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Russian Central Bank Says ‘Almost All Financial Scams Are Now Crypto-themed’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
Russian Central Bank Says ‘Almost All Financial Scams Are Now Crypto-themed’

The Russian Central Bank claimed “almost all” the financial scams it found last year had crypto-related elements.

In an official release, the bank wrote that there had been a year-on-year rise of almost 16% in financial scams in 2023. In “almost” every case, the bank said it had detected a crypto “theme.”

Russian Central Bank: ‘More Crypto Themes in Recent Scams’

The bank said that the “number of illegal participants in the financial market who use crypto themes is growing,” and wrote:

“In 2022, every second pseudo-investment project accepted cryptocurrency [payments or was crypto-related]. In 2023, almost all pyramid schemes and illegal brokers offered investments in cryptoassets or accepted cryptocurrency payments.”

Central Bank officials claimed that in 2023, they had “identified 5,735 entities – companies, projects, individual entrepreneurs, and others” – that “showed signs of illegal activities.”

This number included multiple “signs” that indicated they were financial pyramids. However, despite the sharp rise in such projects, the bank said that there was a silver lining.

It claimed that the “lifespan” of scam projects had “become shorter” and were “on average” accruing less financial damage from victims.

The financial regulator said that it had responded by “blocking” Russians’ “access” to more than 11,200 web pages.

It said these pages “belonged to illegal participants in the financial market” and the “operators of financial pyramids.”

The main hall of the Russian Central Bank complex in Moscow.
The main hall of the Russian Central Bank complex in Moscow. (Source: Bank of Russia)

Bank Hits Back at Crypto Scammers?

The bank said it had launched “more than 125 criminal cases” into suspected Russian financial scammers, many of which made use of crypto or crypto themes.

Legal authorities also say they have launched “620 administrative cases” into suspected irregularities.

And the bank further stated that it is working with the Federal Antimonopoly Service. It is also working with the national censorship body, Roskomnadzor.

The bank’s public list of suspected financial scams and pyramids contains several social media chatrooms, crypto-related games, (suspected) bogus exchanges, and (suspected) crypto trading bot scams.

The list also contains multiple firms that appear to be operating crypto mining-themed scams.

These projects typically ask investors to fund (that appear to be bogus) Siberian Bitcoin mining centers.

In January, the Russian Central Bank warned the public to avoid a prominent crypto scam based on the wildly popular TV series The Boy’s Word: Blood on the Asphalt (also known as Slovo Patsana).