In an egregious example of the "blue checkmark" scam infecting crypto-Twitter, a fraudulent account that recently aimed to dupe users of the cryptocurrency Verge moved onto Bitfinex – that is, before going dark completely.
The Next Web reported Wednesday that freelance film producer and director Seif Elsbei's verified Twitter account (@seifsbei), which boasts Twitter's coveted blue checkmark and over 83,000 followers, was posing as the official account of the Verge developers. The cryptocurrency was thrust into the limelight Tuesday with the news that Pornhub would accept it as a payment method.
Verge's real account, @vergecurrency, lacks a verified checkmark, which the hacker behind @seifsbei perhaps saw as an opening. Twitter allows verified users to change the display name of their accounts without risking their verified status, so @seifsbei adopted the display name vergecurreǹcy. They then proceeded to retweet messages from the actual verge account.
Shortly after, @seifsbei moved on to impersonating the exchange Bitfinex under the name Ƀitfinex.
@seifsbei as Bitfinex, 2:11 pm EDT
A Google search for the account indicates that it was impersonating another exchange, Bittrex (as Ƀittrex), prior to posing as either the verge team or Bitfinex.
As The Next Web points out, the account's controller has previously masqueraded as ethereum's founder Vitalik Buterin. Retweets from the @bitcoin account suggest they were also posing as that account as well as that of the Tron project.
Prior to this week, @seifsbei tweeted almost exclusively in Arabic. Elsbei announced on his Facebook page Tuesday that this account had been hacked and that he was working to recover the handle.
After being contacted by CoinDesk, the account removed its banner image and avatar. Its username is now "." As of press time, the account has not lost its checkmark.
@seifsbei in stealth mode, 2:49 pm EDT.
Image Credit: BigTunaOnline / Shutterstock.com
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.