Crypto 'Giveaway' Scams Continue to Flourish on YouTube

Cryptocurrency scams continue to appear on YouTube, misusing content from influential people in the space and stealing from the gullible.

Jul 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:29 a.m. UTC

Crypto scams on video hosting platform YouTube are continuing to prey on unsuspecting victims.

Don't be fooled. One of the crypto scams that stole video footage of Vitalik Buterin on YouTube, as of Thursday.

  • In scam videos seen this week, the identities of Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, founders of the U.S.-based Gemini exchange, have been used to lure people into giving up cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether.
  • The "giveaway" scams are based on the promise of doubling one's funds after send an initial amount to a wallet address via QR code.
  • Victims, in fact, receive nothing in return and lose the crypto they sent.
  • In separate videos, which have since been removed by YouTube, both Buterin and the Winklevoss twins can be seen talking on stage, praising the benefits of their projects.
  • The video grabbed for one of the scams featuring Buterin appears to be taken from an Ethereum event held in London earlier this year.
  • YouTube has been under fire from Ripple Labs and CEO Brad Garlinghouse, who are suing over allegations the social media giant fails to police its platform against fake XRP giveaway scams.
  • YouTube frequently blocks cryptocurrency-focused accounts that are not scams. The firm has previously said errors occur because of the sheer volume of content it has to monitor.
  • YouTube, Gemini Exchange and the Ethereum Foundation did not return requests for comment by press time.

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