Investors in Taipei yesterday accused Chinese-Malaysian businessman Ronald Aai, operator of the cryptocurrency wallet Cloud Token, of defrauding 1,000 Taiwanese out of NT$900 million (US$30.32 million) in an alleged financial scam.
At a media briefing yesterday, Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Ann Kao (高虹安) called for a judicial investigation into Cloud Token, saying that law enforcement authorities should arrest Aai if he is in Taiwan and detain any Taiwanese accomplices.
Kao, a former vice president at Hon Hai Technology Group’s Industrial Big Data Office, said that Aai came to Taiwan last year to conduct promotional seminars and recruit people to invest in Cloud Token, which he said was a “4.0 blockchain” wallet that could integrate all of the popular cryptocurrency assets.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
“Things like ‘blockchain’ and ‘Cloud Token’ sound like new ideas, but people looking to invest in them must really get to know how they work. It is not true that the purpose of AI [artificial intelligence] technology is to grow their investments,” Kao said.
One investor, who gave her name as Emily, said Aai promised that Cloud Token transactions were completely traceable, that 4.0 blockchain allowed people to deposit or withdraw funds at any time, and that cryptocurrency trading was very profitable.
Emily attended one of Aai’s seminars in July last year and, putting money into the scheme, received a Cloud Token SIM card, purportedly linked to her MasterCard account, for transactions.
She said that she initially earned a return of about 33 percent on her investment and that, by trading cryptocurrencies on Cloud Token, she earned vouchers for international travel packages, hotel accommodations and goods at department stores, which persuaded her to increase her investment up to NT$1 million, and to encourage friends and family to sign up.
“However, starting in October last year, Cloud Token was no longer handing out bonuses, or vacation and hotel vouchers, and its employees in Taiwan were telling us to be patient, that there were delays because of the protests in Hong Kong and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Emily said.
“Then, early this year, Cloud Token suddenly stopped running any transactions and we could not access it — we realized it was a scam,” she added.
According to information from Bitcoin.com, Cloud Token was a multilevel marketing scheme, or Ponzi scheme, that touted its blockchain technology and online wallet for cryptocurrency trading to allegedly defraud investors.
Chinese authorities have over the past few months arrested 72 people in connection with the Cloud Token operation, whose operators are likely related to Plustoken, a similar Ponzi scheme, the Web site reported.
“Just like Plustoken, CTO [Cloud Token] promised 6-12 percent interest every month, as the project was initially founded by the project’s lead developer Ronald Aai and project manager Daniel Csokas from Singapore, and nearly every article describing the Cloud Token project shows that the scam was tightly connected to the Plustoken creators, then in June a report highlighted that the Cloud Token project had issues in Singapore so the MLM crypto scheme’s founders decided to relocate,” it added.
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