving average (4-hours). As a result, there was an upside break above the $182 and $185 resistance levels. On the other hand, bitcoin price struggled to gain traction above the $10,400 and $10,500 resistance levels.
During the recent rise, there was a break above a crucial bearish trend line with resistance near $175 on the 4-hours chart. The pair traded close to $200 and it is currently consolidating gains. An immediate support is near the $194 level, plus the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the recent upward wave from the $174 low to $200 high. If there is a major downside correction, the $186 and $185 levels might provide support.
Moreover, the 50% Fib retracement level of the recent upward wave from the $174 low to $200 high is near the $186 level to provide support. Therefore, dips towards the $186 and $185 levels are likely to find a strong buying interest. Below $185, the price might start a fresh bearish wave and it could revisit the $175 support area.
On the upside, there are two important resistances near $200 and $202. If there is an upside break above $200 and $202, the price could rally significantly above the $205 level. The next major resistance is near the $225 level.
Looking at the chart, Ethereum price is trading in an uptrend above $190 and $185. The current price action indicates more upsides above the $200 and $202 resistances. If there is a downside correction, buyers are likely to protect the $190 and $185 support levels.
4 hours MACD – The MACD for ETH/USD is gaining momentum in the bullish zone.
4 hours RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI for ETH/USD is currently well above the 50 level, with a positive bias.
Key Support Levels – $190, followed by the $185 zone.
Key Resistance Levels – $202 and $225.
Ethereum Taps $200 As Fundamental Case for ETH Swells
While the Bitcoin price has effectively flatlined, finding itself in no man’s land between $10,000 and $10,500, Ethereum has shown some strength.
This move has caught many traders with their pants down, as most have been expecting for Bitcoin’s market dominance to continue to rip higher.
Per the time of writing this article, the cryptocurrency has trended to $197, which translates a 3.5% gain in the past 24 hours, while BTC has posted a slight 0.64% loss.
This strength in Ethereum’s price comes as the network’s fundamentals have continued to improve. Massive companies have started to use the technology, the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem on Ethereum continues to gain traction, and the network is being used more than ever before.
Ethereum in a Strong Fundamental Position
In 2017, Ethereum shocked cryptocurrency investors, rallying from well under $10 to $1,400 in around 18 months’ time — marking one of the biggest short-term wealth creation events that the cryptocurrency markets, even overall financial markets, have ever seen.
This changed in mid-2018, which was when Ethereum started to fall off a cliff as the demand for decentralized applications (dApps) and initial coin offerings tanked. This resulted in Ethereum falling all the way to double digits by December 2018, representing a massive 95% drawdown from the asset’s all-time highs.
Ethereum giveth and taketh away.
But, the wind seems to be in the sails of Ethereum once again — at least from a fundamental point of view.
Last week, Spanish banking giant Santander revealed on Thursday that it had settled a $20 million bond through ERC-20 tokens, which represented custodied cash, on the public iteration of the Ethereum blockchain. As CoinDesk wrote on the matter:
Previously, the World Bank issued a similar blockchain bond but used a private version of ethereum. French lender Societe Generale issued a bond earlier this year on the public ethereum network but said nothing about cash on-ledger.
An executive of Santander’s digital banking initiatives later lauded the pilot transaction, claiming that he sees value in settling bonds on public blockchains like Ethereum.
This comes as the DeFi ecosystem has continued to gain steam, with DeFi Pulse stating that there the amount of ETH locked in Ethereum finance applications is reaching an all-time high. Simultaneously, the number of transactions made with Tether’s USDT stablecoin has continued to surge.
All this has amalgamated in dramatically increased usage of the Ethereum blockchain. Just look to the chart from Etherscan below, which shows that for the first time in about forever, the network’s utilization (defined by average gas per block used over the gas limit per block) has consistently trended in the 90s.
Strong Technical Signs
For those that don’t believe fundamentals are enough to push the Ethereum price around, there have also been technical signs that imply ETH will maintain its bullish momentum. Josh Rager, a prominent analyst and industry investor, noted on Sunday that the ETH/BTC pair has “finally moved and closed above the 20-day moving average”. Rager believes that Ethereum regaining this key support level is a sign that the downtrend has ended, implying a bullish reversal.
Despite this renaissance in Ethereum, there have been investors in high places that have continued to keep their distance.
On September 4th, legendary venture capitalist Fred Wilson came out with his latest blog on the cryptocurrency market. Titled “Some Thoughts On Crypto“, the blog outlined Wilson’s growing skepticism of Ethereum. “Ethereum, as many of you know, confounds me”, Wilson, a co-founder of Union Square Ventures, wrote.
This, for those unaware, comes after he claimed in 2017 that the market capitalization of ETH had the potential to surmount Bitcoin by the end of the year. While the so-called “Flippening” got close to coming to fruition amid the summer of ’17, it never happened.
To date, it still hasn’t happened, with Ethereum currently trading for less than 0.018 BTC — some 85% down from this pair’s all-time high.
Wilson continued, explaining that while the cryptocurrency platform has brought many innovations in the blockchain space — “smart contracts, programmable trust-free computing, potentially proof of stake, and a lot more” — Ethereum remains “hard to build on”. The prominent venture capitalist specifically cites the “scaling issues” and the fact that developers may be jumping ship.
Ethereum (ETH/USD) forecast and analysis on September 17, 2019
Cryptocurrency Ethereum (ETH/USD) is trading at 194. Cryptocurrency quotes are trading below the moving average with a period of 55. This indicates a bullish trend on Ethereum. At the moment, cryptocurrency quotes are moving near the upper border of the Bollinger Bands indicator stripes.
Ethereum (ETH/USD) forecast and analysis on September 17, 2019
As part of the Ethereum forecast, a test of level 190 is expected. Where can we expect an attempt to continue the growth of ETH/USD and the further development of an upward trend. The purpose of this movement is the area near the level of 205. The conservative buying area Ethereum is located near the lower border of the Bollinger Bands indicator strip at 175.
Cancellation of the option to continue the growth of the Ethereum rate will be a breakdown of the lower border of the Bollinger Bands indicator stripes. As well as a moving average with a period of 55 and closing of quotations of the pair below the area of 172. This will indicate a change in the current trend in favor of the bearish for ETH/USD. In case of breakdown of the upper border of the Bollinger Bands indicator bands, we should expect an acceleration in the fall of cryptocurrency.
Ethereum (ETH/USD) forecast and analysis on September 17, 2019 implies a test level of 190. Further growth is expected to continue to the area above the level of 205. The conservative area for buying Ethereum is located area of 175. Cancellation of the growth option of cryptocurrency will be a breakdown of the level of 172. In this case, we should expect a further fall.