On Thursday, July 12, the Chinese authorities dismantled an illegal online betting network that reached $1.5 billion in bets on 2018 World Cup matches, using crypto-currencies such as ethereum, Bitcoin and litecoin.
In a statement first relayed by the national newspaper South China Morning Post, police in Guangdong province in southern China said they were holding six people suspected of being behind the network.
The site of this illegal network, which is accessible only through non-traceable search engines, attracted some 300,000 participants in just 8 months, according to articles in the South China Morning Post.
In a statement, the Chinese authorities said that the network was built on a pyramid system, whereby recruiters could take advantage of other members’ bids.
“The bookmaker analyses the player’s bet, and manipulates the odds according to the ratio of the bet, and allows a small number of people to win,”.
This betting network is considered to be the first ever cryptocurrency crime involving a major sporting event to have ever occurred.