How to Start a Crypto Scam for $200 or Less (Satire)

Note: This article is a satirical piece.

Do you want to start a crypto scam? If your answer to that question was yes, then you’re in the right place. The information you’re about to read will tell you everything you need to know before you try to start one. All you have to do is follow five easy steps and you’ll be well on your way.

Fiverr’s Dark Crypto Markets: Buyer Beware

There are hoards of bargain basement contractors on the internet that claim to be blockchain experts. They are more than willing to help you get your crypto scam going– often for a just a few bucks.

But wait– there’s more!

Cut-rate contractors can build fancy-looking cryptocurrency exchanges, mobile apps and gambling sites, too.

Need social media publicity? That’s not a problem either. Crypto promoters control legions of bots, scripts and sock puppet accounts that will make it look like everyone’s talking about you on Telegram, Facebook and Twitter.

Step One: Hire a Self-proclaimed Blockchain Wizard

Most discount crypto developers seem to work in teams. They promote each other by giving each other five star reviews on freelancing sites. These positive reviews help the teams gain visibility, which in turn helps generate leads.

For example, “blockchain wizard” gabeamazing has 12 five star reviews. This is likely why he’s one of the first developers you’ll run into if you type “crypto” into Fiverr.

For just $200, he’ll build a brand new crypto exchange for you:

Source: CoinIQ

If you scroll down and read gabeamazing’s reviews, you can read all the wonderful things that his “clients” have to say about him. One reviewer wrote that gabeamazing provided “daily updates” and went above and beyond what he asked him to do.

Source: CoinIQ

But when I reached out to johnnychris to see why he was so happy with gabeamazing, he tried to get me to buy one of his services.

Source: CoinIQ

Further conversation revealed that johnnychris is part of a group of developers that call themselves the Stealth Technocrats.

Source: CoinIQ

Step Two: Order a Cut-rate Blockchain Project

Once you’ve found a developer that is willing to create a crypto project on the cheap, it’s time to ask yourself a very important question: what type of crypto scammer do I want to be?

There are several different avenues to explore here, apparently.

A glance at the Stealth Technocrats’ portfolio reveals that the group has created a variety of different crypto-related brands. One of them is a California-based cryptocoin called Vertu, which apparently has something to do with cannabis.

A blurb under the “About Us” header promises that Vertu is “compliant with a host of laws.”

Source: CoinIQ

In addition to ordering a new cryptocoin, you may also want to have a crypto exchange made. That way, your customers will have a place to buy and sell your new scam coin.

If you manage to get some people trading on your exchange, you can always reel in some extra cash by stealing money from your customers’ accounts. If they complain, you can always tell them that they did something wrong– or claim that your exchange was hacked. If those options don’t work out, just close up shop and pull an exit scam.

One example of the Stealth Technocrats’ expertise in creating low budget crypto exchanges is Skart Markets.

The Skart Markets website– which claims that Skart is “the most proficient and transparent trading method available”– suggests that the exchange has some kind of debit or credit card feature. The filler text to the right of the picture of the card doesn’t do a very good job of explaining how that works, though.

Source: CoinIQ

Another sign that Skart Markets may not be ready for showtime yet is the fact that the exchange doesn’t seem to actually support any cryptocurrencies. The only markets that exist are for fiat currencies like EUR and USD.

The real-time charts feature seems to be struggling, as well:

Source: CoinIQ

If you don’t want to do the extra work involved with getting your half-baked Stealth Technocrats crypto projects up and running, it’s time to implement plan B: give up on them and hire someone else to make a new a crypto-based gambling site instead.

There are plenty of offers in this niche to choose from:

Source: CoinIQ

One crypto coder provided me with a guarantee that the house will win every single time. Another developer promises to develop a premium, full-featured “crypto tradingy” for the low, low price of $900.

Source: CoinIQ

In the description section of the posting, the developer goes on to promise that the “great people in fiverr worlwide” will all “be making a continues money with the site till eternity” if they choose to work with him.  

Step Three: Spread Spam Across the Internet

Now that you’ve got your brand new, fancy looking crypto scam up and running, it’s time to hit the social media sites and drum up some buzz for it.

Fiverr’s crypto promoters are standing by to spam to your project on popular Telegram channels, churn out fake videos testimonials and more.

Source: CoinIQ

Many Fiverr promoters use scripts, bots and fake accounts to drum up likes, retweets and comments. However, some claim to be able to deliver real visitors. As one promoter puts it:

“Please note that this gig isn’t about sending your 1000 traffic or more daily as i would guarantee that what you’d get is bot.”

Another marketer claims to have “the most essential measure of energy for wanders related to Crypto Market.”

Of course, there’s no way to know if these promoters have real resources or not unless you hire them. Their reviews are the only information that’s available on these people. Many reviews on Fiverr are either paid for or left by their associates.

Some scammers try to make their projects look authentic by promoting them with paid-for Bitcointalk forum accounts. Bitcointalk is one of the most popular forums for discussing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Suspicious-looking sites like Bitcointalkaccounts.com and others sell high tier accounts, but there’s really no way to know if these sites are also scams until you try them out. Some Fiverr marketers specialize in boosting Bitcointalk accounts and helping Bitcointalk forum posts go viral.

Source: CoinIQ

Step Four: Plagiarize a White Paper

In order to dupe as many potential investors as possible, you need a white paper that explains what you claim your operation is all about.

There are a number of legitimate white paper writing services, but those are usually expensive. So why not just copy another project’s white paper and claim it as your own?

A number of crypto projects have been caught plagiarizing their white papers, but probably the most notable recent example is TRON. When TRON tweeted seven reasons why TRON is better than Ethereum, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin added another:

“8. Better white paper writing capability (Ctrl+C + Ctrl+V much higher efficiency than keyboard typing new content)”

Earlier this month, Venezuela’s state-sponsored cryptocoin Petro was caught plagiarizing. Ethereum developer Joey Zhou found the copied text and notified his followers about it with the following tweet:

“Lol Venezuela’s new Petro token is a blatant Dash clone (at least the whitepaper, page 11)”

Step Five: Admit That You’re the One That Actually Got Scammed

Crypto scammers took advantage of the hype around last year’s skyrocketing coin prices to steal nearly $1 billion from crypto investors. But from the looks of things on Fiverr, crypto investors aren’t the only ones getting scammed. Wanna-be crypto scammers are also getting bamboozled.

The very openness of the crypto community creates all kinds of opportunities for bad actors. All crypto scammers need to do to is fork a legitimate project, rebrand it and try to reel in some investors. Once they get enough money, they can vanish overnight and leave their victims holding the bag. The irreversible nature of cryptocurrency transactions means that there’s no practical way to recover stolen funds when they are gone.

The good news is that all of this sounds a lot easier to pull off than it actually is.

Executing a successful crypto scam seems to require a great deal of effort that goes far beyond coding. Open source code libraries may help scammers get started, but this only takes them halfway towards their goal. A successful scam requires teamwork. Therein lies the main problem for crypto’s shady operators.

There seems to be no honor among crypto thieves. The vast majority of the contractors that express a willingness to help crypto scammers appear to be scammers themselves.

Final Thoughts

The dark side of Fiverr’s crypto job markets shows that starting a crypto scam is harder to pull off than you might assume. Though forking a project is easy enough to do, some amount of technical skill is still required to bring it online.

Even if a scammer is a capable coder, there’s another stumbling block to overcome: it’s probably not easy to find high-quality help. Fiverr’s shady crypto contractors seem unreliable and don’t appear to have any real talent. This poor job market likely makes it difficult for illegitimate crypto groups to find qualified web designers, programmers, writers and other key personnel. This might be why shady crypto projects are usually of low quality.

Alex Munkachy

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