Crypto Twitter ‘giveaway’ scams return with a vengeance, but what’s Jack Dorsey doing about it?

Crypto Twitter ‘giveaway’ scams return with a vengeance, but what’s Jack Dorsey doing about it?

The latest wave of giveaway scams has returned to Twitter and new suckers are entering the cryptocurrency sphere. Now, every meaningful crypto celebrity has their own botnet scamarazzi.

The golden age of giveaway scams

Giveaway scams have existed for as long as crypto has been talked about on Twitter. These scams promise instant returns to those who send coins to a specific address, preying on the stupid and greedy. Obviously, these coins will never return to their rightful owners.

Give money to this address and lose it forever.
Send XRP to this account and instantly double your money! Said no service, ever.

These scams saw their heyday during the bull market of late 2017. As the markets went into a froth anything crypto would yield gobs of profit. The most unqualified of charlatans were able to present any idea, “on the blockchain,” and turn them into multi-million-dollar ICOs.

At the time, scams were easy to perpetrate against the legions of profit-hungry crypto noobs. It got so bad that Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin added “not giving away ETH” to his Twitter username (now simplified to “non-giver of Ether”).

Scammers get the last laugh at Buterin
Vitalik Buterin’s rebuttal to the scamarrazi

During the bear market of 2018, these scams subsided as amateur investors were purged from the market as Bitcoin crashed from above $19,000 to sub $4,000. Incinerated weak hands meant less money from scamming people.

The return of the horde

However, the bull market has returned and with it, new blood. This fresh meat presents new profitability for this age-old scam. Once again top crypto influencers such as Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong are under assault.

Charlie Lee's smug face attracts get-rich noobs
A scammer posing as Charlie Lee for a fake Airdrop
Nice try, Heather.
Scammers attempt to mimic celebrity accounts. On closer inspect, they’re obviously fake.

Spare no corporate account, because exchanges like OKEx and Huobi are getting bombarded by unscrupulous tweets, too.

Give me a break... Coinbase giveaway, really?
Scammers can photoshop images to look like real tweets

These scams leverage large botnets, collections of bogus accounts, to raise the legitimacy of the scam by interacting with the giveaway tweets. Unsophisticated users unable to differentiate between real and fake activity are fooled. Meanwhile, Twitter’s algorithm is gamed, giving more visibility to the scam.

Why Twitter lets this happen is beyond me.
Botnet used to boost fake tweets

Jack Dorsey, are you going to do something?

The volume of these scam tweets make notifications practically unusable for many accounts. Furthermore, these tweets fill-up the comment section of targeted accounts, burying meaningful interactions and make Twitter unusable as a way to engage with one’s community.

The horde of bots is relentless
CryptoSlate’s notification tab chock full of spam

Yet, these scams have existed for a long time, and Twitter still isn’t sophisticated enough to filter out the garbage.

To solve the issue Jack Dorsey needs to implement new methods for identifying and eliminating spam:

  1. Increase the sensitivity of user reporting and temporarily hide tweets that get above a certain number of reports relative to impressions.
  2. Measure the average newness of each account and the amount of activity, assigning a “humanness” score to each account. Flag accounts that get too many non-human interactions.
  3. Flag and penalize people for changing their username to mimic those of Twitter verified accounts.
  4. Increase the cost of opening new Twitter accounts to increase the cost of building botnets.

Twitter has become a hub for interacting with the juggernauts in the cryptocurrency industry. It’s also one of the best places to find the freshest news, not just on crypto.

However, scam spam is a serious impediment to the user experience. Jack Dorsey, if you want to keep people tweeting, liking, and retweeting, then please do something and fix the crypto giveaway problem.

Filed Under: Opinion, People of Blockchain, Scams
Mitchell Moos

Mitchell is a software enthusiast and entrepreneur. His first startup built algorithms for optimizing cryptocurrency mining. Prior to CryptoSlate, Mitchell was a project manager at a firm that built distributed software on Hyperledger. In his spare time he loves playing chess and hiking.

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