Founder and CEO of Social Capital, Chamath Palihapitiya, and current Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer were the latest popular individuals to had their names involved in fake Bitcoin giveaways on YouTube.
With the rising number of similar scams on social media platforms, the question remains on the potential consequences on the community and legitimate cryptocurrency content creators.
Fake Bitcoin Giveaways Continue
During the weekend, scammers impersonated the two famous figures by launching separate YouTube live videos. Each claimed that Palihapitiya and Ballmer were giving away free bitcoins, as one cryptocurrency proponent pointed out.
Apparently, the fraudsters rebranded verified channels and, by using bots, managed to increase the number of views to over 150,000 per video. Therefore, those scams reached YouTube’s homepage and escalated the views even further.
The scammers inserted fake websites and BTC addresses within the videos saying that if viewers send a particular amount of bitcoins, they will receive more in return. Needless to say, both live streams were fraudulent and had no intention to distribute thousands of BTC to the general public, as advertised.
However, one webpage has kept track of all reports against one of the fake channels. It suggests that some people may have indeed fallen for the scam. The Bitcoin address linked to one of the videos has received 24 transactions and over 3.5 BTC (more than $35,000 at the time of this writing).
Palihapitiya has a relation with the cryptocurrency community as he recently noted that people should allocate at least 1% of their investment portfolios in Bitcoin. On the other hand, Ballmer has no evident history with digital assets.
While the videos have been taken down now, the threat of similar activities is rising lately.
The increased number of impersonations and fake giveaways even urged Ripple to file a lawsuit against YouTube. The company wanted to hold the Google-owned platform accountable for not taking the necessary measures to eliminate such apparent scams.
Effects On Legitimate Crypto Content?
Although these two live streams were conspicuous scams, such content is harmful to the whole community and its image. Firstly, people who are just getting started with cryptocurrencies may get the wrong idea after watching a few of those. Even worse, they could be duped into actually sending their digital asset holdings, hoping to receive more.
Furthermore, the fraudulent uploads on YouTube could also enhance the platform’s initiative to ban and remove legitimate videos created by cryptocurrency content creators. The infamous “Crypto Purge” began last year and continues to haunt digital asset influencers.
By now, it appears that YouTube’s algorithm can’t always determine the difference between legitimate and fraudulent cryptocurrency content. Hence, such obvious scams could push the platform to take even more drastic measures, which may ultimately hurt all parties involved.