Though I am keen on stepping away from Medium and cryptocurrency in general for awhile, I can’t help but come back for the current scam — and yeah, I’m calling it a scam — that’s taken cryptocurrency advocates by storm: Bitclout.
The details of Bitclout have unraveled over the past week and the waters are quite muddied.
Here’s how it began:
By early March, a few well known individuals were already speaking of how Bitclout would transform the future of “productizing people.”
On March 17th, @ c0inalchemist on Twitter did a beautiful thread on all the reasons Bitclout was an obviously scammy project.
Larry Cermak (@ lawmaster on Twitter) called people’s attention to the fact that Bitclout had accumulated over $150 million in Bitcoin already.
He proceeded to state, “Because of their trashy growth hacking bullshit, every account that wants to verify their account has to tweet the direct link to it. Probably better to stop doing it, this is all incredibly scammy even if it has real people behind it. Stay away from this garbage.”
Next, on the 20th, James Prestwich showed that not only was Bitclout verifying thousands of accounts that shouldn’t have been verified, but were also using the likenesses of lawyers, journalists, and others without permission.
So… What Even Is Bitclout?
I mean… the name sorta says it all, right? It’s clout on the blockchain — digitized, monetized clout.
This isn’t a first. Many may be familiar with the Brave browser and the use of BAT (basic attention tokens) to “pay creators.” When this BAT initiative was launched, many YouTubers — including ridiculously large accounts like Tom Scott — were upset by the fact that they were being listed as accounts that could be given BAT.
Needless to say, this was eventually changed by Brave and the browser now requires opt-in consent.
Clearly not the case for Bitclout right now.
Seeing every lawyer on cryptocurrency Twitter talking about how they were considering filing cease and desist letters made me complacent and I didn’t worry about the ramifications.
But this morning I read an article published by CoinDesk wherein Nic Carter, a well known crypto advocate, gave this strange response to the Bitclout controversy:
This more-or-less says, “Hey man, there’s all sorts of Ponzis out there, this is just like everything else, so who cares?”
At this point, my curiosity was piqued and someone found a nonverified, word-for-word copied account representing my own Twitter account.
The account even links to this Medium account, where hopefully anyone who stumbles onto the fake CasPiancey Bitclout account will end up reading this, right now.
James Prestwich said it best in his reply to my angry tweet:
Real World Comparisons
The best real world example I could think of like this is, 1. Twitter bots that impersonate people to either perpetuate scams or get others to utilize a ref link. The beauty, though, is that it is easy to report these accounts and have them banned. They also aren’t instantly monetized, like the fake CasPiancey account is. 2. The illegal act of of sitting on someone’s name (in domain form) for the express intent and purpose of hopefully one day selling it to that individual (ie buying bill gates dot com only attempting to one day sell to the man himself).
Both of these real world examples are gross, and to be quite frank, Bitclout is somehow even more disgusting than either of those.
This piece is mostly a shot over the bow to the people working on Bitclout. I am not the only critic and fraud chaser keeping an eye on you, but the reality is you should probably be a lot more worried about all the lawyers thinking about filing suits. Besides the Bitcoin you’ve collected, it might be time to pack this project up and call it a day.
Take care everyone, and stay skeptical, friends.