Russian-based Ponzi scheme Finiko crushed carrying away $1.5 billion in bitcoins, according to the Chainalysis report.
Finiko’s damage to users may be greater than initial estimates. On September 1, Chainalysis released a report on cryptocurrency crimes in Eastern Europe. According to their calculations, between December 2019 and August 2021, Finiko received over $1.5 billion in bitcoins through over 800,000 individual deposits.
Earlier losses of Finiko users were estimated at $95 million. If the calculations of the Chainalysis analysts are correct, then Finiko will become one of the largest cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes in the whole history of the cryptocurrency industry. The largest one remains Chinese OneCoin, whose collapse resulted in approximately $4 billion blown away from their owners.
Chainalysis notes that most of Finiko’s defrauded users are residents of Russia and Ukraine. Analysts explain that due to problems with access to financial products, devaluation of national currencies and limited investment opportunities, Russians and Ukrainians are more vulnerable to Ponzi schemes such as Finiko.
Finiko founder Kirill Doronin was arrested in Kazan at the end of July. He held a passport of a Turkish citizen with his photograph, but in the name of Onur Namik.
The Chainalysis report notes that while Western Europe is ahead of Eastern Europe in terms of cryptocurrency usage, cryptocurrency scams are more prevalent in Eastern Europe. Finiko accounts for over half of all deposits sent to fraudulent addresses. At the country level, Ukraine ranked first in terms of visits to sites of cryptocurrency fraudulent projects. According to this indicator, Ukraine is twice ahead of the United States, which is located on the second line of the rating.