Large, well-known crypto projects, the source told the Financial Mail, are generally valued at more than $1bn (R14.24bn) — but the participants in the industry know who the players are in these projects.

Koshiek Karan, founder of Banker X, spoke bluntly about this on Twitter. “Africrypt claimed to have grown from a one-man operation to ‘one of Africa’s largest and most successful AI trading companies’. Ever heard of them? Nobody has. That’s the start of any great scam.”

His thread on the story is entertaining, but it contains one great lesson: “Whether it’s forex, crypto, stocks, commodities … if anyone ever tells you they [have] figured out a magic pattern to consistently beat the market based on secret technology … Just remember — they’re making money from you, and not for you.”

In other words, if there is no product, then you are the product.

Given the frequency of these kinds of crypto-disasters, you can sort of understand the antipathy that central banks and other authorities have for cryptocurrencies — not least because they represent everything that isn’t under central monetary control. And, when the scammers get going, the numbers can be vast and the recourse nonexistent.