Elon Musk, the man behind some of today’s biggest companies including Tesla and SpaceX has just called the operators of the infamous and unbelievably widespread ETH scam that is saturating Twitter impressive, saying that they have “mad skillz”. This comment was prompted by a bizarre e-begging attempt by someone using the name Weihan Zhang. The oddly written message asks for Musk (or anyone else) to send him some bitcoin because he is “am admiration work hard technology innovate”.
I want to know who is running the Etherium scambots! Mad skillz …
— Buff Mage (@elonmusk) July 8, 2018
This message was then commented on by another user who stated that they were impressed with the forwardness of the beggar. In a surprising response, Musk said that he was personally more impressed with the Ethereum scam.
Some Examples of the Ethereum Twitter Scam, Images from Twitter
What is The Twitter ETH Scam?
We wrote a little bit about this scam before here on Blockonomi, but let’s do a brief recap.
Twitter celebrities, verified users, and official accounts of various crypto projects, news sites (including Blockonomi) and exchanges have all been under a near constant attack for the last few months. Each time one of these accounts posts a Tweet, there is almost immediately a response posted by a fake account that uses the same display name and image but a different Twitter handle. Sometimes the fake Twitter handles are misspellings of the real account, such as replacing an “i” with a “1”, or adding numbers onto the end, and some are just a collection of random letters and numbers or Twitter handles that seem unrelated.
So what do the scammers post?
It’s almost always a statement that says the real account (Vitalik Buterin, Coinbase, etc) is happy to announce a giveaway of ether or bitcoin. In order to get in on the supposed giveaway, the scammer will either post an address or a link to a fraudulent website that will give you a cryptocurrency receive address. The site will then tell you to send any amount of cryptocurrency, only to receive a much larger amount back within seconds or minutes.
Scammers on the Blockonomi Twitter account
Once this post goes up, a number of other fake posts will go up from bot accounts that will claim great success with the scam, saying they received giant amounts of cryptocurrency as a result of participating.
Perhaps what made Elon Musk so impressed with the scam is the ferocity of the scammers and how quickly and consistently they have been able to saturate Twitter.
The problem has become so pervasive that most accounts that are affected by the scam have changed their display name in some way to include phrases like “not giving away ETH” or something to that effect.
Vitalik Buterin Disappointed
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
Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin was quick to respond to Musk’s Tweet by expressing his disappointment that his first Tweet about Ethereum was not about the technology, but instead about the scammers. In the same Tweet, Buterin also asked @jack, Twitter CEO, to find a solution to the scammers and put an end to the chaos.
To many people, Elon Musk is seen as a visionary of sorts when it comes to technology and futurism. Musk has so far not gotten himself deeply involved in cryptocurrency, and has previously claimed that he did own bitcoin at one point, but currently does not hold any, or any other cryptocurrency for that matter. Some have even suggested that Musk is Satoshi Nakamoto – a claim he quickly denied.
Bad Perception Still an Issue
It is also unfortunate that in recent years and months cryptocurrency has, to many people, become synonymous with scams, black markets, and hackers. One possible similarity from recent history that could be drawn is the idea that when personal computers became available, they were linked with nerds, geeks, and others who lacked social skills or good hygiene. This is, of course, no longer the case as we all use computers today – whether they be desktops, laptops, or mobile phones. In other words, computers have escaped most of the negative stereotypes that were attached to them as adoption grew.
As cryptocurrency evolves, hopefully it too will move away from having the perception of being the domain of scammers and thieves, and instead move into something that the average person is actively involved in. For now though, Elon Musk has yet to say anything positive about Ethereum. Hopefully it won’t be that way forever, though.