Feb 3, 2022
Vandalizing a Discord server
Ship It Post #
Feb 3, 2022
Discord is a messaging app similar to Slack. It has become popular for crypto communities. One of the Discord servers I’m in is for a small NFT passion project that an artist created. Today, it came to everyone’s attention that someone had stolen the art and made their own NFTs to sell on another marketplace.
I went into action and created a Notion page that tracked the social links of the fraudulent project, with guides on how to report them to the platforms they were using. I joined their Discord server with a group of other fans of the original project to warn the members. They instantly got banned. I joined with alternate accounts and took a more sneaky approach.
I asked pointed questions that suggested they weren’t a normal NFT project, and pointed out that we couldn’t use emojis to react to people’s messages. They enabled emoji reactions. They didn’t set the normal permissions though, and I added emojis of letters to spell out words on their announcement and about info channels. Words like “fraud”, “scam”, “fake”, “stolen”, and the name of the authentic project they stole from.
They ended up deleting those messages and trying to repost them without the reactions. I added more reactions while they were copy and pasting them. Eventually they learned how to turn the reactions back off channel-by-channel. It must have been frustrating for them, because they stopped reposting the messages and the channels are still blank.
Their Twitter is compromised, because they cannot delete people’s replies. After the creator tweeted out my guide, people swarmed the fraudulent tweets pointing out how it was a scam. Some people who were previously tricked got the message. Unfortunately, people are still “aping” into the scam and buying these NFTs at 100x the original cost. Their hopes are to sell them at a greater price. The scammers also said in their roadmap that they’ll be having giveaways (thousands of dollars worth) and will be donating some of the proceeds to charity.
While I’m bullish on the technology of NFTs and how they will be used for tokenizing almost everything in the future, this is an unregulated wild west. There are more scams than good projects out there. Social media influencers are jumping on the train. Many take advantage of their fans. Some make off with the money without fearing the consequences of not delivering on their promises.
I’ve been influenced by YouTube channels like Jim Browning, who hacks into scammers’ computers who try to control his computer. It’s a way to use technical expertise to fight bad actors who have no moral qualms about who they hurt. Tonight, I felt like a virtual vigilante.