The Chinese police have seized 194,774 Bitcoin (1% of the total Bitcoin supply of 21 million BTC) worth more than $ 3.2 billion, in the latest operation against the infamous PlusToken scheme that defrauded investors of approximately $ 7.6 billion. .
Additionally, Chinese authorities seized other crypto assets, including 830,000 ETH, 1.4 million LTC, 487 million XRP, 213,000 USDT, 79,000 BCH, 27 million EOS, and 6 billion DOGE.
The ruling was released by the Jiangsu Yancheng Intermediate People's Court on November 19, giving the full breakdown of the total assets seized by the police.
The news comes four months after Chinese authorities arrested 27 key suspects held responsible for running the Ponzi scheme in China and South Korea. Before the arrest, six more people, including the leader of the network, had been extradited to China in July 2019.
PlusToken attracted over 2 million investors as a high-yield crypto investment for a minimum deposit of $ 500 of crypto assets and especially targeted people less familiar with cryptocurrency concepts and investments.
15 people have been convicted
A local media report stated that the criminal case was first ruled by the higher court on September 22, but the details remained undisclosed after several appeals to a higher-level court by some of the convicted individuals.
However, the Yancheng Intermediate People's Court denied the appeals and released the details of the case to the public. So far, 15 people have been convicted and sentenced to jail terms of between 2 and 11 years and pay fines ranging from $ 100,000 to $ 1 million.
As the largest cryptocurrency-related Ponzi scheme prosecution case in China, PlusToken reportedly began in May 2018, according to Yancheng, a lower-level district court in China's Jiangsu province, the first to rule on the case.
Chinese authorities are said to have been unaware of PlusToken or its magnitude until August 2019, when blockchain security firm CipherTrace highlighted it in its theft and money laundering report.
China increased its reserved digital assets with seized assets
Apart from the 1% supply of Bitcoin, the seized ETH represents 0.73% of the total ETH supply and the DOGE seized 5% of the total supply.
According to Block's director of research, Larry Cermak, the court said what: "the Seized digital currencies will be processed in accordance with the laws and the proceeds and profits will be lost in the national treasury. "
However, the statement did not clarify how exactly the government plans to process the seized crypto assets.
Crypto Twitter responses have led to much speculation as to whether China will hold the assets or liquidate them, as is the case with most digital assets seized in the US.