When the price of Ethereum dropped below $100 at the end of 2018, there was one saving grace. The Twitter-based Ethereum scammers–that offer to send large amounts of ETH in return for smaller amounts given in advance–had gone. It’s unknown whether this was due to the falling price of Ether or Twitter finally getting its act together but it meant fewer people were getting scammed in this way.
But, as sure as night follows day--and the price climbed back above the $100 line--the scammers returned. But this time, it’s not just simple spam messages on Twitter, things have got a little more sophisticated. Ethereum Nowa, the site trying to tempt users to part with their crypto, is suggesting there’s a hard fork on the horizon, and that buyers need to snap up a new set of tokens that will be created as a result. Some have taken the bait.
Several Twitter accounts that list upcoming hard forks have included Nowa amongst them, a sign of endorsement to their followers–even if it is an automated service. News site Crypto Potato included it in a recent article and members of Nowa's Telegram group have been asking details about what exchanges to use for the hard fork. While seasoned crypto watchers have spotted the skullduggery at play, many have fallen for it. To date, the Ethereum address on its website has received $830 in transactions, although these could be from the project's founders themselves to make the project look legitimate. The site is also asking for people to hand over their private key, which effectively hands over control to all their funds (more on that later).
Now, to be fair, there is an Ethereum update on the horizon, called Constantinople, which is designed to decrease block rewards and divert ASIC miners away from the network. To the unscrupulous, this creates just enough cover for Ethereum Nowa to hide beneath. But, upon closer scrutiny, we’ve found some giant holes in the Ethereum Nowa promise that should make anyone considering throwing some crypto shekels into this game reconsider.
The first among them is all the team members are models. Or rather, the team member photos the company has used all originate from Shutterstock, according to a member of BitcoinTalk forum. We did our own due diligence and found much the same. The photos were swiftly removed and in the Ethereum Nowa Telegram group, an admin hit back at the allegations saying, “A standard template was used to develop the site. not having understood they thought that these persons are our team.[sic]”
The second howler is what the company is offering users a slice of.
According to the Ethereum Nowa website, it will upgrade Ethereum to a new consensus mechanism–how new blocks in the chain are created–while increasing the total supply by 36 million tokens to 104 million, and will scale it from 15 transactions-per-second to 20,000. Basically it’s offering up the holy crypto grail, without batting an eyelid. Seeing how some of the world’s greatest minds have yet to manage this feat, our brows furrowed, hard.
Further worries include the Nowa price ticker being known as ETN which is already used by established cryptocurrency Electroneum. The project links to Github--the code repository--but only directs to the actual Ethereum one, suggesting it is unlikely any code has been written for the fork, let alone to provide for the impressive 20,000 transactions-per-second. The website also claims it is listed on exchanges including Binance, OKEx and HitBTC. How can something be listed if it doesn’t yet exist?
If any of that isn’t enough to convince you, how about this little ditty: the extra 36 million token supply is being offered to early investors “at a favorable price.” In order to cash in on this bargain, you need to click on a link that takes you to a phishing website that’s a knockoff of cryptocurrency wallet MyEtherWallet. Once you’re there, you then have to send ETH to the wallet, send some to the project’s address-–doesn’t specify how much–-and finally, enter your private key on the project’s website.
The one rule in crypto is never give your private key to anyone else, a situation summed up by this Dilbert cartoon, and any project that asks you to do so, you should steer clear of. Our 2019 New Year’s resolution is to help people not get scammed. Purlease don’t fall for this one.