Vietnamese find out get-rich-quick crypto games little more than Ponzi schemes

Most of the money went toward NFT shoes – virtual items that allow owners to jog and earn cryptocurrency rewards – the Hanoian says.

“A pair of shoes costs $1,000, and I’ve spent a total of $30,000 on them.”

The rest was spent on buying 30 smartphones and hiring professionals and students to run for him.

Hoang Thien, a Hanoian crypto investor, bought 30 smartphones in the hope of making money quickly from an NFT game. Photo courtesy of Thien

Despite making $900 a day and breaking even in just 22 days, Thien plans to sell all the NFT shoes soon and find new games to invest in.

“The life cycle of a NFT game is short, so I will exit once it peaks.”

This is not the first time Thien has invested in NFT games, and he has earned thousands of dollars using the same tactics.

It is not uncommon for people to try and take advantage of being first movers like Thien, Vu Thanh, administrator of a play-to-earn gaming community, says.

“They always want to hunt down new projects, invest early and exit once they make a profit before moving to a new one.”

But not all can make money quickly from these games, and many claim to have lost their entire investment.

Tran Cong, an investor from HCMC, bought three NFT cars for $3,000 in a crypto racing game and hoped to make a quick profit, but the game turned out to be a scam, with the developers disappearing days after he joined.

The value of the game’s token has dropped to nearly zero.

“The tokens I earned from the game now are worthless, and I can’t sell the cars I bought. Basically, I’ve lost all my money.”

Before making a fortune from NFT games, Thien himself lost $20,000 in them.

Experts warn that many NFT games in Vietnam are just disguised Ponzi schemes in which early investors get money from later ones.

“When first launched, in-game tokens and items are relatively cheap, and their prices will rise in proportion to the games’ popularity,” The Vi, an experienced investor, says.

“But a few months later their prices will peak and then fall due to lower demand, which will cost later movers a fortune.”

Around 23 percent of Vietnamese invest in or play NFT games putting the country in the global top five, according to Australian data analyst firm Finder.