Justin Sun, the 29-year-old blockchain entrepreneur and CEO of the peer-to-peer file sharing platform BitTorrent, landed in hot water after scammers redeemed the name of his Tron cryptocurrency.
“Early on July 8, 2019, Beijing time, some people tried to enter the Beijing research and development center office of Raybo Technology, a TRON partner, in China,” Tron announced on his Medium account on Monday. “After communicating with the protesters, Raybo staff learned that at least some of the people were being fooled by the so-called ‘Wave Field Super Community’ program, based on its resemblance to the Chinese-language version of the TRON name, to deceive investors . The victims have been promised high returns on their investments on behalf of TRON, BitTorrent and uTorrent. “
Sun founded the cryptocurrency Tron – also known as Bochang or “Wellenfeld” in China – in September 2017 and made headlines last month after successfully bidding $ 4.57 million for a charity dinner with a billionaire and avowed cryptosceptic Warren Buffett .
In January of this year, a group of scammers began promoting the Wave Field Super Community, promoting fake partnerships with Tron and the file sharing platforms BitTorrent and µTorrent to trick victims into “investing” in a multi-tier dividend program . The scammers presented themselves as “super agents” of Tron and said that if new recruits deposited their Tron tokens into certain accounts, they would soon receive high dividends. It worked like a pyramid scheme: in order to achieve a maximum return of up to 360%, the victims were asked not only to deposit their own funds, but also to bring others on board.
After reportedly collecting 200 million yuan ($ 29 million) from duped investors, the scammers disappeared on July 1, closed the Wave Field Super Community app (“for maintenance,” they initially said), resolved chat Groups on and captured on the WeChat social platform The group’s official website – allegedly registered with a person named Pu Hongwei – is offline.
. @Tronfoundation and @BitTorrent is fine. All is well. We are preparing for the launch of #BitTorrentSpeed today. Stop spreading fake news and pictures.
– Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) July 8, 2019
On the same day, Sun published on the microblogging platform Weibo to warn of unproven investment opportunities. A few days later, he posted a similar message on Twitter. “As the leading blockchain protocol, there are Ponzi schemes that use the names #TRON, #BitTorrent, or #uTorrent,” Sun wrote. “We will never ask you to send money.”
Public outcry followed what some Internet users felt was too little and too late. “(We have) asked you in the past – why no answer, boss?” A Weibo user commented on Sun’s post. “What did you think? About half a year until you say something?” Wrote another.
The flames were further fanned after a self-described scam victim’s suicide note and photos of self-harm went viral after being posted on WeChat. The woman said she borrowed a lot of money to invest in the Wave Field Super Community only to find herself penniless and in debt.
In response, industry firm Cryptocurrency News posted a comment on Saturday titled “Trons Justin Sun Didn’t Cause Suicide – But He Didn’t Stop It,” suggesting that Sun is at least partially responsible for the woman’s fate. However, several high-profile people in the blockchain world have waived the article and defended Sun. They said he shouldn’t be held accountable for the apparent suicide, arguing that investors need to carefully conduct their own investigations.
As the leading blockchain protocol, there are Ponzi schemes that use #TRON, # BitTorrent or #uTorrent names such as “MMM #bitcoin, #Ethereum pyramid & # EOS ecosystem schemes”. We will never ask you to send money. Be careful and hodl your $ TRX / $ BTT
– Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) July 5, 2019
Tron said in his Medium post that after learning about the Wave Field Super Community, he “warned investors in his WeChat messaging group, Wei Bo’s official channels – Wei Bo and Dou Yin, etc.” to beware of potentially fraudulent schemes “. (Sixth Tone couldn’t find any posts on Tron’s social media accounts specifically pointing to the Wave Field Super Community.) The company further stated that its partner, Raybo Technology, had ordered the group to stop admitting on Tron’s behalf act reported it to China’s public security organs.
Sun had not responded to Sixth Tone’s request for comment at the time of publication, and attempts to reach Raybo Technology have been unsuccessful.
“@Tronfoundation and @BitTorrent are fine. Everything is fine … stop spreading fake news and pictures, “the blockchain entrepreneur tweeted on Monday – a possible reference to previous reports that Buffett had canceled the charity dinner. According to a press release on Tuesday, the event will continue as planned on July 25th.
Editor: David Paulk.
(Header image: Justin Sun, founder of the Tron cryptocurrency and CEO of the file sharing platform BitTorrent, speaking at an event in Hong Kong in March 2019. Posted by @ 孙宇晨 on Weibo)