Gonzo Crypto Blog - Week Nine: Scam you Silly
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Sept. 5, 2018
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Cryptocurrency 101 — How to scam

(complete with expert opinions of anonymous strangers on the internet)

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So, you’ve all heard of cryptocurrencies and blockchain (otherwise I don’t know why the heck you’re even here), and perhaps even about Proof-of-Work, mining, sharding and all that jazz? As you probably already know, there are thousands of people who managed to make a fortune with cryptocurrencies. Yes, a lot of them did so by studying the market, learning how to trade, reading through hundreds of pages of whitepapers and making the right investment choices.

‘This sounds long and complicated!’ you might say and you will be absolutely right. Who needs all the research, all the unnecessary technological advancements and that ‘decentralize the world’ malarkey when you can just trick convince people to give you their money? If at this point you’re thinking that this sounds a bit fishy, well then don’t - cryptocurrency space is largely unregulated, people are gullible and you have nothing to worry about.

First - evaluate your resources.

Ask yourself: what are you good at? Can you code? Can you design and build a decent-looking website? At the very least, do you have a group of accomplices friends? If you answered ‘no’ to all the above questions, your best bet would be to perform the classic scheme:

  • ’Nigerian Prince with a Crypto-twist’.

All you need to do is harass people on Twitter offering them free money if they’ll send some to you. This works especially well if you’re impersonating famous people:

Exhibit 1, John McAfee:

Notice how this tweet is a direct reply to the real McAfee’s tweet. Although, this is sloppy work, as the fake’s username is completely different from John’s. Here’s a better example:

Exhibit 2, Elon Musk:

As you can see here, the username is almost completely identical to Elon’s and this approach reaped some rewards as is evident from the replies. The possibilities here are truly endless - you can try and impersonate almost any famous person, they don’t even have to be remotely related to cryptocurrencies.

Bear in mind though, you will be up against networks of bots in this Twitter game. Just last month, researchers discovered a network of 15,000 twitter bots doing the same thing. Learn from the pros, here’s where those bit.ly links lead to:

Notice how they’re playing on FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, by claiming that they’re almost out of ether every time you open that link. Study your competition. A cryptocurrency YouTuber Adam Guerbuez has recently allegedly conducted an interview with the ‘ringleader’ of the Twitter bot network:

Well, okay, maybe you can’t compete with them. Don’t worry thought, there are plenty more ways of making quick money.

  • Malware

You can always hire yourself a guy who’s good with all the computer code jiberish and ask him to create a small virus that will monitor what the user copies on their computer and, if they copied a Bitcoin address, the virus should substitute it to an address controlled by you.

Then again, you’ll have to compete with the likes of CryptoCurrency Clipboard Hijackers, who apparently manage around 2.3 million Bitcoin wallets. But hey, there are hundreds of other cryptocurrencies out there for you to work with.

  • Pump and Dump

You’ve seen the Wolf of Wall Street, haven’t you? Well, here’s you chance to become the next Jordan Belfort! The basic idea here is very simple - you and your group of ‘friends’ will need to find an altcoin that is cheap and high risk and hype it up (a.k.a. pump it up) on Twitter, Reddit, blogs and forums so that ‘normies’ will start buying it. Again, you should appeal to their FOMO. Once they drive the price up - you sell what you held and watch the value plummet into the abyss and everyone else lose their money.

Don’t take my word for it, here’s my friend’s experience of being on the other side of that scheme:

“I stumbled upon a Telegram channel called ‘TrumpPump’ which had about 10,000 people in it at the time. They did daily Pumps: admins announced the coin that was to be pumped up at 8pm, saying that all of us should buy in and promote it in the YoBit’s chat at the same time. I took part several times and always came out with a loss. It took me a while to realise that people in that channel were the ‘normies’ that were driving the price up. Admins sold everything just after announcing the coin. The channel shut down later on and just before the 2018 World Cup they rebranded and started posting football memes.”

  • Fake ICOs.

Here’s a handy guide inside a handy guide. You can call this Guideception if you wish.

  1. Come up with a name and a branding strategy.

This is probably the most important step, as the right name will sell the idea right from the get go. You can go the easy way and just add ‘coin’ to the end of any word, think Beercoin, Coffecoin, Scamcoin, Fakecoin, Iamf*ckingstupidcoin and so on. Alternatively, go for a more ambiguous, mysterious and perhaps even spiritual name for your non-existing startup. Project Mantra? I think so!

  1. Gather a crew

Just before you pick up a phone to start calling your friends - if you have any - let me just say that there’s no need to actually assemble a team. Just go on uifaces.com or diverseui.com to get some pictures of ordinary people, come up with the most common names possible so they’d be hard to Google (keep it diverse though!) and add the most impressive resumes you can think of, just not your own. Make it look like every single one of your employees has been carrying at least a Google or a Microsoft on their shoulders for the past ten years.

Try to avoid stupid mistakes here, people are getting increasingly more aware of such schemes. So, stuff like this is probably not going to fly:

  1. Spend some money.

You will need to make your project look legit. People who are bad at making money would probably try to develop a roadmap, write a whitepaper or even come up with an actual product! Stupid, right? You know better than that, so instead of all that effort just invest into some Bitcointalk accounts.

You will need several Member ranks for positive comments as well as one or two Sr or Hero to post the announcement from. This will cost you at least 0.5 BTC, but if you’ll want more legitimate looking accounts you will need to spend a bit more.

  1. The grand announcement.

This should look as technically complicated as humanly possible, even if it won’t make any sense at all. Mention words like Pioneering, Trustless, Disruptive, don’t forget Blockchain, Tokenization, Platform and so on.

Come up with new things! New Proof Of Something concept? - Check.

The one-billion-transactions-per-second blockchain? - Check.

Don’t forget to remind people that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and they should be very afraid of missing out on it. And do that every other sentence just to nail the point.

  1. The Website.

This should go without saying - you HAVE to have an .io domain. Everyone in the crypto-space has them (I have no idea why), and you should too! Make up some graphics and charts, stick a big ass countdown clock in there, add a BTC and ETH wallet addresses and you’re basically good to go. Also, and this is important, don’t forget to lie your backside off about how much money you’ve already raised. This will go a long way!

WooshCoin is an example of a nice template. But try to avoid the obvious mistake and actually hire a decent translator to write up the English version of your website. Don’t do this, people will get suspicious:

  • Alternative strategies

Don’t just go for the most popular schemes - be innovative if you want to make the most of the money that isn’t (yet) yours! I took to the Internet to ask some strangers about such strategies:

At first, I was met with a healthy dose of skepticism:

Nevertheless, as the saying goes, you can always trust an anonymous stranger on the internet to deliver:

Are you writing this down? You really should be. The name of the coin is whatever you come up with!

Creating numerous over-enthusiastic threads on as many platforms as you can and using all your fake accounts to over-enthusiastically comment on them will also go a long way:

I’ve saved the best ones for last. You’ve probably heard this here first:

And there’s more! This last one is honestly the most impressive one I’ve ever seen. Can you guess which coin this stranger is talking about?

Personally, I couldn’t, so I had to ask for clarification:

All of this actually happened! If this sounds like an absolute sh*t-show, that’s because it is.

But you’ve got to admire the SkyCoin team. The news about the kidnapping or a hostage situation or whatever it was, came out on June 18, after their token went down from $35 to just $6 within less than a month, probably as a result of insider trading. How’s it doing now?

So, they’ve lied their way out of insider trading scandal that led to their value plummeting with even more ridiculous lies and IT WORKED! So, if learning from someone you have got to learn from the best, right?

This was my comprehensive guide on how to scam people out of their crypto. Make sure to not just blindly follow the guidelines, as people are getting a bit more clever with every passing day. But in order to be successful at it, always make sure to...

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