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Bitcoin veteran tricks crypto scammer into learning Lightning

source-logo  cointelegraph.com 24 March 2022 15:09, UTC

There’s a poetic justice to scammers getting beat at their own game. A cryptocurrency scammer met their match when trying to trick Bitcoiner, Felix Crisan into sending them Tether (USDT). 

The scammer tried to impersonate John Carvalho, the CEO of Synonym, a Bitcoiner Cointelegraph regularly cites. The scammer, who we will call fake John from now on, wanted Crisan to send USDT, but Crisan–who’s been learning and getting involved with Bitcoin (BTC) for almost a decade–had other ideas:

Today I've convinced a scammer to install a Lightning Network wallet. BTW @BitcoinErrorLog there's someone impersonating you on Telegram pic.twitter.com/Qd0I9pAney

— felix crisan (@fixone) March 23, 2022

In brief, Crisan, a CTO at NETOPIA Payments, convinced the scammer to install a Lightning (LN) wallet as he only deals with “LN assets.” So, Fake John installed a Bitcoin LN wallet, Blue Wallet. However, instead of sending Fake John the money, Crisan sent a message saying “Eat shit you fucking scammer!”.

Justice duly served–all while providing a free lesson in how to use Bitcoin LN.

On the other hand, it does raise questions as to whether Fake John will continue scamming people but now with Bitcoin LN addresses at their disposal.

The Bitcoin Lightning Network is a fast-growing near-instant payment network built on top of the Bitcoin base chain known as layer two. It’s brought innovations such as a quick way to pour a pint, while the aforementioned (real) John Carvalho is building his company on Lightning in partnership with Tether.

Crisan told Cointelegraph that he “constantly get DMs shilling one investment scheme or another.” Prudence and precaution are key when interacting and transacting online: scammers, bots and cryptocurrency shills are commonplace on social media platforms such as Twitter while Malware bots can sometimes interfere with wallet addresses to steal Bitcoin.

In terms of pursuing and maybe catching the miscreant, Crisan said that “ if the scammer opened a channel with this node, then it would be possible. But there are also services that offer sort of on-demand channel creation, so that's not a very reliable method.” However, ultimately, “only the node operator would be able to do this enhanced tracing.”

It’s not Crisan’s first time playing tricks on scammers. In 2019, he outsmarted a Bitcoin illiterate scammer into sending 21 million (and one) Bitcoin to their address. Bitcoin has a hard cap of 21 million Bitcoin, so the scammer clearly needs to do some homework.

1/ I spent some time today trolling a scammer. At one point I was "ready" to send him 21mil BTC to "trade". He was being considerate, though, only wanting 100k pic.twitter.com/4sxgf0d4DI

— felix crisan (@fixone) July 7, 2019

The above Tweet thread makes clear that some scammers are misinformed at best, while Bitcoin needs more people like Crisan. 

Related: ‘How I met Satoshi’: The mission to teach 100M people about Bitcoin by 2030

Asked whether Crisan had any advice to share with cryptocurrency and internet users faced with a seemingly constant threat of scams, Crisan told Cointelegraph: 

“Avoiding scams should always stem from a common history with the requestor. I.e. to determine if they are who they claim they are to ask for a common reference (yesterday this type of question was the first I asked this scammer and the response almost confirmed that he's not John).”