Chinese Police Discover $1.5 Billion Cryptocurrency World Cup Gambling Ring

July 13, 2018 9:18 pm Published by
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Chinese authorities said they broke up World Cup gambling ring which was hosting more than 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) worth of cryptocurrency bets on Friday, marking one of the first major sports betting crimes involving digital currency in China, according to The South China Morning Post. 

Police from the Guangdong province posted an online statement which said they apprehended six major suspects involved in the gambling ring and froze nearly five million yuan in their bank accounts while also seizing more than 10 million yuan worth of cryptocurrencies they owned through the online accounts.

The criminals ran the gambling ring from the dark web and accepted bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin, according to the Guangdong’s police statement. 

The statement said it was online for eight months and attracted 330,000 registers users from around the world. 

There were also 8,000 agents who earned commissions from recruiting new members through a pyramid scheme, according to the statement. 

The police said the criminals “used the loophole that virtual currency is not effectively regulated in our country” to make huge profits.

China shut down all of its local cryptocurrency exchanges last September and banned all initial coin offerings over fears they could provoke financial instability and called for regulating the new technology. 

The Chinese central bank said this week the yuan-bitcoin trading pair fell to less than one percent of the world’s total bitcoin trading, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Chinese authorities have uncovered a number of gambling syndicates online since the start of the World Cup in Russia this year. 

Last week, Beijing police said they arrested more than 40 suspects linked to an online gambling plot that had more than 320 million yuan in bets made on the site. 

Guangdong police also released another statement which said they arrested a total of 540 suspects from 20 gambling rings and froze 260 million yuan related to the criminal groups. 

But they said the cryptocurrency case was “the most representative of the new-type of online football gambling so far.”, Maureen Foody

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