An apparently bogus Vitalik Buterin Instagram account with more than 24,000 followers has captured 37 Ether and counting in what appears to be a textbook example of one of the Ethereum co-founder’s bemoaned “giveaway” scams.
The account, which goes by the handle buterin_vitalik, looks to have already hoodwinked seven users into contributing a net 37.491 ETH to a “Special Event for Instagram Community” under the guise of offering a 100 percent “bonus” on any Ether received.
Once funneled from the dubious account, hapless victims must answer a series of quiz-style questions via a Telegram bot, and then send one to twenty ETH to the event’s “special” wallet address to trigger the supposed payout.
The quiz explains:
“We give x2 bonus to every Ethereum holder who completed the quiz. To get the bonus you should prove the fact you’re a real holder by sending 1 to 20 ETH to a special wallet. The limits are strict. Such measures were introduced also to avoid cheating.”
As of press time, not a single quantity of Ether has been returned to senders.
The attempt appears to go above and beyond the near-obligatory “giveaway” responses posted on Buterin’s Twitter threads, the likes of which have historically prompted a storm of protective countermeasures by the co-founder, including his wry, self-evident Twitter profile title “Vitalik Non-giver of Ether.”
If you send me 0.1 ETH, I will send you nothing, because I am too lazy.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) February 1, 2018
In July, Buterin set the record straight in a tweet outlining his three, and only, active social media accounts—evidently flying over the heads of the latest casualties.
There may be a few smaller ones but nothing mainstream. Everything else I either don't use or is a scam.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) July 5, 2018
Where battle-hardened crypto holders may bow their heads in disbelief at the latest scam’s apparent success, they would do well to note what comes off as a surprisingly orchestrated effort to impersonate the Ethereum co-founder.
Complete with high-resolution portraits of Buterin in his element, the Instagram account goes as far as to mimic the type of dogmatic, pro-decentralization rhetoric come to be expected of the vocal Russian-Canadian programmer.
For all its cunning intent, however, the scheme carries ample red flags to raise eyebrows. Whether the odd subtle grammatical slip-up, an outright accusation of skullduggery in the comments field, or the less forgivable misspelling of “Etherium,” it would seem the less initiated members of the cryptocurrency community need a pointer or two on best practices.
Cover Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash
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