Some of you may be aware of a situation that has impacted the NXT community in the last day. The details aren’t clear, at this point, but the overview is that someone, writing as “CoinTropololis_JustaBit” (JustabitofTime, John, Peter Manglaviti) offered an investment opportunity that needed to be funded immediately, and with zero details. Without any due diligence, a few members of the community sent in a fairly sizable amount of BTC in exchange for NXT – from what I understand, this exchange never occurred.
This is most likely the work of someone who gained access (socially, or with an exploit) to JustaBitofTime’s NXT forum account (that is used for CoinTropolis PR), and also compromised his Twitter account. I worked with John long enough here in the Peercoin community to find it highly unlikely that he’s set out to perpetrate a fraud of this magnitude, especially considering the reputation fallout that would undoubtedly result, but until there’s clarification it’s a possibility that needs to be kept in mind.
Ok, something bad happened, but what does this have to do with Peercoin?
The con that was used here was one of familiarity. John had a reputation in the community, and was very vocal about the different projects that he and CoinTropolis were working on to forward NXT’s promotion. He was trusted enough that when his account posted an investment opportunity people blindly took it at face value and felt that if it came from “John,” that it would be legit. Maybe they were looking to make a quick buck in the arbitrage situation that “he” was presenting, or maybe those that send funds were ones who had worked with John in the past and believed that there was something in the works – but in any case, their investments are most likely gone for good.
I do not want this to happen here. With the huge amount of effort being put into the community, and with different groups of people working on initiatives, things are moving fast. With that speed, there’s the potential that this type of fraud could be attempted, so please, keep your guard up.
My personal pledge, to help combat this:
I’d like to make it perfectly clear to the community that at no time in the past, and at no time going forward will you see any posts from me where I am asking for direct investment in anything. If there are opportunities that present themselves that I would like to make available to the community, I’ll do it in a transparent, methodical manner, using Peer4Commit, or, in an extremely rare / special case, with a fully-vetted Peershares offering that is open for public discussion in advance of the solicitation of funds.
If you see anything else, allegedly from me, where I’m letting the community know about an investment opportunity – even if it is posted using my PeercoinTalk username (“Ben,” the one I’m posting this with), on Reddit and BitcoinTalk as “Mtinie”, via Twitter (@b_rossi), or on Github (“brossi”) – PLEASE APPROACH IT WITH EXTREME SUSPICION. Validation can be done by sending me a note to my BitMessage address, and if it’s a legitimate post, I’ll be able to confirm it by in a reply to you:
I’d like to encourage others in the community to make available similar “trust” verification methods, so that we have a very quick way of identifying potential security breaches, and proposals that may be trying to take advantage of the Community’s willingness to help each other out. If anyone would like help setting up a system, or has suggestions for ways that we can protect the Peercoin community from cons and scams, I’m interested in hearing more.
Stay safe out there folks, it’s still the “Wild West,” and there’s a really good chance that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.