Police busted the dark web's $1.5 billion cryptocurrency World Cup gambling ring

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesA trader works while the World Cup is displayed on a television behind him on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Chinese officials shut down an online gambling ring that had accumulated $US1.5 billion in World Cup bets.
  • Participants made bets in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, litecoin, and ethereum.
  • Chinese officials say that the gambling ring was actually a pyramid scheme.

On Thursday, Chinese officials shut down an online gambling ring that had accumulated $US1.5 billion in bets made on World Cup matches using cryptocurrencies like ethereum, bitcoin, and litecoin.

In a statement first reported by the South China Morning Post, police from China’s southern Guangdong province said that they had detained six people who they suspect to be behind the gambling ring.

The gambling ring’s website, which could only be accessed by using untraceable search engines, had attracted some 300,000 participants in just eight short months, the Post reports.

In a statement, Chinese officials said that the gambling ring was a pyramid scheme where recruiters could profit off of other members.

“[T]he bookmaker analyses the gambler betting, manipulates the odds according to the bet ratio, and allows a small number of people to win,” the statement reads, according to Google Translate.

The gambling ring is thought to be one of the very first crypocurrency crimes involving a major sporting event to ever occur.

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.