Scam bitcoin and ether giveaway bots have started to target the accounts of high profile figures outside of the crypto community, such as SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and US President Donald Trump.
Scam Bots Plague Twitter
For over a year, scam bots on Twitter have pretended to be the account owners of popular Twitter figures by copying the profile image used by big accounts. These accounts then comment on the Tweets of Twitter with fake bitcoin and ether giveaways to trick beginner users and new crypto investors.
Twitter has become unusable for many large Twitter accounts in the crypto community, because scam bots plague accounts with fake giveaways, equipped with retweets and likes bought from click and troll farms.
After having enough of the crypto scambots, Musk said:
“I want to know who is running the Etherium scambots! Mad skillz …”
Vitalik Buterin, the co-creator of Ethereum, publicly requested Jack Dorsey, the founder and CEO of Twitter, to provide a solution for the issue. Buterin also offered to have a developer from the Ethereum community to develop a layer 2 scam filtering solution for Twitter.
“I do wish Elon Musk first tweet about ethereum was about the tech rather than the twitter scambots…….. Jack, help us please? Or someone from the ETH community make a layer 2 scam filtering solution, please?” said Buterin.
I do wish @elonmusk's first tweet about ethereum was about the tech rather than the twitter scambots……..@jack help us please? Or someone from the ETH community make a layer 2 scam filtering solution, please? https://t.co/biVRshZmne
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) July 9, 2018
Twitter Virtually Unusable For Crypto Accounts
Scam bots create threads of responses that disable crypto Twitter account users from reading the responses of legitimate users, preventing individuals on Twitter to communicate with each other in an efficient manner.
Some experts in the crypto space have said that users that do fall for crypto scam giveaways, in a way, deserve to lose their money because they have not done enough due dilligence. However, new users and casual crypto investors can easily fall for the fake giveaways and there exists no system in place to reverse transactions sent to scammers.
In March, Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer publicly acknowledged that scam giveaways have gotten out of hand and criticized the Twitter development team for their inability to handle it. Sirer said:
“These scams are getting out of hand. Jack, Twitter, if you can’t detect this kind of brazen scam, what hope do you have of improving your platform?”
In response, Jack, offered a simple response: “We are on it.”
Fast forward four months, scam crypto giveaways on Twitter have worsened, polluting virtually every popular account in the cryptocurrency community and now, in the technology sector.
One possible solution to address fake crypto giveaways is to immediately ban accounts that have use exactly same pictures as existing accounts with similar usernames. Implementing such a solution does not require advanced technologies; simply a solution that checks the database for existing images and autonomously suspends accounts that have similar images would work.
Featured image from Flickr/TED Conference.