Crypto exchange YoBit has offered a 1 Bitcoin bounty to the first person to provide them with personal information about one of its critics.
Posting on Twitter an hour ago, the exchange is looking for the real name and contact information of Russian Youtuber ValeraTV for allegedly spreading “fake news”.
“Bounty for first who report info (real names, phone number, address, current location) about ValeraTV from youtube (fake news/info about Yobit) – 1 btc,” the tweet – which has since been deleted – read.
In a true “come at me, bro!” moment, the gentleman behind ValeraTV seemed unconcerned with the bounty placed on his head, telling the exchange, “You may call me or write to Telegram @valeria2z or put your answer to Support [translated].”
The real world consequences of online doxing
The outing of someone’s personal information online – also known as ‘doxing’ – can cause serious real-world harm to the victim.
Just this week, a former Democratic aide was sentenced to four years in prison for publicly releasing the home addresses and other personal information of five Republican senators.
At best, these kinds of attacks – and they are attacks – result in nothing more than some prank phone calls. At worst, people have lost their jobs, received death threats, had their property damaged, and even been physically assaulted.
That a business would engage in this type of activity over one person’s criticisms is beyond the pale, even for an exchange as checkered as YoBit.
YoBit’s shady past
Despite the attraction of its broad listing of cryptocurrencies, the Russia-based exchange has a history of questionable activities.
In 2017, CoinTelegraph reported that Russia’s telecommunications regulator, Roskomnadzor, had opened an investigation into the exchange over what it alleged was fraudulent activity.
“We are now investigating Yobit as an unreliable resource, with an eye to blocking it as a consequence,” a spokesperson for the agency said at the time.
For its part, YoBit claimed that the accusations were false, blaming it on the actions of a project called EdinarCoin.
The exchange also came under fire in 2018 for brazenly launching a pump and dump program for its users.
YoBit Pump in 22 hrs: https://t.co/RIbW7OhKzM
We will buy one random coin for 1 btc every 1-2 mins 10 times (total buy amount – 10 btc).
— Yobit.Net (@YobitExchange) October 10, 2018
A ‘pump and dump,’ for those who may not know, is a type of fraud that occurs when the price of a crypto asset is artificially driven up by false and/or misleading information.
It is usually done with cryptocurrencies of lesser value and quality and allows those “in the know” to buy the target cryptocurrency at cheap market prices only to turn around and sell at the peak of the short-lived ‘pump.’
Once the pumpers have exited their positions, the price usually plummets – often lower than its original market price – causing traders who didn’t get out in time to lose money.
Micky reached out to both YoBit and ValeraTV for further details but has yet to receive a response from either party.