You’ve probably seen the scammy tweets and video livestreams, usually tied to a fake celebrity account. “BTC Giveaway! Send 1 BTC to verify, and receive 2 BTC in return!”
Nobody actually falls for those, right? Well, it looks like someone just did...to the tune of $243,000 in Bitcoin.
🚔 A payment of 5 #BTC (243,153 USD) was just made to a confirmed Elon Musk Giveaway scam!https://t.co/06RBSkkcGr
— Whale Alert (@whale_alert) March 1, 2021
On March 1, a Bitcoin address sent 5 BTC to a verified scam address. The address, 1EMuskYdgB3BtwxpEP46txN5EAN8KnA7dE, is associated with a fake Elon Musk website, https://elon2x.com/tesla.htm that promises to return double any amount of Bitcoin it receives between 0.1 and 10 BTC.
While it’s unclear whether the sender is a victim of the scammer or in cahoots with them (e.g., the scammer transferring money between wallets), it’s a gentle reminder that the Tesla CEO isn’t here to make you rich.
One reason people fall for such scams (in addition to good old-fashioned gullibility) is because two truisms don’t always hold up in crypto. Sometimes there is such a thing as a free lunch. Take airdrops. In September 2020, for example, decentralized exchange Uniswap airdropped 400 UNI tokens (then worth $1,200) to its users. Anyone who held on to the governance tokens would now have $10,000.
When Showtime, a forthcoming “NFT social network” hinted at its own airdrop by asking for Ethereum addresses on Twitter, it drew in legitimate blockchain authorities such as CoinShares Chief Strategy Officer Meltem Demirors and Week in Ethereum publisher Evan Van Ness. (The difference being that no one was asked to send any funds.)
And, if it looks too good to be true...it might still be true, at least for a little while. How else do you explain being able to buy Bitcoin for $8,000 a year ago and cash out now with a $40,000 profit?
Then again, protocols get hacked, liquidity pools get drained, and rugs get pulled. This is magical internet money, where scams and savings, fraud and financial freedom, live side by side.
But Elon Musk lives in a mansion. And it’s not because he’s giving you free Bitcoin.