If you suspect some projects are faking their social media hype, you may be right. New research has revealed the shocking extent of the practice.
Crypto social media analytics firm The Tie has just released the results of its research into fake social media hype among cryptocurrency projects.
It analyzed the tweet and trading volume across 450 projects to create a new metric called ‘Hype to Activity Ratio’.
It measures how many Tweets there are for every $1 million dollars in trading volume (averaged across 30 days).
Crypto projects that are definitely not faking it
The results are instructive to say the least.
Projects that are DEFINITELY not faking their Twitter mentions include Tether, EOS, Ethereum Classic, Cosmos and NEO.
These projects were the top five ‘Least Overhyped’ projects, and all averaged less than a quarter of a tweet per million in trading volume.
“Tether is a stablecoin highly used in crypto trading, so it makes sense that the coin would have a relatively small number of conversations as compared to its trading volume,” The Tie noted.
Unfeasibly popular crypto projects
And the most over hyped project in all of crypto-dum?
TokenPay, shills for which managed to pump out 911.1 Twitter posts for every million dollars in trading volume.
TokenPay had a Hype to Activity Ratio 33 million percent higher than Tether – or 330,770 times more tweets.
It was closely followed by Electroneum with 678.8, Dragonchain with 505.3, Telcoin on 287.5 and DigitByte with 153.4.
[UPDATE: Dragonchain contacted Micky to argue, in a slightly passive aggressive way, they don’t belong on the list as they actively encourage users not to trade, but to rather conduct transactions on their own network.
“We have a few hundred thousand transactions within our platform (non ERC-20) per month currently … We aren’t even a cryptocurrency.”]
Let’s be clear – simply paying for a bunch of shills/bots to promote your project on social media is not illegal, nor is it *conclusively* a sign of a scammy project.
And hey, it’s technically possible that these projects simply have an army of ardent supporters active on social media that’s exponentially larger than all other projects.
But they probably are says The Tie (not us)
“Just like trading volume manipulation, many of these coins are similarly being manipulated on Twitter by hoards of bot accounts, fake followers, and manipulated engagement,” The Tie said.
At the very least it should set alarm bell ringing for investors who associate a high degree of visibility on social media with potential future profits.
Just because there are lots of Tweets, doesn’t mean there’s a huge community of supporters.
Seasoned pros like Micky readers probably already have a good nose for sniffing out manipulative practices, but as The Tie points out: “this deception is aimed at new entrants into crypto who are often less informed.”
How to spot a scammy Twitter account
There are a few simple ways to identify fake shill accounts.
Electroneum for example has numerous accounts shilling it with handles that include a string of random numbers.
Another identifier is posts that mention a number of overhyped projects in the same Tweet.
And of course, having absurdly high numbers of Twitter followers is a dead giveaway.
Electronuem for example, has 127,800 followers on Twitter while BitMEX has 65,000.
It’s very easy – and tempting – to buy fake followers on social media.
New ICOs are inundated with emails offering the service, along with people offering to shill coins on Reddit, “review” the project on YouTube or from ‘Influencers’ who will tell their followers how great X brand cryptocurrency is, before immediately selling all of the X brand cryptocurrency they were paid for BTC.
Overhyped, but not necessarily paid for
Other projects The Tie considers overhyped include Iota, Fantom, Nash Exchange, TomoChain, Pundi X, Republic Protocol, Holochain, Tezos, Nano, Qant, ChainLink, Zilliqa, Elastos, Dogecoin, Ravencoin, BitTorrent, Cardano, ICON and VeChain.
Some of these projects may simply have a loyal army of over-enthusiastic supporters behind them.
It’s hard to imagine a joke project like Dogecoin paying an army of shills.
Nevertheless, hype itself can be toxic by giving a misleading impression of a project’s chance of success.
As The Tie says: “While this metric is not perfect, we think it’s a good tool for identifying massive outliers.”
Social media manipulation and buying followers isn’t confined to Twitter. On Facebook, Justin Sun has six million likes, while the largest exchange in crypto Coinbase has just 187,000.
Weirdly enough though, on The Tie’s Logarithmic chart, Tron is also one of the coins hyped much less than average on Twitter, along with Stellar, Dash, Litecoin, Bitcoin SV and Neo.
Complicating matters even further, Justin Sun’s followers list contains endless numbers of account handles with strings of random numbers.
The largest projects don’t fake it. Except possibly one
Among the top five largest cryptocurrencies by marketcap, four of them have remarkably similar tweet to trading volume ratios.
Bitcoin, as befits the market leader, has 1.72 tweets per million, while Ethereum has 1.17, Bitcoin Cash has 0.71 and Litecoin has 1.08.
Ripple is the outlier however with 4.07. If the tags #XRPCommunity, #XRPTheStandard and #XRPArmy are included the ratio spikes up to 6.66.
So XRP has six times more Tweets about it than the average coin. Draw your own conclusions about if it’s simply much more popular than average, or if there’s something else going on.