The Merge had “all the makings of a scammer’s dream”: Chainalysis executive

Eric Jardine talks about how thieves were able to profit on the changeover of the second-largest blockchain and how $2 million in ether was taken.

According to Eric Jardine, the cybercrimes research lead at Chainalysis, there were about $2 million worth of frauds prior to, during, and following Ethereum’s Merge, the blockchain’s switch from a proof-of-work (PoW) model to a proof-of-stake (PoS) model.

Jardine claimed that the Merge, which happened in September, had “all the components” a con artist would need to steal substantial sums of money on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover.”

“You had a significant blockchain that was undergoing the transformation, a big change that caused uncertainty, [and] a lot of media surrounding the event itself,” Jardine said. “Those are the proper [things] to get people involved in the system and see con artists flourish.”

The con artists’ methods closely resembled those of conventional trust trade scams, which deceitfully offer victims a sizeable sum of money or tokens in exchange for making a specified quantity of cryptocurrency investments.

It’s a typical fraud scenario, according to Jardine. In this instance, the scammers were profiting from the Merge’s reputation.

The most recent report from the crypto compliance platform claims that scammers “were able to take advantage of customers’ ignorance of the Merge to defraud them.”

According to Jardine, one method scammers used to accomplish this was by informing their victims that upgrading Ethereum would necessitate large monetary contributions from its users.

Scammers were able to steal approximately $905,000 worth of ether on September 15, 2022, the day of the second-largest blockchain’s much anticipated changeover (ETH).

Additionally, frauds connected to the Merge appeared to be localized and concentrated in groups of nations with the greatest GDP rates. Scammers probably targeted consumers in “wealthier countries under the premise that they’d be more willing to invest more in the fraud,” according to Jardine.

We observed that the nations with the most propensity for Merge-related scams were Finland, Poland, Chile, Panama, and Vietnam, according to Jardine.

He noted that if people “understand about the sort of telltale warning indicators that would say this is probably a scam [and] you should probably avoid it,” they “will learn about the ins and outs of the crypto world.”

It all boils down to “care in avoiding goods that look too good to be true,” he said.

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