Twitter has become a fertile recruitment site for cryptocurrency pump-and-dump schemes.
Pumping and dumping cryptocurrency is the latest get-rich-quick scheme, one of the shadier hallmarks of digital capitalism. The scheme is simple: a group coordinates to rapidly purchase a particular coin, inflating its price. Then they swiftly sell the coin at the inflated rate to turn a profit.
Timing is key to these schemes. Getting in a few minutes late or holding onto the asset a few minutes too long can be the difference between a significant profit and a significant loss.
While pumping and dumping has long been illegal in the stock market, laws governing cryptocurrency are still developing. In the absence of regulation, the crypto market is plagued by scams and other dubious behavior.
Now invites to participate in pump-and-dump crypto are clogging the DMs of Twitter users. Many report being invited to Discord servers by people running these schemes.
A representative invite from Twitter user Rick Visser (@PumperRick) promises “pumps with returns from 100%” and to “show you how to beat the market and stay ahead of the curve.” Visser’s pinned tweet includes the same text.
Visser doesn’t make any attempt to obfuscate their intentions.
“I teach people how to pump and dump cryptocurrencies,” reads Visser’s Twitter bio, which links to a Discord server for the Road to the Moon. Visser claims to its chief executive officer.
The Discord has 10,000 members.
The Road to the Moon includes information about its “history of pumps” and a schedule for the next one, which is to take place later today.
On its welcome page, it says that people receive instructions to buy particular crypto at a specific time. Once these purchases inflate the price, “regular investors unaware of this group will take notice, and get in on the train, causing the crypto to go up even more in value.” Then it promises to send people a notice to sell the crypto.
It instructs them to save profits on Trading Wallet. Once they’ve accumulated starter capital there, it says they’ll be invited to a private group, where it pumps on Binance and Coinbase.
It’s not clear how much of this is true. The Discord doesn’t appear to allow comments. Only Visser and a user called “Whale” appear to have commented on the server. It has a channel for “feedback,” which consists entirely of screenshots of supposed success stories sent to Whale.
Visser didn’t respond to a DM seeking comment Tuesday morning.
Twitter prohibits promoting cryptocurrency without permission. “The promotion of cryptocurrency products or services is only allowed with prior authorization from Twitter,” its policy governing user in the United States reads.
It’s not clear that this also bans users from promoting pump-and-dump schemes, however. Twitter didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment and clarification Wednesday morning.
There are other Twitter accounts that similarly promote cryptocurrency schemes and direct users to off-site Discord servers. The Daily Dot found one Discord server with 75,000 members promoted on Twitter.
Twitter is now filled with complaints about the proliferation of accounts and DMs promoting crypto pump-and-dump schemes.
“Stop sending me Discord invites to some crypto bro’s pump and dump scheme,” a user bemoaned on Sunday. “Jesus, its like I get 3 of these DMs every week.”
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*First Published: Oct 18, 2022, 11:42 am CDT
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot covering all things politics and technology with a focus on the far right and conspiracy theories.