One Millionaire Really Is Giving Away Bitcoin â€” But Is That a Good Thing?
Bill Pulte has been giving away thousands in cash, crypto, and cars for months now, but he could be inadvertently helping scammers.
Millionaire philanthropist Bill Pulte has given away close to $150,000 this year in an attempt to promote the mass adoption of cryptocurrency. However, some critics are concerned that he may inadvertently be providing legitimacy to the masses of scammers who use fake giveaways to con new users out of crypto.
Others believe itâ€™s a â€˜self servingâ€™ attempt to build his public profile. Pulte has nearly 3,000,000 Twitter followers, up from the 10,000 he had in July 2019.
In a July 9 post on Pulteâ€™s Twitter account, the millionaire said he would be donating funds through CashApp to users who retweet or comment on his posts. By the following day he had given away $625 to six of his followers to buy Bitcoin (BTC). According to Pulte, the donations must be used to purchase the cryptocurrency because it â€œwill be higher in the future.â€�
I will be sending money to some of you tonight for you to buy Bitcoin in CashApp. You have to keep it in Bitcoin because I think Bitcoin will be higher in the future. Deal? Names will be herehttps://t.co/2yeSE6Nly0
â€” Bill Pulte (@pulte) July 9, 2020
In total, Pulte has given away $5625 so far this month and more than $18,000 last month. Many of Pulteâ€™s gifts over the last several months have been in cash â€” and free cars for some â€” but the millionaire has come out in favor of giving away crypto as a means to â€œstrong arm more adoption.â€�
â€œThe crypto community is missing out big time. If they want mass adoption, they got to give it out on Twitter and social media […] Cryptocurrency can help the worldâ€™s poorest, especially those who are â€˜unbanked.â€™ As a philanthropist, I therefore want to promote adoption.â€�
Pulte keeps an active list of all the recipients of his offers, with gifts reportedly ranging from $10 to $15,000 this year. As the grandson of billionaire William John Pulte, he inherited at least part of his grandfatherâ€™s estate. As of December 2019, Pulte claims to own 11 BTC â€” now valued at more than $100,000.
For every legitimate offerâ€¦
However, nearly everyone who has ever been involved in cryptocurrency has probably seen a scam involving free giveaways, and social media like Twitter is usually the gateway. The â€˜giveawayâ€™ usually entails the user sending a small amount of cryptocurrency to â€˜verify their addressâ€™ in order to get a much larger amount back. Of course, they never receive any crypto.Â
According to Ilia Rozhnov, head of cybersecurity firm Group-IBâ€™s head Brand Protection team in the Asia-Pacific region, fake crypto giveaways are â€œamong fraudstersâ€™ favorite tricks.â€� Group-IB has observed the dangers of scammers exploiting legitimate giveaways.Â
â€œFake giveaways affect heavily the reputation of brands and celebrities whose names are being hijacked by scammers,â€� she said. â€œItâ€™s essential for brand owners to constantly monitor for and block any online infringements abusing their names.â€�
Rozhnovâ€™s team detected one notable example in 2018, when a fake Twitter account pretending to be Telegram founder Pavel Durov announced a fake crypto giveaway as a reply to a legitimate Tweet about a power outage at Telegram. According to Group-IB, the fraudsters scammed users out of $59,500 in a matter of hours.
Pulte is giving away cash to his followers to buy BTC, which means someone could bilk unsuspecting desperate people out of much more by pretending to be him.Â
Helping the poor or helping poorly?
Cameron LeBlanc from Fatherly said Pulteâ€™s actions appeared to be less about â€œTwitter philanthropyâ€� as he claims, and more about image:
â€œOn its face, it seems kind of nice, a guy with a lot giving to those with a little. But when you think about it and look at how Pulte is going about it, the entire enterprise is depressing. It comes down to a guy who, through an accident of birth, inherited a bunch of money dangling it in front of people who didnâ€™t, a self-serving effort to build a public profile around sentiment instead of real impact.â€�
Cointelegraph has contacted Bill Pulte for comment and will update this story if we hear back.
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