Here’s a classic recipe for creating a Flaming Crypto Scam: Create one website. Add one, impenetrable whitepaper. Fold in a few barrels of confusion, and voila! Your scam is ready to serve.
That looks like the recipe that something called Ethereum Classic Vision is, in fact, using. It claims to solve Ethereum’s scalability problems while keeping the miners happy too.
The name of the coin sounds confusingly like Ethereum Classic which is the original, pre-DAO hack version of Ethereum. Capitalizing on the hoo-ha surrounding the real, upcoming Constantinople hard fork Ethereum, this ETCV claims to be a fork, due on January 11, and it offers users 3 ETCV for every ETH in their wallet. Which would be lovely if ETCV were really real, had value and the project wasn’t just designed to steal your private key.
According to Guarda, which provides multiple cryptocurrency wallets, “Ethereum Classic Vision looked more solid [than the Ethereum Nowa hard fork] at first glance, but analysis on the code performed by our team has shown the piece of code provided actually sends your private key data on the Ethereum Classic Vision servers, masking it as an API token.” This means it captures your private key data without you even knowing–which will enable it to move all your funds outside of your Ethereum wallet, if you download the one on its website. Indeed, MetaMask has even blacklisted it and placed on the domain warning list. In addition, the projects Github repository—where hard fork code would be stored—is empty.
We’ve reached out for comment via Ethereum Classic Vision’s website, but have yet to hear back.
In the meantime, has anyone taken the hard fork seriously? The project appears to have received less attention than the Ethereum Nowa hard fork which we unmasked here. However, it has been shared widely on Twitter beyond its 1,200 followers—even though its account has been temporarily restricted. While many of the shares appear to be from bots, these can still make the project look legit to the masses. Some comments appear to be from real people, too, asking questions like which exchanges will accept the fork.
It even has a bounty program that’s attracted a lot of attention on BitcoinTalk, a popular bitcoin and altcoin discussion forum. It promises rewards of ETCV for those who spread the word about the scam across social media channels, including blogs, Telegram and Youtube. In fact, 3,407 comments have been made with many having fulfilled such tasks as sharing content about Ethereum Classic Vision or automatically including a mention of it below all of their comments on BitcoinTalk. Some of these comments appear to be from members with Hero or Legendary status, a sign the scam may have gotten past those with more experience in the crypto industry.
The prevalence of highly researched and better executed scams is a worrying sign. It was only last month that an exploit in the Electrum wallet facilitated a phishing scam that netted nearly $1 million in bitcoin. If only there were a website and a whitepaper offering make a scam-prevention coin. Oh wait, there are plenty.
We’ll let you know if we hear back from the ETCV folks, and in the meantime, we’ll keep our private keys private, thanks.