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Vitalik’s Impostor Instagram Account Collects 37 Ether in Apparent ‘Giveaway’ Scam

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.

Crafty Beggars

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.”

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.

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.

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