In what appears to be a strange twist, the exit scammers behind the “Pure Bit” cryptocurrency exchange have recently started refunding their victims after claiming they’ve made a terrible mistake while “blinded by money.”
As CryptoGlobe recently covered, the scammers raised funds this month through an initial coin offering (ICO) that was set to last until November 30. Before waiting for it to end, the group shut down its website and kicked investors out of their Kakao group, before emptying their wallets and running away with 13,000 ETH.
Pure Bit had promised investors the raised funds would be used to launch a cryptocurrency exchange and a token called “Pure Coin.” The coin would both be used to reward holders with regular dividends, and to reward those who traded it. To get more investors on board, Pure Bit reportedly ran affiliate campaigns. It required a minimum investment of 5 ETH.
The project’s team remained anonymous during the ICO, as it was based in South Korea – a country in which the fundraising practice has been banned. This made it riskier for investors, but it seems widespread media coverage brought the authorities’ attention and saw the scammers start returning 50% of the funds stolen.
In the group’s statement, they admit what they’ve done and recognized they “negatively affected investors in the project” both financially and psychologically. Per their words, they’ve made an “unforgivable mistake that cannot be turned around, blinded by money.”
The statement ends with an admission of guilt, and an apology to the ICO’s investors who were affected by the scheme. Blockchain data reveals the team behind Pure Bit has indeed been refunding some users, as addresses that sent them large amounts of ETH little over a week ago are currently receiving their money back.
While some believe the scammers did get a change of heart, others have pointed out the attention brought to the case could see the South Korean authorities launch an investigation. As CryptoGlobe covered, exit scams have been somewhat regular this year, as they’ve already taken over $100 million from investors, according to a report.