Protestors believing they were bilked out of 200 million yuan ($29 million USD) by the cryptocurrency/blockchain project TRON occupied the offices of TRON affiliate company Raybo Monday in Beijing.
The protestors were eventually “removed” from the offices by police, TRON CEO Justin Sun claimed in a response on Twitter:
Later that day, Sun blogged that the occupiers had been duped by a scheme impersonating TRON:
“At least some of the people were deceived by the so-called ‘Wave Field Super Community’ scheme that traded on its similarity to the Chinese-language version of TRON’s name to defraud investors. The victims had been promised high rates of return on their investments in the name of TRON, BitTorrent and uTorrent.”
According to Sixth Tone, TRON is called “bochang” (wave field) in China, and scammers used the name, claims of outsized (360%) returns, promises of dividends and network marketing features to con investors for months before shutting down all social media and chat groups recently and disappearing.
According to various reports, some “Tron enthusiasts” lost their life savings to the scammers, and one woman committed suicide.
The events point to a phenomenon of ongoing cryptocurrency speculation in China despite a ban on the sector being progressively implemented there since 2014.
Sun wrote in the blog post that TRON has been warning the public in China and in its “English-language territories” about “potentially fraudulent schemes” since January, but some commenters on social media continue to claim that Sun did not do enough to stop the scams.
Sun also blogged that, “TRON officials expressed their sympathy and understanding for those who had been deceived, however, the company strongly condemns acts of violence that may be perpetrated as a result of events that are not in its direct control.”
Sun recently made headlines after he paid $4.57 million USD in a charity auction for the right to dine with legendary value-investor Warren Buffet.
Buffet, a notorious crypto detractor, is so famous in China that his image is used to adorn cans of Coca Cola.