Cryptocoin scammers pretending to be Elon Musk pocket millions

Originally published at: Cryptocoin scammers pretending to be Elon Musk pocket millions | Boing Boing


Judge Judy Reaction GIF by Agent M Loves Gifs


When the most recent (?) Tesla crash burned two men alive, neither of whom was found in the drivers seat, the fanbois argued that the dead men were inadequate, that a Tesla was too much for them, that they brought it on themselves…seems more apropos to use that argument about Dunning-Krugerrands.

School teacher Julie Bushnell told The Independent she was a victim of the Musk “giveaway scam.” Bushnell navigated to a website that appeared to be a BBC News article, which claimed that Tesla was planning to give away half of its $1.5 billion stake in bitcoin. Bushnell sent $12,720 in bitcoin, before realizing she had directly transferred her crypto to a scammer’s wallet.

Anything Musk touches is a grift, no matter how many degrees of separation.



All I need to know right now, is Musk enjoying his new home in Texas?


i do not even pretend to know how the whole crypo currency industry works. i read about it, but don’t come away with any more knowledge or conviction that this could ever be a legitimate form of currency. i know, boomer yah yah yah. its true. but it FEELS like a huge scam that millions of people invest in that don’t really undertand it, it FEELS like the whole thing could implode on itself at any second, wiping out everyone. and although i can appreciate studying humans who always seem to come up with these get rich schemes, i am happy not to have any part in it.


I’ve been seeing this for years, and never understood how Twitter allowed it. Every post by Musk or Trump or other popular figure was followed by several tweets generally saying “I didn’t believe Elon Musk was giving away bitcoin but I tried it and got my first 10 bitcoin today, more to follow. It really works.”


Anyone who still thinks that bitcoin is a “scam” or a “bubble” doomed to burst needs to watch this excellent documentary. Spoiler alert: It’s neither.

[#CryptopiaFilm Trailer // Cryptopia: Bitcoin, Blockchains and the Future of the Internet - YouTube](https://Cryptopia Documentary)

Personality cultists are born marks. Just being a Musk fanboi effectively puts one on a sucker list.

An excellent documentary wouldn’t put cryptocurrencies at the centre of a narrative about the potential of blockchain technology, as the trailer implies thie documentary does.

Cryptocurrencies are speculative (and bubble-producing) vehicles that, as with all such vehicles (e.g. tulips, penny stocks, etc.), attract scammers even if there are very limited legitimate use cases for them. Bitcoin fits that bill to a greater extent than the non-proof-of-work coins.


Crypto is the territory of scammers and criminals. Wealthy elite extracting billions and stashing it abroad. Server farms turning entire power plants of electricity to waste heat doing meaningless and futile calculations that benefit no-one and nothing. Crypto investors are chasing a bubble fueled by FOMO.

The dream of crypto-zealots of a currency unbound from a government is anathema to the purpose of currency. Currency is a tool of government to improve the lives of those living under it and a government without authority over currency is a country without sovereignty.


Same boat, my friend. I consider myself a pretty intelligent person but every single time I try to read about or have someone explain crypto to me I adopt the confused dog head-tilt and eventually settle on “so yeah…it’s all sorcery then.”


At some point, if something is so needlessly complicated that it can’t be made at least moderately understandable by a person who is not familiar with the topic by someone who is supposedly an expert… you got to start wondering if there is some kind of scam going on. Things can be complicated and still be made explicable to people not in the know…


Scammers, scamming the scam-ees trying to get in on the scam.


I attempted to play around with dogecoin 3-4 years ago. Figured I would buy $10 worth (or whatever the minimum was) and play around with it on Reddit. The process was quite convoluted - involved starting a coinbase account, and downloading or processing or something that literally took 10-12 hours. Halfway through it, my wife asked about it, I tried to explain, realized I had no idea what I was doing, and just bailed.

I don’t want to know what the value was back then because it would remind me too much about getting the IPO offer from ebay 20+ years ago (I was a VERY early user) that would have gone up 5,000,000% by now.

The fallacy behind this kind of thinking is that it is an absolute certainty that I would have pulled the money out way too early, figuring that 200% was a pretty good return. Same with bitcoin - I remember you could actually get free bitcoin early on, done just to get people to have it and use it.


I mean, really scam doesn’t feel like a good enough description…most scams are cruel to the victim but manage to continue because they are relatively unobtrusive, while bitcoins use more energy than countries like Argentina with the pollution to match.

I really wish it were a bubble doomed to burst, because apparently mining is likely to continue until 2140, and that is already so much more damage than we can afford right now.


Yeah I was at a dorkbot meeting in the early days when they were handing out slips with codes for a free bitcoin. I take some comfort in knowing that my decision to pass was completely rational.


Currency was a wonderful invention.

Before currency, trade was more difficult. Lets say you had a couple extra goats, and needed a wool coat. You know a guy who make wool coats, but he doesn’t need or want a goat. He does need another sheep, but you don’t have any sheep. So, you can’t get your coat from him. What you have to do, is first find someone who has a spare sheep who is willing to trade his sheep for your goat. You can’t find anyone like that either. You do know one guy with sheep who needs a cart. So, you try to find a guy who will trade his cart for your goat, so that you can trade the cart for the sheep, and then trade the sheep for the coat. That can be very awkward to arrange, and time-consuming, and in the mean-time you may be storing a bunch of goods or animals that you have no use for. And, since it’s hard to deal with half-goats or half carts or half-sheep, you may end up trading 2 or 3 goats, for a coat that is only worth 1 goat in order to get the other traders to trade with you.

The idea of currency, is that everyone is willing to take it in trade for the actual goods, and it can be broken down to just the right “amount” of value. But in order for it to work, everyone has to agree on how much each unit of currency is worth, that in turn allows you to agree on how many units of currency each good is worth. A goat is worth 100 units. A cart is worth 120 units. A sheep is worth 150 units. etc. Then you can exchange the exact amount of currency for the goods, and the person you trade the currency with can also easily trade if with anyone else for whatever goods he needs.

Bitcoin fails horribly in that. Nobody can agree on how many bitcoins it takes to buy a wool coat today. And it may take twice as many bitcoins to buy it tomorrow. Or half as many. Nobody knows. You cannot use it as a unit of measure for the “value” of something to trade, because its value is constantly making huge changes.

So, since Bitcoin has no practical value as a unit of currency, what is it good for? what is it’s purpose?

1 Like

This is a great thought experiment but there is no evidence that the situation you describe existed ever. Go back as far as you imply and there were no “markets” for barter and collective living was more common. Rewinding our society and imagining it without currency is a fallacy because before currency society was much different and didn’t require currency.

1 Like



In Debt: the first 5,000 years, David Graeber makes the point, quite forcefully and illustrated with the relevant section from the standard first year college textbooks in English on economics (the likes of Sloman, Krugman, Baumol and Bindel) that the English language “story” on how money came to be is laughably wrong. Barter happens after money (usually when money collapeses or is unusable - a crisis, societal collapse, prison etc.). Money happens after credit. If you look at the earliest written evidence we have it is evidence of credit (middle eastern clay tablets) which survived as the temple buildings were burnt (possibly for debt reasons sometimes!).

He did this after giving examples of unusual situations where hunter gatherers did in fact barter which really bear reading. Basically Adam Smith was as good an anthropologist as Sigmund Freud (Spoiler - Freud was as good at origin stories as Rudyard Kipling’s Just so Stories).

As you point out: context exists. Smith seemed to imagine Plains people from North America wandering into 17th Century Scotland and looking to pay a bootmaker for their wares with potatoes.

Never happened.

Who walked in? How were they related to and what societal ties and obligations did they have to the other?

Specialisation and seasonality has existed since human societies began. Credit and relationships is how they were negotiated.