Turkish cryptocurrency Turcoin revealed as ‘Ponzi scheme’
Dinçer Gökçe - ISTANBUL
Turcoin, which was presented as Turkey’s “national” alternative digital currency, has been revealed as a Ponzi scheme after its founders disappeared with millions of dollars, but the two were detained on June 19.
Turcoin was launched as an altcoin by Istanbul-based company Hipper, which was founded by Muhammed Satıroğlu and Sadun Kaya last year.
The company had hit the headlines with the lavish gala for the cryptocurrency attended by a number of Turkish celebrities.
While Turcoin claimed to be a “national” cryptocurrency, the company had raised some eyebrows by giving away luxurious cars to its first adopters in October 2017.
“Some of the cars were really given away and some of them were there only for show to persuade more people to join the system,” one early adopter told daily Hürriyet.
As it appeared, the system was indeed more of a Ponzi scheme than a cryptocurrency.
Each new participant would bring more revenue to the person who signed them up. As with all Ponzi schemes, it busted when suspicions rose and growth halted, which happened two weeks ago.
The company stopped paying bonuses in early June, leading many members to call its center in Istanbul, but no one answered.
“I was only a mediator. Our company Hipper does not even have a single dollar in the bank. All the money went to Sadun Kaya’s company in Cyprus,” the partner Muhammed Satıroğlu, who owned 49 percent of Hipper, told daily Hürriyet.
Sadun Kaya, who holds 51 percent of the company, does not answer their calls anymore, the members complain.
Satıroğlu also joined the members while filing a criminal complaint against Kaya, who is accused of fleeing the country with 100 million Turkish Liras collected from 10,000 people.
“I have not fled with the money. I will return all the money to the members if authorities unblock my bank accounts,” Satıroğlu told Hürriyet.
“Actually they are the ones who are involved in serious corruption,” he added, declining to speak about his whereabouts or about his Cyprus-based company.
A 38-year-old man expressed his regret to daily Hürriyet about paying Turcoin 560,000 liras.
“I am ruined. I do not know what to do,” he said.
Both Satıroğlu and Kaya were detained on June 19, security forces told daily Hürriyet.