Vietnam Investigates ICO Fraud After $660 Million in Losses Reported

A team that conducted two token sales involving thousands of investors has gone dark.

AccessTimeIconApr 11, 2018 at 4:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:48 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Investors in two allegedly fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs) descended on the offices of the company behind both of them this past weekend.

As much as $660 million may have been lost as a result of the schemes – Ifan and Pincoin – though these figures could not independently be verified as of press time. Yet the protest outside of Modern Tech's Ho Chi Minh City headquarters, as reported by Tuoi Tre News on Monday, is perhaps reflective of the severity of the situation, which has sparked an official investigation by Vietnamese authorities.

According to the news agency, as many as 32,000 investors may have been affected.

Online materials for both initial coin offerings bear some of the hallmarks of Ponzi schemes, including Ifan, which boasts that it offers "risk-free activity." By contrast, Pincoin promises profits of "up to 40% monthly" through a range of bonus structures that favor early investors over later ones. It also uses imagery associated with the get-rich-quick subculture, including a Lamborghini.

While questions remain about the ICO organizers and the true extent of the losses, the investigation doesn't seem to be the only official response.

On Wednesday, the office of prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc published a directive "on strengthening the management of Bitcoin-related activities and other similar virtual currency" to the central bank and securities regulator, originally dated April 4.

The police chief of Ho Chi Minh City separately told Reuters, "all cryptocurrencies and transactions in cryptocurrencies are illegal in Vietnam."

The country's central bank had previously said last October that cryptocurrencies are not "lawful means of payment."

Lamborghini image via Pincoin.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.