A New Crypto Scam Shows Perils of Elon Musk's Twitter

A purported $25 million giveaway of a token called GBTC – letters better associated with the $13 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust – is an obvious fake.

AccessTimeIconSep 8, 2023 at 6:42 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 8, 2023 at 9:23 p.m. UTC

A purported $25 million crypto giveaway on the social-media platform formerly known as Twitter is – no surprise, really – indeed too good to be true.

Posts on X on Thursday and Friday lean into one of the hot stories of the moment in crypto: the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which, as a result of a recent court victory, could be on its way toward being converted into a favorite traditional financial investment vehicle known as an ETF.

The core message: a claim that $25 million of a new token called GBTC – the ticker symbol associated with the real $13 billion trust – will be distributed to folks who visit a website mentioned in the post.

The catch: The account making these promises, @Grayscale_FND, has nothing to do with the real company called Grayscale, a fact confirmed by a Grayscale spokesperson on Friday; the offer is an obvious scam.

A fake Grayscale (X)
A fake Grayscale (X)

Before Elon Musk bought Twitter and renamed it X, a blue checkmark – like the one emblazoned on @Grayscale_FND’s account – was a sign the account was verified, that some measure of thought and vetting had occurred before the account got that label. Now, it means the account owner can afford $8 a month, giving rise to a proliferation of crypto scams wielding blue-checked X accounts.

The real @Grayscale X account has a gold checkmark, a designation reserved for companies and other "official" organizations. To avoid getting tricked, one thing an X user would need to know is that new distinction. But they could also be fooled by the fact that @Grayscale_FND uses the logo of the real Grayscale.

@Grayscale_FND copies @Grayscale's real account details (X)
@Grayscale_FND copies @Grayscale's real account details (X)

A CoinDesk journalist was made aware of @Grayscale_FND's posts because somebody spammed him with it on X. @Grayscale_FND doesn't accept direct messages from accounts it doesn't follow, so there is no way to reach whoever is behind it.

Grayscale is, like CoinDesk, owned by Digital Currency Group.

The reply to an email sent to X's address for the press: "Busy now, please check back later."

Edited by Marc Hochstein.


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Nick Baker

Nick Baker is CoinDesk’s deputy editor-in-chief. He owns less than $1,000 combined of BTC and ETH.

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