Imitation can be the most sincere form of flattery in some cases, but in cryptocurrency, it is generally the most secure sign of a scam.
So I quickly realized that something was weird when I received an email last weekend with the line object, "Your image on the Coins Miner webpage."
It came from the director of the enforcement division of the Texas State Securities Board – the regulator of the state market – who warned me of a video published by Coins Miner Investment Ltd. "that states to describe you while you talk about bitcoin / criptovalute "Uh oh.
The email continued, "Can you confirm that you are not a senior Coins Miner writer and have not authorized Coins Miner to use the video on your website?"
This, I was hoping, should have been obvious . The video, published three weeks ago on YouTube and embedded on the Coins Miner website, is a corrupted version of a brief explanatory clip I filmed over a year ago for Fortune where I am a senior writer.  Ironically, the original title of my video, available on both Fortune.com and YouTube, is "The Risks of Investing in CryptCurrency". Coins Miner had taken it, crushed it with their own promotional material and overlapped their own logo on the watermark Fortune in the video. Take a look at the following screens:
Can you tell the difference?
At this point, I'm sure Coins Miner is not just risky, but almost certainly a fraud. Sure, there are red flags screaming scams all over the company's website, like the "who we are" section, which reads "Welcome To Coins Miner (the leading trading and mining platform # 1)." We started working with coins in the mine for two years and we have paid our investors with peace and unity. "Now it seems also probable that the authorities will close it.
I am not, however, shocked by this scheme. Back in October, I received a LinkedIn message from someone who asked me if I was affiliated to the now defunct Coinsminer.org, who was using my video on his homepage, and uploaded it to the Vimeo video hosting site. At that time, someone in our video department had made a copyright claim to Vimeo, who promptly removed the material.
The false imitations abound in the filthy side of the cryptocurrency sector. Remember the public service announcement of the US Securities and Exchange Commission in the form of spoofing on the ICO website on "HoweyCoins?" That came after the cryptographic sites started listing the actor Ryan Gosling as one of their team members.
A few weeks ago, I also received a Facebook message from someone asking me if I worked at Nexusonemarkets. "The reason is that I invested in this blockchain platform and the assistant operating manager named Jen Wieczner assisted me and raised $ 10,900 so far from me," wrote the person.
When I read the message, the Nexusonemarkets website had already been suspended by its hosting provider. But I suspect they were pulling out a similar scam using my name. (It is extremely unlikely that this is an innocent case of mistaken identity.) My surname, which originates in Poland, is not common, even with the proliferation of global social media platforms, I have never met anyone else in the world with the my exact name.)
The real irony, however, is that blockchain technology should allow us to gain control over our identities; I can use a cryptographic signature to prove I really am. In theory, I should be able to use the same methods to protect my copyrighted material, if YouTube had a blockchain on which my videos lived, the only way anyone could get access my content would be if you had authorized it.
Clearly, there's a lot of work to do before it's possible. In the meantime, if you see me or my name associated with anything other than Fortune or The Ledger stay away.
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