According to the Chainalysis study, the current downward movement of bitcoin is caused by a massive sale of BTC by the organizers of the Chinese Ponzy scheme.

At the end of June, the authorities of the Pacific state of Vanuatu arrested a group of organizers of PlusToken at the request of China. This Ponzi scheme had spread throughout Asia and tricked investors about $3 billion. After PlusToken executives were detained, the remaining founders of the Ponzi scheme began selling bitcoins. This put pressure on the bitcoin exchange rate, Bloomberg reports, citing the research made by New York-based Chainalysis.

Bitcoin has fallen by almost 50% in price since it reached its 2019 peak in late June. Just at that time, PlusToken scam founders were arrested in Vanuatu. PlusToken promised investors a yield of up to 600% and guaranteed a reward for attracting new users.

According to the Chainalysis estimates, the organizers sold about 25,000 bitcoins, another 20,000 are distributed among 8700 bitcoin addresses. Apart from bitcoins, PlusToken accumulated large volumes of ETH, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, XRP, Doge and Dash.

“That’s certainly something to consider when you are thinking about where the price is going, at least in the short term,” Kim Grauer, senior economist at Chainalysis said in a phone interview. “It could be, according to our research, continued downward pressure.”

According to the research, many transactions were made through coin mixing services, such as Wasabi Wallet, in order to make it difficult to identify senders. Chainalysis suspects that a significant portion of bitcoins were sold through over-the-counter desks that deal directly with individuals outside of exchanges in order to launder coins through exchanges in China such as Huobi.

PlusToken wallet was launched in 2018. PlusToken called itself an international decentralized crypto project created by the team of developers from South Korea. The PlusToken website cited that the project uses technology developed by Samsung, while the PlusToken team works in a research laboratory in Seoul. But according to some signs, the crypto wallet was created by a Chinese company located in Jiaxing. The PlusToken marketing campaign mainly affected Asian countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, Vietnam, as well as Russia and some European countries, such as Germany and the UK.