Cryptocurrency Conferences Continue to Thrive Despite Industry Downturn

Over the last year, cryptocurrency prices have dropped significantly and mainstream attention has been waning in recent months. However, according to recent data, the digital currency and blockchain conference circuit did not see a steady decline during the last six months of 2018.

 

Digital Currency and Blockchain Focused Conferences Are Still Trending

Cryptocurrency and blockchain related conferences did not see a decline in popularity last year. The number of crypto-infused events held was a stark contrast to the many other sectors within the digital asset economy, according to recent data collected by the analysis site Tradeblock. In 2018, cryptocurrency conferences really started heating up and event organizers pulled in millions from steady ticket sales and initial coin offering (ICO) exhibition booths. For instance, last year at Consensus Week (May 11-17) in New York the conference scored a whopping $10.5 million with event tickets being sold for $1,500-2,000 for all 7,000 attendees.

In fact, blockchain conference tickets sold for big money all year long and most of the events in 2018 sold out. The two-day Ethereum Ethereal Summit hosted by Consensys sold tickets for $1,300 a pop, even after Vitalik Buterin publicly spoke out against expensive conference tickets and rampant scams. The Women on the Block conference on Mother’s Day sold for $299-599, and Token Summit on May 17 sold out its early bird tickets at $649 and sold the rest of the seats in the house for $979. Last May, the company Eventbrite was selling NYC Blockchain Tech & Invest Summit tickets for $899-$1,299 per person.

In the face of massive layoffs, the declining cryptocurrency market values in 2018, and tickets selling for hundreds and even thousands of dollars — Blockchain conferences have remained unscathed from the faltering crypto economy. The well known provider of institutional trading tools and digital currency data Tradeblock explained this week that 2018 blockchain event organizers continued to host conferences all around the world.

“Despite the crypto bear market during 2018, the number of industry related conferences did not see a steady decline in the latter half of the year,” the analytical data website Tradeblock detailed on Thursday.

Cryptocurrency Conferences Continue to Thrive Despite Industry Downturn

Pricey Crypto Events See Sold Out Exhibit Halls and Thousands of Attendees

Many of the 2018 blockchain events had upwards of hundreds to thousands of attendees, according to the vast list of conferences held last year. The Paris Fintech Forum saw 2,000 guests, Finovate Europe 1,400, Malta Blockchain Summit 9,500, Cryptocurrency World Expo Berlin 1,600, Blockchain Summit Vienna 2,000, Deconomy South Korea 2,000, Blockchain Conference Moscow 2,000, and the Blockchain Expo Global in London saw 6,000 participants. Blockchain conferences saw appearances from numerous cryptocurrency developers and blockchain luminaries as well, such as Tim Draper, Joseph Lubin, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, Vitalik Buterin, Charlie Lee, Balaji Srinivasan, and many other speakers.

2019 cryptocurrency and blockchain related conferences are still in full swing as there are many scheduled for the next few months already. There are conferences such as Blockchainge DC, Crypto Investor Show Manchester, TNABC Miami, and the Binance Blockchain Week event. Some of these conferences will host up to 4,500 people depending on the blockchain event. Even though online attention and crypto trends may be dwindling, the general public is still very inquisitive toward cryptocurrency and blockchain focused events.

What do you think about the cryptocurrency and blockchain conference circuit still thriving? Did you attend any blockchain conferences last year? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


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Author:  Jamie Redman
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‘Alt-Right Twitter’ Gab Moves to Bitcoin Payments Due to Banking Blacklist

Upstart social network Gab has occasionally been dubbed the “alt-right Twitter.” A haven for mainstream social media castaways like Milo Yiannopoulos and even Alex Jones, the years-long spike in extremist right-wing terrorism has led to a backlash within the banking community toward sites which are seen to foster the ideology behind some acts of violence. For Gab’s part, they state that they do not openly encourage or discourage hate speech. They aim to be a neutral platform which allows the users to determine the type of content that should be on the platform so long as it follows a very narrow set of rules.

They haven’t found themselves in a favorable media spotlight in some time. Their last introduction to the reading public was as the favored platform of the Pittsburgh extremist right wing terrorist who killed 11 people in a Synagogue, Robert Bowers.

According to Gab founder Andrew Torba, Gab is now having payment processing issues. They’ve had acceptance from several processors, but the banks that have a lot of sway with these processors have allegedly refused to allow business from Gab. This is similar to the way the Daily Stormer was banned from PayPal, as CCN earlier reported, and resorted to Bitcoin and Monero a couple years ago, with surprising results.

Source: Gab

There weren’t a lot of details as to the reasoning given for Gab’s denials. It seems easy to presume that businesses like Stripe and PayPal are simply not interested in being associated with Gab due to its reputation, particularly following the association of Gab and domestic terrorist acts. Torba said that “Coinbase has already banned us” and gives that as a reason for choosing BitPay. Luckily for him, BitPay and every other Bitcoin provider could ban them, and they’d still have plenty of options for processing payments with cryptocurrencies.

CCN will follow this story in order to see if BitPay reacts in kind, extending service to Gab, or if they join the crowd and also decide not to allow Gab to easily process payments. One thing is for sure: adding a network of tens of thousands of users who have a need to pay in cryptos will not be a bad thing for BitPay or cryptos generally. On the business side for Gab, they’ll have various new stablecoin options as a means to protect their earnings from volatility, although if they’re having banking problems, they could ultimately have problems cashing out in the traditional way.


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Author: P. H. Madore
Image Credit:  Andrew Torba Image from PAHomepage.com/YouTube

Research Predicts Bitcoin at USD 144,000, Community Amused

Initial coin offering advisory firm Satis Group predicts Bitcoin’s price could reach USD 144,000 within the next decade and USD 96,000 in half that time, but the crypto community is getting less gullible. “Someone with a bias makes a guess,” is how Reddit user u/bahkins313 sums up the reaction from the rest of the community.
LIONBIT
These predictions were reached by starting at the assumption that the more tokens are in circulation, the less their value. The research also estimates a constant increase in price, but claims “conservative” estimates in general. In short, it relies on a price prediction based on underlying value rather than speculation. “Cryptoassets which apply unique value propositions within deep and viral markets” should spike, and these include Bitcoin, Monero and Decred among others, while Bcash will drop as it is a “cryptoasset which attempts to inherit brand recognition and provide minimal technological advantage to incumbents.”

The prices that should see the biggest drop, according to the document, are Stellar, Ripple and Cardano; Monero is estimated to reach close to USD 40,000 within the decade, and Ethereum should see about a double increase in price, but neither a spike nor a drop like the others.

The crypto community sarcastically calls this a “Monero shill” and generally consider it “a**talkery.” On Twitter, user @Mr_Rupee says, “The good part of making 10 year prediction is no one will remember to question you after 10 years….” Of course, there are always those shilling their own coins that they claim will replace existing ones. Some people simply call Satis Group “scammers.”

Twitter user @0xPineapple writes, “No one has ever successfully applied quantity theory of money to cryptoassets and shown meaningful real world correlation. I suppose it could be an instructive thought exercise in the absence of proven frameworks. Are these guys pivoting away from ICO services?”, while @njderuiter says, “@SatisGroup is the same group that claimed 80% of ICOs were scams. Nobody bothered to check their flawed research, where factors they chose to define whether something would be labelled as such were either extremely vague, or simply ridiculous. But hey, it fits the narrative!”
TIP
Still, Satis Group is hardly the only one with bullish predictions. Tim Draper, famous early investor in groundbreaking projects such as the internet, Tesla, Skype and Hotmail among others is famed for his prediction that BTC will reach USD 250,000 within four years. John McAfee, a self proclaimed “crypto visionary” and software tycoon, predicted that Bitcoin would reach USD 1 million by the end of 2020, or he will eat his… private parts. Tom Lee, the head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, is more conservative, but still estimates BTC may go above USD 20,000 by the end of this year, while Phillip Nunn, a high-profile blockchain consultant, online influencer and popular public speaker, estimated that the end of the year will see BTC at USD 60,000.



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Author: Sead Fadilpašić
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Image Credit: Satis Research

AVATARA
Peoples Token

Pope Francis Latest Target of Crypto Giveaway Scam on Twitter

Pope Francis has become the latest victim of crypto scammers on Twitter, as a network of bot accounts promoting scam ICOs and fake crypto giveaways continue to target public figures both within and outside the crypto world.

LIONBIT

Familiar Pattern

Earlier in the month, security researchers working at Duo Security unveiled the results of a study analysing 88 million public Twitter profiles, revealing a sophisticated network of dummy accounts, known as a botnet working to promote a crypto giveaway scam by impersonating high profile individuals and artificially boosting their tweet rankings using likes and retweets.

A tweet posted by Pope Francis earlier today had one such artificially boosted tweet as its top ranked response. The tweet is from a duplicate handle, “@_Poontifex,” designed to mislead casual viewers into thinking that it is the real pope’s handle “@Pontifex.”

Unsurprisingly, the tweet is promoting a fraudulent crypto giveaway:

Another dummy account, branded “@RicardoStark7,” then responded to the tweet with faked excitement as other bots retweeted and liked the fake pope handle’s tweet, gaming Twitter’s quality control mechanism to shift it to the very top of the replies to the real pope’s tweets.

https://twitter.com/RicardoStark7/status/1035205972728401921

To a casual Twitter user, it may thus seem as though Pope Francis has responded to his own tweet, advertising some kind of giveaway, which is how the scam operates.

TIP

Several high profile Twitter accounts have been targeted this way in the past. Some of these include Elon Musk and Vitalik Buterin, who was sufficiently impacted by the scam to change his Twitter name and biography to a message disclaiming any involvement in the scam.

In May, CCN reported that the Vertcoin twitter account was actually hijacked and used to spread the “ETH giveaway” scam.

Gaming Twitter’s Algorithms

According to Duo Security Principal Security Engineer Jordan Wright, who spoke to TechCrunch earlier in August, the botnet is made up of more than 15,000 dummy accounts tweeting crypto giveaway scam messages and gaming Twitter’s quality control mechanism by retweeting and liking each other’s posts.

What this achieves is that it artificially boosts the popularity of the accounts, with some of them even showing up under Twitter’s “Who to Follow” recommendations list. Even worse, the actual number of bot accounts is likely to be far higher than 15,000.

Wright also revealed that the botnet makes use of a “three-tier hierarchical system,” unlike the typical flat structure of conventional botnets, indicating that as anti-spam research advances, botnets and the people that control them are also evolving and developing new tactics and strategies to extract money from Twitter users.


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Joe Rogan Discusses Ethereum-Based Twitter, in Light of Alex Jones

On the Joe Rogan podcast (JRE podcast), American singer-songwriter Shooter Jennings and Joe Rogan discussed Ethereum-based Twitter alternative Peepeth, which allows anyone to release permanent tweets embedded into the blockchain, without censorship.

LIONBIT

Throughout the podcast, Rogan and Jennings went back and forth on the Alex Jones situation, sharing the general sentiment that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter should not have banned Jones, disallowing free speech.

In response, Jennings introduced a decentralized social media platform called Peepeth to Rogan, describing its immutable and anti-censorship features.

“There is this thing called Peepeth, it’s a Twitter alternative, it’s just starting. It’s kind of like Twitter but it’s built on the back of Ethereum and so every Tweet or every message you send on it is embedded in the blockchain of Ethereum,” Jennings said.

Merit of Decentralized Systems

 As with any decentralized application (dApp), users on the blockchain cannot reverse or alter data that is included in a block, whether it is a transaction or a unique type of information processed using smart contracts.

Jennings explained that decentralized systems are uniquely important as they allow individuals to initiate activities that are not monitored or restricted by a central authority, unlike most existing platforms.

He said:

“You can’t delete anything because it is permanently embedded into the blockchain. I think up to 10 of your messages can be logged in one block of the Ethereum chain so you have to pay a cent of it, they give you some to begin with, and when somebody messages you, it’s kind of like a microtransaction to you, so you have this kind of balance.

It sounds complicated but it’s cool. I don’t know if it will become the next rage but it is technologically really fun.”

TIP

While Jennings discussed Peepeth as the main example for dApps and decentralized systems, the merit of distributed networks is abundantly clear. Bitcoin as a consensus currency can enable the unbanked in regions with poor infrastructures and dApps on Ethereum can allow individuals to utilize platforms like social media and live streaming apps without third party service providers.

 

The conflict between Turkey and America, which resulted in the Turkish lira falling by more than 50 percent in value, has shown the advantage of decentralized systems in general and the potential of the blockchain to serve as an alternative system to all of the centralized systems in existence.

In Venezuela, Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies have started to become the main payment method for households, professionals, and students, because of the controversial decision of President Nicolas Maduro to devalue the national currency bolivar by 95 percent overnight.

Reaching Adoption

Exposure on major platforms like the JRE podcast is a step towards mainstream adoption for dApps and achieving a broader consumer base.

But, as Gnosis creator Martin Köppelmann said, in order for public blockchain projects like Ethereum and dApps to reach true decentralization and adoption, decentralized systems will need to depend on each other to create unique products and services.

“The numbers we care about is the usage of decentralized applications. And as a next step, the number to look out for is DAPPs that seamlessly interact with each other and draw a benefit from being on the same platform. As a side effect, ultimately the price of ETH will then be a function of the demand for the use of applications in this reliable, open, and interlinked environment,” he said.

The immutable, anti-censorship, and decentralized nature of the blockchain have already started to appeal to the general public, in light of recent events like the Facebook scandal and the Alex Jones controversy.


IZX

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Twitter Shares Fall, Ending A Hard Week For Social Media Stocks

Social media companies have not had a good week in the stock market.

Twitter’s shares fell 20 percent on Friday, after the company announced that it had lost users. The number of monthly Twitter users dropped from 336 million to 335 million, according to the company’s latest financial release.

The decline came despite Twitter’s simultaneous announcement that its revenue is up a whopping 24 percent this year, and posted a record profit of $100 million.

But that wasn’t enough for investors.

Twitter has been aggressively purging their website of millions of suspicious user accounts, deleting bots and other accounts that it believes are fraudulent or violate the company’s anti-spam policies.

The crackdown was meant to restore public trust in the platform. Twitter has been criticized for allowing users to use hateful, violent and racist language, and, along with Facebook, has been a tool for Russian influence, as NPR has reported.

In the financial report released Friday, the company acknowledged that “our work sometimes includes the removal of accounts, some of which are included in our metrics,” but that getting rid of problematic accounts will make the service more user-friendly, driving future growth.

The company’s chief financial officer, Ned Segal, wrote on Twitter earlier this month that most of the deleted accounts are never counted in the company’s user metrics.

Nonetheless, the newly announced decline in monthly users clearly worried investors.

Twitter’s slide comes one day after Facebook’s stock took a huge hit, losing $100 billion in value, after the company announced its profits had grown by a third, but that it expected revenue growth to slow down for the rest of the year.

Social media companies, and tech stocks in general, have been reliable drivers of stock market growth in the past, but data breaches, privacy scandals and questions about how social media sites should be regulated have made some investors anxious.

Earlier this year, weak tech stocks dragged down the Nasdaq composite index. Facebook’s stock continued to fall on Friday, and the Nasdaq composite was down more than 1.6 percent.


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Twitter Scams Cost Millions, Solutions Are Emerging Though!

  • People have lost over USD 5 million (in ether) to so-called ‘trust-trading’ scams.
  • There are now technological solutions intended to combat Twitter fakes.


    Ever since crypto became seriously big business towards the end of 2017, Twitter in particular has been inundated with fake accounts impersonating notable crypto figures, promising to send crypto to other users so long as they send their own crypto first.
    Given all the publicity such scams have attracted since the beginning of the year, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the general public are wising up to them.

    However, the latest data from Etherscam and Etherscan reveal that people have lost over USD 5 million to so-called ‘trust-trading’ scams to date. And this only in ether. That said, a number of technical solutions are being proposed to weed out fake social media accounts, following complaints from the likes of Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of the Ethereum platform, about the problem.

    Most recently, a Twitter fake gained attention by posing as Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla superstar and tech hero, who then took to Twitter himself to praise whoever tried to make a quick buck out of his good name:

    The fraud in question involved the fake account posting a link to an “Official ETH and BTC Giveaway,” but what was most interesting/alarming about its attempt at defrauding people was that its words were actually quoted by Sky News as if they’d come from Musk himself.

    This isn’t the first time a media outlet has confused a Twitter scambot for the actual person it impersonated. However, the latest mistake is a stark indication of how crypto scams are continuing to fool people despite their increasing notoriety.

    The Ethereum Scam Database tracks “trust-trading” scams, as it calls them. These don’t just cover the Twitter scams above, but also any fraudulent website or online account that asks people to send crypto in order to receive even more crypto in return.

    According to data from DirtyETH – which combines info from the Ethereum Scam Database with stats from etherscan.io – just over 530 of such scams have duped people out of ETH worth USD 5 million. And yet, given that ETH comprises about 17% of the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies, the total cost could be as much as USD 29.5 million.

    This is a big figure, and what’s surprising is that it’s being driven upwards by people who should know better, with one self-described “cybersecurity expert” reporting recently on Reddit that he fell victim to a Twitter scam that ripped off Andreas Antonopoulos, a Bitcoin evangelist.

    In the very same thread, another user indignantly criticised Twitter for failing to do anything to curb trust-trading scams, and also suggested to the original poster that they code “some second layer solution together.” And in fact, this kind of response hasn’t been restricted to Reddit, with various members of the Ethereum community calling for much the same thing.Fortunately, there are now a small handful of proposed technological solutions intended to combat Twitter fakes. One of these is MetaCert, a San Franciscan company that has built a blockchain-based platform that can verify apps, websites, wallets, and social media accounts. It has a browser extension called Cryptonite, which uses “Uniform Resource Identifiers” (i.e. confirmed identifiers of a particular entity, such as domain names and social media handles) to validate whether an account is genuine.

    Another is Scam Clerk, which is essentially a malicious activity detector that scans the user’s Twitter account for impersonators. Yet another is the Singapore-based Sentinel Protocol: a crowdsourced intelligence platform that can protect crypto holders against scams, for example by filtering wallet addresses according to whether they’ve been reported as malicious by users. Another comparable solution is MyCrypto, a general platform for users to manage their crypto that also enables them to check whether certain wallet addresses are on blacklists.

    And aside from these third-party ‘2nd layer’ solutions, it would also seem that Twitter itself is taking action against fake accounts. It has begun systematically removing millions of fake accounts and followers from its platform, and while it hasn’t specifically addressed the issue of crypto-giveaway bots, it’s highly likely that its culls will sweep away many examples of the latter.

    Of course, most of these removals will be reactive rather than preemptive, meaning that users will still need to be wary of any account claiming to offer ‘free crypto.’ So as the saying goes: remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.



    Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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    Author: Simon Chandler
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Things I Did… Bitcoin Braces for Bear Market With Feel-Good Tweets

The price of bitcoin (BTC) may be up slightly Wednesday, but that hasn’t exactly raised the spirits of the asset’s most avid investors.


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Rather, with the market now down roughly 70 percent from 2017’s highs, many HOLDers, the bitcoin faithful who have vowed never to sell, are becoming convinced they might have seen the last big rally before another long-time bear market (as happened in 2014).

In crypto lingo, it’s time to put on some gloves for another “crypto winter.”

Put more simply, investors now think they’ll face a long period where the market might be unable to attract new investment. Adding to the reasoning? It’s happened before.

The cryptocurrency once dropped by 70 percent in a seven-month time period from June 2014 to January 2015 – the longest bear market time period in crypto. At the time, many people panicked and sold.

Except this time, bitcoin’s faithful say they will stay more optimistic.

To remind themselves of what happened in the past (and to prepare for a possibly tough time ahead), an online meme titled “things I did during the 14/15 bear market” is trending on social media right now.

It all started from Twitter user @PhilCrypto77’s tweet yesterday.

Soon, it was over all Twitter.

Getting sentimental

Some of the posts were pretty serious and inspiring:

Jokin’ around

Others took a more delightful and entertaining tone:

Still, it’s important to remember why the meme is still trendy, as it reflects how HODLers have learned how to stay calm during tough times. In some ways, this means even the most sophomoric tweets might actually be a sign that the industry is maturing.

So, how are you HODLing up?



Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!
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Author: Muyao Shen
Image Credits 1-9: Twitter
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Volatility is not a Worry for Ripple (XRP): David Schwartz

For a very long time now, Ripple is one of the most popular and talked-about cryptos in the network. However, the price of its token did not gain parallel as its development did for the last months. Which is why, the team behind the platform made sure during the Blockchain Week they would not let down the enthusiasts that believe in Ripple.

David Schwartz on Ripple XRP 

Based on statements that XRP team did over time, it is looking like they are concentrating more on showcasing real life uses and utilization for Ripple and its solutions than attempting to hoist its value.

It is very positive and promising to see that the team running the Ripple show, sees XRP as a digital asset that has all of its value come from its technological potential.

During the Blockchain Week, one of the most important events was Consensus 2018 which grouped many crypto-lovers. But, the numbers were lower than expected.

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Co-founder of Ethereum – Vitalik Buterin, boycotted the Consensus with many reasons to support his stand. One of them is that the attendance fee of $2,000 – $3,000. Not too many Crypto-enthusiasts can afford to ‘cough out’ that amount of money. Buterin had this to say about the attendance charge at the event:

“Also, by the way, the conference costs $2-3k to attend. I refuse to personally contribute to that level of rent seeking.”

For those who went, Ripple held a live demonstration of its xRapid product. It was showcased how the liquidity service delivers a very smooth user-end experience with the credit to its technology. Tech that allows secure and speedy exchanges to take place.

One of the original architects of the Ripple consensus network and present Chief Cryptographer at Ripple – David Schwartz talked about volatility.

Mr. Schwartz explained how users of Ripple’s xRapid product are not obligated to by Ripple to use it. That not-existing condition equals to volatility possibly seizing to exist for Ripple at least.

Users don’t have to worry about the volatility, claims Schwartz, as users don’t have to invest in XRP in order to use Ripple’s services.

Ripple Coil Business Model

Ripple’s CTO – Stefan Thomas, has announced via twitter a new start-up building micropayment apps on interledger and XRP.

To have better rewards for individuals using the platform while producing better incentives for digital content and apps, the business model will use Ripple’s interledger protocols.

Evans Schwartz and Chris Larsen from Ripple joined the team of the model.


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Bad Checks: Twitter’s Identity Crisis Is Costing Users More Than Bitcoin

Trust, but verify.

Borrowed from a Russian writer, it’s one of crypto’s most widely embraced slogans, though one that’s becoming even more relevant on social media, where battling factions bent on promoting the next great high-tech investment are now turning the very symbols meant to protect users against them.

Whether it’s an account impersonating the world’s largest exchange or its most widely known tech visionaries, no company or individual is too sacred for a simple takedown that’s spreading like wildfire, propelled by lax verification practices at name-brand social media giants.

Still, it’s perhaps “crypto Twitter” that’s bearing the brunt of the criticism.

Armed with a photo ID, scammers are successfully duping Twitter into giving them a “blue check mark” of authenticity so they can impersonate real individuals and entities, all in an effort to bilk users out of money.

Take “seifsbei,” a verified account associated with freelance film producer and director Seif Elsbei, which was hacked and then posed as the official account of the verge cryptocurrency. The hacker didn’t stop there, later posting messages as crypto exchange Bitfinex and ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.

The verified account “Protafield” displayed similar bad behavior in early April, briefly changing its name and account details to impersonate crypto exchanges to specifically stage fake ether giveaways.

And these incidents display how crypto Twitter’s current mess isn’t likely to be saved merely by the blue check mark, or any other simple verification process.

“People at home see this as a stamp that Twitter sees this as a good account, which can be very subjective,” said Tim Pastoor, founder of the Netherlands-based digital identity startup 2way.io.

By vetting merely the identity behind the account, and not the intent, when issuing blue check marks, Twitter inadvertently makes scams even more dangerous, he continued.

Speaking to the overall cat-and-mouse game many crypto companies are having to play on Twitter, a Bitfinex representative described curbing such efforts as almost a full-time job.

A spokesperson told CoinDesk:

“We dedicate a lot of resources towards combating illegitimate Twitter accounts and educating our users on how to spot them. However, our impact on certain sites is limited.”

Fickle reputations

There are several patterns that complicate the trouble with crypto Twitter.

For one, scammers have quickly learned to use highly technical language to cloak misinformation in trusted terminology, said Nick Lucas, founder of the Los Angeles-based social media analysis startup CoinTrend. This means simple vocabulary lists and language analysis, processes Twitter and other social media sites use, won’t be enough to weed out scams, he said.

Yet, Pastoor pointed out that bots and spam accounts often promote tokens in packs, swarming to give each other good reputations and boost visibility, which could make it easier to spot systematic scams.

However, it remains a tricky endeavour, and so Pastoor recommends that Twitter take a page from traditional psychology to help combat the problem.

Most people trust their close friends more than acquaintances, so a layered approach to trust could offer some tools for filtering the noise. For example, a user may trust a coworker’s friend more than a complete stranger, but less than a family member. Just as Facebook lets people control which people they see posts from – friends only, select groups or the public – Twitter could give users more control over who shows up in their feeds.

“There are definitely going to have to be iterations,” Pastoor said. “I would probably recommend starting with allowing people to filter based on people that they already trust, and to maybe make more use of your second or third-degree networks.”

Twitter declined to comment on any topic related to these events or policy changes in general, but Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently admitted that the platform’s verification system is broken.

Changing hands

The issue is made even more confusing by the fact that accounts can change hands among owners, not only through hacks, but also simple handovers, and those new owners may have different motives.

For instance, what started much of the debates around Twitter’s policies was the suspension of the “@bitcoin” Twitter handle.

Before the bitcoin scaling debate came to a head last fall, with a significant contingent of enthusiasts splitting off the core bitcoin network to create bitcoin cash, the @bitcoin Twitter handle tweeted information in support of bitcoin. The account has been operated by many owners over the years, and the latest is an anonymous bitcoin cash fan.

As such, the account became highly controversial, tweeting out incendiary comments aimed at Bitcoin Core developers and several other leading figures in the cryptocurrency community who were on their side. Many Core developers saw this as misleading, since the handle was tweeting out things Bitcoin Core, which a majority of users and businesses still see as the “true” bitcoin, didn’t stand behind.

Because of the outrage, Twitter briefly suspended the account and then stripped it of its blue check mark (the account is active again but no longer verified).

Speaking to the debates that have plagued the leaderless tech community for some time, Sterlin Lujan, a bitcoin cash supporter and communications ambassador for Bitcoin.com, told CoinDesk:

“These social media networks should not allow handles to be censored or shut down arbitrarily, just because a bunch of people do not like it.”

And while Twitter has said the blue check mark does not imply its approval or endorsement, Lujan contends, “A person with a check mark has a stronger likelihood of appearing at the top of searches and feeds. What it boils down to is that Twitter verification processes need to be made more clear.”

Market influencers

While Twitter’s verification process is still uncertain, what remains clear is Twitter’s impact on the cryptocurrency markets.

Not only can scammers have a dire impact on user’s crypto holdings, but even those earnestly voicing their interest in a certain crypto project can cause price swings. For instance, Lucas has seen a clear correlation between tweets from influential Twitter accounts and market volatility.

“There’s basically a lot of influence on Twitter when John McAfee or someone mentions a specific coin,” Lucas said.

As an example, when McAfee tweeted about “burst,” a crypto token project focused on creating a “greener” mining process, on December 22, the price of the cryptocurrency quickly doubled.

A similar, albeit temporary, spike happened the previous week when McAfee tweeted about another crypto token project, Safe Exchange Coins. The day before McAfee’s tweet, the cryptocurrency was selling for roughly a penny each, but within 24 hours of the tweet, the price doubled and by the following week, the coin briefly sold for more than $0.06.

Some argue that when McAfee charges $105,000 per tweet, he’s basically advertising for companies for a fee. However, he told CoinDesk it’s not really advertising because he only promotes projects he truly believes in.

Twitter chatter doesn’t only drive prices up for new cryptocurrencies and crypto tokens, though. It can also have negative impacts as well.

For example, Lucas has noticed that a lot of Twitter feuds about bitcoin code changes and technical updates correlate to price dips.

“If everyone is talking negatively about something that is getting pushed into a core repo coin, that can also have an impact. If someone with a big following tweets something, it can cause a scare,” Lucas said, adding:

“There’s a lot more influence coming from specific accounts, unlike, say, Reddit, which pushes more topics to be talked about rather than creating influence.”


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Author: Leigh Cuen
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