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Several South Korean Celebrities Linked To 'Winnerz Coin' Scam; What Is It?

The celebrities are accused of promoting a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme operated by Winnerz
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Worldspectrum
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Worldspectrum

A major crypto scandal has been making headlines in South Korea with alleged links to popular figures and YouTubers. The celebrities have been accused of promoting a fraudulent cryptocurrency (coin) scheme operated by Winnerz, a blockchain sports platform, according to a report published in The Korea Herald. The alleged coin scam came to light when investors complained that the company was issuing fake cryptocurrency, collecting investments and preventing investors from withdrawing their money.


Winnerz, which operates several businesses including issuing cryptocurrency, is accused of using a fraud tactic where celebrities were recruited to bolster its credibility and attract investors. In this case, celebrities allegedly had the option to buy the coins themselves, or help recruit more investors for a commission, or do both.

However, investors claimed that the coin issued and promoted by the platform is fake and they have been barred from withdrawing their investment in the scheme. As per the report, the total amount that Winnerz has allegedly refused to return to investors has not been disclosed.

The case involving alleged ‘Winnerz coin fraud’ has been reported to the National Police Agency and National Civil Service.

The first name associated with the case is of Korean comedian Na Sun-uk. He has been accused on involvement in the fraud after a picture of him at Winnerz’s year-end party was discovered on social media.


However, in response to the accusations, Na posted on YouTube channel claiming that the allegations are untrue. “I participated in the gatherings shown in the photos once for a birthday party and once for a year-end party, due to the personal connections I have with the participating creators. Both meetings were brief dining occasions. I have no affiliation with Winnerz whatsoever, and I want to clarify that I have never engaged in any coin investments,” said Na in his video.

Further, YouTubers Kim Won-hoon and Cho Jin-se, who run the Shortbox channel, which has about 2.85 million subscribers were accused of participating in the Winnerz fraud. The allegations came after a picture of Kim taking a photo with Choi Seung-jung, a Winnerz-related official was found on social media.

Choi Seung-Jung has been accused of involvement in several coin frauds, including the GDG coin fraud and TYP coin fraud in which the investors were prevented from withdrawing their investments, like the alleged ‘Winners Coin’ scam.

The pair also posted a statement on their YouTube channel stating that they "want to make it clear that there have been no business or financial discussions or transactions with Choi Seung-jung and other relevant parties mentioned concerning controversies surrounding Winnerz."


However, there is one celebrity who has accepted involvement in the case, but refuted allegations of perpetrating it. Korean YouTuber Oh Byeong-min (widely known as Oking) of the OkingTV YouTube channel with 2 million subscribers, admitted that he had invested in Winnerz. This came after his name was found listed as one of the directors of Winnerz on its website.


Oh Byong stated that, "I had invested in Winnerz. I have now announced my intention to withdraw the investment," in a video posted on Thursday. He further claimed that he has ceased all projects with Winnerz and has no future collaboration plans with the company.

Members of The Korea Youth Committee's Youth Pay have also been accused of involvement in the scam. As a result of this, actor, singer, and Super Junior’s member, Choi Siwon came under the scanner due to his association with the committee.

 Korean singer Choi Si-won attends the 2022 Asia Artist Awards In Japan | Getty Images | Photo by Jun Sato
Korean singer Choi Si-won attends the 2022 Asia Artist Awards In Japan | Getty Images | Photo by Jun Sato

Choi Siwon also took to his YouTube channel to deny the allegations releasing an official statement, as reported by Soompi.

Image Source: YouTube | @Siwon Choi
Image Source: YouTube | @Siwon Choi

In the post he said, “Hi, this is Siwon Choi. I wish to express explicitly that I have no involvement with regard to the controversy surrounding the Korea Youth Committee’s Youth Pay.” He added that he has never been appointed as the ambassador of the committee and has only received an award at a ceremony organized by the committee

In response to the allegations, Winnerz released a statement on its website. The platform stated that it has been “transparent about its business and goals thus far”, and that the Winnerz coin is listed on overseas exchanges as well, indicating its legitimacy.