Hunting crypto scammers and shillers is now a sport. Armchair sleuths have taken it upon themselves to chase down perceived bad actors, and to publicly out them for their crimes. Crypto influencers who conceal promoted tweets and conflicts of interest are liable to be outed and shamed.
Also read: ICOs Have Become a Parody of Themselves
Shillexed is the New Bitfinexed
In the originality stakes, @Shillexed isn’t going to win any awards. The account is basically a clone of @Bitfinexed, whose chief preoccupation is bemoaning Tether’s lack of transparency. Shillexed has even recycled the Bitfinexed logo, only it’s operating under a different mission: to uncover crypto influencers who fail to disclose payment for the projects they tout.
The phrase “crypto influencer”, while much derided, is the best term there is to describe Twitter traders with over 20,000 followers and the ability to move illiquid markets. The guys behind these accounts (for they are invariably male) don’t get paid for the charting, TA, and memes they supply their followers. Few people would begrudge them the occasional promoted tweet, but it’s the failure to disclose this fact that’s controversial. There’s a big difference between someone shilling a project because they think it has strong fundamentals and doing so because they’re getting paid.
Krypto Leaks is on a Mission
While Shillexed is chasing down conflicted Twitter influencers, a new Telegram group, Krypto Leaks, is hellbent on exposing “scammers, abusive VCs and pool founders”. So far it claims to have exposed dubious advisors, impropriety among ICO pools, and the usual scammers PM’ing Telegram users purporting to be channel admins. Crypto scams are constantly evolving, although you wouldn’t think so to look at the replies to a typical crypto tweet, where the ETH bots are sure to be out in force.
On Telegram the scams tend to be a modicum more sophisticated. One reverse scam that was witnessed this week involves someone messaging a bona fide crypto influencer, claiming to have screenshots of someone using their name to defraud victims. If the genuine influencer clicks on the screenshot which purports to show evidence of the fraud, they will unwittingly download malware designed to steal their private keys. In a space where it is safe to trust no one and wise to assume that everyone has a hidden agenda, accounts such as Shillexed and Krypto Leaks have an uphill battle.
Given the worry that crypto vigilante groups could themselves be elaborate scams (remember Blockbroker, an ICO set up to unearth exit scams that exit scammed?), it’s wise to be cautious of all cryptocurrency accounts, whatever flag they choose to drape themselves in. If nothing else, Shillexed has got crypto influencers treading carefully and being mindful of what they promise ICOs in their DMs. One exposé is all it takes to ruin a reputation that took years to build.
Do you think crypto vigilantes are a force for good, or are they just being sanctimonious? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Twitter.
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Author: Kai Sedgwick