Greece’s ‘first crypto’ tanks 90%, CEO skips town after Ponzi allegations
The chief exec of Greece’s ‘first crypto’ Vangelis Tsapas says he left Athens for “health reasons” as opposed to running away from debtors and a crumbling business empire.
Since skipping town last Monday, the former boss of HNC Revolution has been accused of running a Ponzi scheme, embezzling funds from his basketball team, and withholding wages from the superyacht crew of the Qatari Prime Minister.
Tsapas’ cryptocurrency HNC Coin has collapsed over 90% since its all-time high in June, and 75% in the past month.
But in an interview with New Money published earlier this week, Tsapas claimed to have nothing to do with the plummeting price.
Instead, he pointed the finger at the Greece’s press, which has documented his departure from the crypto company and the allegations against him.
“Even if I wanted to drop the price [by selling HNC Coin], as they say, I can not do it. I did not have such access, the coins are blocked,” said Tsapas, speaking from an unknown location.
“The price of [HNC Coin] has fallen, of course, and that is why there is concern … when such publications come out, it makes sense for the price to fall,” he added (quotes automatically translated).
Tsapas was officially removed from the top job at HNC Coin last Wednesday, two days after he left Athens. The company released a statement to distance itself from its absent chief exec.
“Following recent events, [Tsapas] is no longer the CEO of HNC Coin and therefore has no involvement in decision making from the smooth operation and further development of the HNC Coin cryptocurrency project,” it said.
Per HNC Coin’s white paper, any cryptocurrency bought from the project is supposedly eked out over time from its own exchange HNC Revolution.
This is to discourage selling, a gimmick similar to crypto Ponzi games like SafeMoon.
HNC Coin is the only token available on the exchange, with pairs for Bitcoin and Euros. The token is traded on a handful of other tiny platforms.
Greek media suggests Tsapas ran crypto as a Ponzi
HNC Coin launched in February 2015 by forking Litecoin. Tsapas joined the team about a half-decade later.
Coincidently, HNC Coin’s daily trade volumes were negligible in its first five years, some days recording less than a dollar.
But HNC Coin rocketed with Tsapas at the wheel starting in April 2020. The token peaked at nearly $5 two months later, having more than doubled.
An upgrade around the same time transitioned its codebase by forking Dash, ditching the old Litecoin code.
However, local Greek media suggested Tsapas operated the crypto as a pyramid scheme.
Citing market sources, Mono News reported that “basketball players” and “important names” were among the investors promised 20% returns before Tsapas left Athens.
Disquet among HNC Coin holders led Tsapas to comment one day after vanishing via sports news website SDNA.
“There is no issue of my disappearance. There is a serious family issue and in the next few days I will return to my familiar daily routine,” he said.
[Read more: Swede gets 15 years in prison for $16M crypto Ponzi that lasted a decade]
And while he no longer heads up HNC Coin, Tsapas claims he’s been brokering deals to help the token through its recent rough patch.
“[The deal is with] a team, not an investor. In fact, next week they will reveal their identities in public, because they are obliged to do so. They just had to mediate some procedures.”
“We made some transfers to them, etc, and I believe that by the middle of next week everything will be in their hands,” said Tsapas.
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Edit 13:38 UTC, November 24: Corrected Tsapas’ role in HNC Coin in first paragraph.