JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) has disavowed any connection with an apparently China-based digital currency scam that uses the bank’s branding.
The digital currency, referred to as “JPM Coin” or “Morgan Dollars”, reportedly had prior incarnations before taking on JPMorgan’s branding, and has since moved on to others. According to a recent post on one forum associated with the coin, it is now called “Beta Coins”.
The scam was reportedly promoted on various social media including WeChat and Facebook, where the coin is promoted as a “rare market opportunity” for new members.
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JPMorgan China’s site issued a statement denying any connection with the coin:
“JPM Coin is not a product of JPMorgan Chase nor of any of its affiliates in China or elsewhere. JPMorgan Chase has not authorised any virtual currency (of this type or similar in any way). JPMorgan Chase has not authorized references to JPMorgan, JPMorgan Chase or Morgan in any way.”
As absurd as such a concept would seem, a bank-branded digital currency is no longer fictional. Citigroup has reportedly been experimenting with a “Citicoin” as part of research efforts into blockchain technology.
In general, Chinese investors hungry for the next big thing have become prime targets in similar scams. The GemCoin scheme was helped along by the apparent backing of a California politician. Chinese were also reportedly flocking to a Russia-based Ponzi scam that requires bitcoin to join and features its own digital currency named after its operator, Sergey Mavrodi.