Thursday, 30 November 2023

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Web3 game project allegedly hired actors to pose as executives in $1.6M exit scam

Web3 game project allegedly hired actors to pose as executives in $1.6M exit scam

On Oct. 10, the development team for gaming project FinSoul carried out an alleged exit scam, siphoning away $1.6 million from investors through market manipulation, according to a recent report from blockchain security platform CertiK shared with Cointelegraph. 

The FinSoul team allegedly hired paid actors to pretend to be its executives, then raised funds for the sole purpose of developing a gaming platform. However, instead of actually creating the platform, the FinSoul team allegedly transferred $1.6 million in bridged Tether (USDT) from investors to itself. Blockchain data indicates developers then laundered the funds through cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash. Surprisingly, this was not the first allegation of misconduct against FinSoul’s developers. 

On May 23, decentralized finance (DeFi) project Fintoch published a press release claiming it had adopted “advanced technology to develop the FinSoul U.S.-based metaverse platform” and had gone “live.” The announcement stated that the company was using “advanced technologies such as Unreal Engine 5 and Cocos 2D” to develop “sandbox worlds, multiplayer sports, leisure experiences, player socializing, MMORPG” and other types of gaming content.

The same day, on-chain sleuth ZachXBT reported that the original Fintoch DeFi project had performed an exit scam. The team had seemingly stolen $31.6 million and bridged it to Tron blockchain in an attempt to launder the funds, ZachXBT claimed. 

In response, CertiK claims that the team “rebranded” in August, changing its name and social channels. “Fintoch” became “Standard Cross Finance (SCF).” CertiK produced an image showing the key executives of both Fintoch and Standard Cross Finance, who appear to be identical. 

Fintoch and SCF key executives. Source: CertiK

CertiK claims to have verified the real names of the persons listed as the CEO, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the project. According to it, these “executives” are actually actors who work in the entertainment industry. In addition, CertiK claims that the project’s chief technology officer was listed on a promotional poster for an entertainment company, providing evidence that he is also a paid actor. It could not determine the identities of the other two people claimed to be “executives.” 

The rebranded “Standard Cross Finance” team continued to promote FinSoul on YouTube and Telegram, the report states. Its marketing efforts included a…

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