K-pop Stars Choi Si-won, Cho Hyun-young Deny South Korean ‘Scam Coin’ Involvement

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 4 min read
K-pop Stars Choi Si-won, Cho Hyun-young Deny South Korean ‘Scam Coin’ Involvement

K-pop stars Choi Si-won and Cho Hyun-young have denied allegations that they were involved in promoting so-called South Korean “scam coins.”

Their denials come amid ongoing controversy and suspicions surrounding the blockchain-powered sports platform Winnerz.

A growing number of top-level South Korean YouTubers and celebrities have been linked to the controversy since anonymous crypto investors accused Winnerz of running a “multi-level fraud” scheme.

K-pop Stars Say They Have ‘No Connection’ With Crypto ‘Fraudsters’


Choi Si-won, also known mononymously as Siwon, is a member of the chart-topping K-pop group Super Junior.

Cho Hyun-young, also known mononymously as Hyunyoung, is a former member of the all-female K-pop group Rainbow.

In recent years, both Choi and Cho have become YouTubers, amassing over half a million and 278,000 subscribers respectively. In a community post on her YouTube page, Cho wrote:

“I have nothing to do with the current controversy related to […] Winnerz Coin.”

The singer Cho Hyun-young in the music video for the Rainbow single “Whoo” in 2016.
Cho Hyun-young in the music video for the Rainbow single “Whoo” in 2016. (Source: Rainbow/DSP Media/YouTube)

Scores of celebrities, including the World Cup semi-finalist soccer star Lee Chun-soo and some of South Korea’s most popular YouTube and social media influencers, have been implicated in Winnerz-related controversy this month.

However, it appears that the allegations surrounding Cho and Choi center on another suspected “scam coin” named The Youth Pay (TYP).

What Is ‘The Youth Pay’ Coin?


The Youth Pay is an Ethereum-based coin and is the brainchild of an organization that calls itself the Korea Youth Commission.

Its organizers claim that the coin is a tool created to help promote a youth-related policy to the government and the South Korean National Assembly.

The Korea Youth Committee awarded both Choi Si-won and Cho with certificates in 2022, a fact that has caused many to question if they or other K-pop stars were paid to promote TYP.

The singer Cho Hyun-young in a video on her YouTube channel in 2023.
Cho Hyun-young in a video on her YouTube channel in 2023. (Source: Just Hyunyoung/YouTube)

The masterminds launched the token in March 2022, apparently hoping to market it as a payment platform not unlike the popular Seoul government-run ZeroPay e-payments solution.

The organizers managed to secure an overseas crypto exchange listing for The Youth Pay, but its value has since plummeted to zero.

Photos Link Star to Case?


Multiple investors have claimed that The Youth Pay is a rug-pull type “scam,” and police investigators are thought to have launched a probe.

Photos have emerged of Cho with an individual linked to the TYP coin in the past few days, causing many to question her relationship with the token.

A graph showing The Youth Pay (TYP) prices since the token’s launch in March 2022.
The Youth Pay (TYP) prices since the token’s launch in March 2022. (Source: CoinCarp)

Alleged ‘Scam Coin’ Projects Linked?


It is unclear at this stage if Winnerz-linked scam coins and the Youth Pay project are connected.

However, police in the city of Gimpo made two arrests in conjunction with suspected scam coins cases this week.

The officers appear to have arrested the mastermind of a soccer-themed token named Golden Goal (GDG).

South Korean crypto community members claim that an individual named Choi Seung-jung masterminded the GDG project.

Choi Seung-jung is also thought to have links to Winnerz. The firm has denied allegations that the Winnerz token WNZ is a scam coin.

Winnerz said that WNZ is currently  “in the process” of gaining a domestic exchange listing.

K-Pop Stars Deny Claims: Super Juinor Singer Says He Did Nothing Wrong


Choi Si-won, meanwhile, took to his Community tab on YouTube to write, both in Korean and English:

“I wish to express explicitly that I have no involvement [in] the controversy surrounding the Korea Youth Committee’s [The] Youth Pay. I have never been appointed as an ambassador for the Korea Youth Committee’s [The] Youth Pay.”

The Super Junior member said that it was true that he had “received an award at a ceremony organized by the Korea Youth Committee.”

However, he said this “was in recognition of setting a good example for the youth.”

The award, he said, was “unrelated to the current controversy,” and the singer said he had “no involvement in the Korea Youth Committee’s Youth Pay or any individual’s political activities.”

K-pop stars Super Junior performing on stage in 2015.
Super Junior performing on stage in 2015. (Source: mduangdara [CC BY-SA 2.0])

Cho, however, admitted that she had been appointed a Korea Youth Committee ambassador. But she said that she had “never promoted The Youth Pay.”

She also claimed that she had no relationship with the TYP official she was photographed with.

The singer said that she had merely posed for a photo with the individual because she is a “friendly person” who had responded to the individual’s “request.” The star wrote:

“As the articles and photos in question are causing controversy and suspicion about me, I am preparing a criminal complaint against the officials of the Korea Youth Committee. I am taking the advice of a lawyer on this matter. […] I have never participated in […] coin fraud.”

In 2021, Cho starred as the leader of a “white hat” hacking group in the movie Twenty Hacker, which tells the tale of a devastating data breach at a domestic crypto exchange.