December 31, 2022
Issue No. 35
Welcome to this week's AtherXplorer, covering the latest in gaming, blockchain, and everything in between.
This week’s top picks include:
- Blockchain & Defi: Turkey Pushes Ahead With Digital Lira; ZK Rollups Bring Ethereum's Decentralized Vision Into Focus
- Gaming: Creta Unveils Web3 Gaming Ecosystem; 'Ashfall' From Liithos Studios Bringing Web3 Games To Life
- Web3 & Metaverse: Fidelity Plans NFT and Financial Services in Metaverse; Lamina1 Launches Rolling Fund for Web3 Builders
- NFTs: DeGods and Y00ts NFTs are bridging off Solana; Nouns Ethereum NFTs to Appear in 2023 Rose Parade
- Legal Landscape: Turkey Completes First CBDC Test; California Regulator Warns of 17 Crypto Websites
Blockchain & DeFi Developments
North Korea-Linked Lazarus Group Poses as VC Firms to Spread Malware
BlueNoroff—the name given by security researchers to a group linked with North Korean state-sponsored hacking collective Lazarus Group—has expanded its criminal activities to include posing as venture capitalists looking to invest in crypto startups, according to a new report from the Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.
“BlueNoroff created numerous fake domains impersonating venture capital companies and banks,” Kaspersky says.
In its report, Kaspersky says it detected global attacks by BlueNoroff targeting cryptocurrency startups in January 2022 but says there was a lull in activity until the fall.
According to Kaspersky, BlueNoroff is using malware to attack organizations that deal with smart contracts, DeFi, Blockchain, and the FinTech industry. Kaspersky says BlueNoroff is also using software to bypass Mark-of-the-Web (MOTW) technology, which ensures that a message from Windows pops up to warn users when trying to open a file downloaded from the Internet.
Stealing cryptocurrency has been a profitable business for North Korean hackers. Since 2017, over $1.2 billion in cryptocurrency has been looted, according to data from South Korean spy agencies. In 2022, several high-profile companies, including FTX, were hit by cyber-attacks.
Turkey Pushes Ahead With Digital Lira
Turkey’s central bank announced today that it had completed the first set of tests for its long-planned digital currency.
The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) said that it plans to continue running tests for its digital lira next year.
“The CBRT will continue to run the limited, closed-circuit pilot tests with technology stakeholders in the first quarter of 2023,” the statement read. “Findings obtained from these tests will be shared with the public via a comprehensive evaluation report.”
Upcoming phases will explore “the use of distributed ledger technologies in payment systems and the integration of these technologies with instant payment systems,” the announcement read.
Turkey’s central bank has been working on its own CBDC—a digital version of a state’s fiat currency—for years. CBDCs are digital assets backed by a central bank and are very different from the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum. This is because they are centralized: a central power—the government or central bank—controls them.
Bitcoin and many other digital assets are decentralized: no one entity controls them and their ledger of transactions is maintained and checked by a distributed network of validators.
Countries around the world are in different stages of researching and releasing CBDCs. Last month, news surfaced that Japan’s central bank was planning a CBDC experiment with the country’s megabanks. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India has proposed a phased pilot of its version of a digital rupee.
China is by far the furthest ahead of the major economies: citizens can already spend the digital yuan.
Turkey makes for an interesting case study because the country’s money is one of the worst-performing emerging market currencies: this year it lost 29% of its value. Because of this, citizens are interested in digital assets like Bitcoin.
Back in 2020, Ali Babacan, a founding member of DEVA, Turkey’s opposition party, told Decrypt that a digital lira would not solve the country’s economic woes.
Despite many countries around the world being in varying states of progress with CBDCs, privacy advocates have criticized the idea of the assets—claiming they could allow the state to snoop on and control citizens’ spending.
Crypto exchange ShapeShift’s founder Erik Voorhees told Decrypt in February that the assets were an “Orwellian spy surveillance nightmare.”
For its part, Turkish officials say “digital identification is of critical importance for the project.”
ZK Rollups Bring Ethereum's Decentralized Vision Into Focus
ZK-powered technology is expected to revolutionize myriad sectors from gaming to payments, and from digital identity to enterprise solutions. Looking ahead, 2023 promises to be the year ZK tech takes off.
What is zero-knowledge technology?
Zero-knowledge technology refers to tools that use cryptography to prove something is true without revealing any additional information other than the fact that it is true. The value of such a tool for crypto is that it greatly reduces the costs of processing data (such as transaction data on a blockchain) without compromising the security or decentralization that makes these monetary networks unique.
The application of ZK tech allows blockchain networks to prove the authenticity of their operations in the most efficient way, using the fewest possible steps. This has the power to be transformational for Web3 development by reducing costs, increasing throughput capacity, and expanding potential use cases far beyond what is currently possible.
Until recently, ZK-based scaling was limited by its incompatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). It’s not strictly incompatible, of course, but perhaps unfriendly. In fact, many industry participants projected that it would take more than a decade to build a performant, EVM-compatible ZK rollup. Fortunately, it took considerably less time than that.
While the Ethereum Merge in 2022 was instrumental in transitioning the network from proof-of-work (PoW) to the more efficient proof-of-stake (PoS), it represents just the first step in the broader Ethereum roadmap, with improvements to how on-chain data is stored likely to be the next step.
Users cannot truly trust the outputs of a ZK-powered tool if they cannot independently verify its inputs. In this way, transparency requires proving systems that have source-available code for every component.
How will ZK tech benefit crypto?
With ZK’s ability to increase throughput and security and reduce fees, ZK rollups will also be a meaningful tool for the decentralized finance sector. Leveraging Ethereum's robust security and decentralization while providing scale in a trustless way could take DeFi to the next level.
Similarly, the zero-knowledge tech could have a knock-on effect on the payments industry. Crypto has failed to become a widely accepted channel for business and consumer payments, largely a consequence of limited scalability and high fees (and taxes, but that’s a separate issue with a less-technical solution). Breakthroughs such as zkEVM look to challenge this, allowing robust payment stacks to be realized on Ethereum.
Additionally, for blockchain gaming applications to match the volume of users seen in the mainstream gaming sector, ZK rollups will be essential for processing the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of micro-transactions that a typical blockchain game would require.
Another area rife for the kinds of innovation that zkEVM can bring is enterprise blockchain solutions. Until now, enterprise users have been wary of the security issues presented by decentralized networks and their perceived lack of oversight and accountability.
Games & Blockchain Gaming
Creta Unveils Web3 Gaming Ecosystem And Four Blockchain Games
Creta, a Web3 entertainment company developing and publishing video games and a suite of solutions for Web3 gaming, unveils the gameplay of the upcoming blockchain game Kingdom Under Fire: The Rise and showcases the progress achieved in building its ecosystem of Web3 products, comprised of a one-stop-shop gaming platform, the metaverse, and blockchain gaming community service Super Club.
The announcement took place at Creta Summit 2022 in Tokyo, Japan, attended by video games and blockchain aficionados from Japan and overseas, heralding a significant step forward in bringing advancements in Web3 to the realm of video games.
Gameplay footage of the upcoming Kingdom Under Fire: The Rise set the engine of the Summit humming, unraveling the look and feel of the title with a sneak peek into the NFT avatars system, one of the numerous applications of the non-fungible tokens in the game. Ray Nakazato, Chief Creative Officer at Creta provided an insight into how blockchain will be leveraged in KUF: ”Some characters and items acquired during gameplay will be turned into NFTs and can be traded or bought. But to protect the game economy from devaluation and maintain a subtle balance, regular in-game item classes will be exempt from such transactions. The game will be playable in seasons, and data will reset at the end of each season with an opportunity to transfer player NFTs to a new season”.
The announcement of other blockchain games that have been in active development by Creta comes as an extra frosting on top. Not much is known about their genres or specs except for the names of the upcoming titles: Tokyo War Hana and Sakura, Fortress, and Warhands.
Advancements in the development of the gaming platform, the metaverse, and Super Club, a blockchain community service, have also been disclosed at the event. KUF and other gaming juggernauts developed by Creta will be launched and played via the tailor-made gaming platform, similar to how games are played on prominent Web2 platforms now. The metaverse layer will offer extended social and economic features for users craving extra fun and extended NFTs utilization. Super Club will propel the community-building behavior of players looking for familiarization with the benefits of blockchain gaming as well as a hub to relax and share gameplay experiences.
'Ashfall' From Liithos Studios and 'Days Gone' Creator Set To Bring Blockbuster Web3 Games To Life
The newly formed Liithos studio was founded by Michael Mumbauer and John Garvin (Creative Director of 'Days Gone'). With the ambitions to create a “true Web3 triple-A title”, these two industry leaders may just bring a new wave of Web3 innovation to the gaming space.
What Is Liithos Studios?
Fusing together the innovative capabilities of blockchain technology with classic triple-A game development, Mike Mumbauer and John Garvin formed Liithos Studios to create groundbreaking experiences. The company is dedicated to gathering the most sought-after and decorated industry stars, handpicked from respected teams with a history of success.
By offering remote employment opportunities, Liithos provides a unique opportunity for team members to control their own workspace by working from the location of their choice. The team itself is driven toward humanity and has a vast experience in both Web3 technologies and gaming.
With the need for cutting-edge technologies, the team has chosen the HBAR foundation as their partner for this groundbreaking development.
We look forward to continuing that trend, working with partners like the HBAR Foundation in support of the Hedera network, who understand the potential and need for innovation without any harmful impact on the environment,” stated Mike Mumbauer.
The concept of Web3 gaming and digital asset ownership has been established. However, passionate gamers and the industry at large need a studio that can bring them together in a meaningful way.
Web3 technologies and eSports are growing at unprecedented rates. With Liithos Studios at the helm, Ashfall has the potential to become a truly revolutionary experience.
Web3 & Metaverse
Fidelity Plans NFT Marketplace and Financial Services in the Metaverse
Investment giant Fidelity Investments has filed trademark applications in the United States for a host of Web3 products and services, including a nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace and financial investment and crypto trading services in the metaverse.
This is according to three trademark filings submitted to the United States Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) on Dec. 21, which was highlighted by licensed trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis in a Dec. 27 tweet.
One of the key areas of the firm’s focus appears to be the metaverse, with Fidelity indicating that it could offer a wide range of investment services within virtual worlds including mutual funds, retirement funds, investment management, and financial planning.
It also appears that metaverse-based payment services could be in the works, including electronic bill payments, fund transfers, and the “financial administration of credit card accounts in the metaverse and other virtual worlds.”
In terms of crypto, the filings indicate that the firm could launch trading and management services in the metaverse, along with providing virtual currency wallet services.
“Electronic wallet services in the nature of electronic storage and processing of virtual currency for electronic payments and transactions via a global computer network; digital currency, virtual currency, cryptocurrency digital token,” the filing reads.
Additionally, Fidelity outlines that it could offer educational services in the metaverse in the form of “conducting classes, workshops, seminars and conferences in the field of investments and in the field of marketing financial services.”
“Providing business information to financial service providers by means of an internet website, in the field of business marketing in the metaverse and other virtual worlds; referral services in the field of investment advice and financial planning in the metaverse and other virtual worlds” one filing reads.
NFTs are also in Fidelity's plans, with the investment manager stating that it could launch an “online marketplace for buyers and sellers of digital media, namely, non-fungible tokens,” however further details on such are sparse.
Looking Glass Labs Subsidiary Advances Metaverse Offering Development
Looking Glass Labs Ltd on Thursday said its subsidiary has advanced development of its Pocket Dimension metaverse offering.
The Buckinghamshire, England-based Web3 platform specializing in immersive metaverse environments, play-to-earn tokenization, and blockchain monetization strategies said its wholly-owned subsidiary House of Kibaa achieved numerous avatar-based and architecture-related milestones and expects to set a new standard for the metaverse industry.
New milestones reached or soon to be reached include 10,000 unique generative avatars in ultra-high resolution, 12,000 unique generative Gutter Cat Gang avatars in ultra-high resolution, and a generative avatar project with a spin-off live-action video series.
It also said other enhancements were in progress, such as ultra-high resolution art galleries to display a user’s non-fungible tokens from their connected wallet, a larger collection of around 60 stock playable avatars, and a patch manager for easier access to future updates.
In early 2023, House of Kibaa will look to add pixel streaming to Pocket Dimension to expand availability to most devices and bandwidth connections.
"Creating unique, realistic, and enjoyable experiences for our users in the virtual realm is our main priority. We firmly believe that the Pocket Dimension will continue to garner positive feedback as we roll it out more fully in 2023,” said Chief Executive Officer Dorian Banks.
“We are committed to heightening both user and client engagement by executing innovative initiatives and, in turn, adding value to Looking Glass Labs as a company."
Metaverse-First Blockchain Lamina1 Launches Rolling Fund for Web3 Builders
Lamina1, the metaverse-focused layer 1 blockchain dreamed up by science-fiction author Neal Stephenson and blockchain expert Peter Vessenes, is launching the Lamina1 Ecosystem Fund (L1EF) to provide Web3 builders with a capital-raising tool for their open metaverse ventures and to offer investors a chance to get in on projects at the ground level.
Led by Vessenes, the company said in a press release its first-of-its-kind publicly accessible ecosystem fund "is designed to provide broad economic access to global accredited investors looking to support the next era of the internet."
"Lamina1 is in a unique position given the incredible volume of inquiries we receive from those building the open metaverse every day,” said Vessenes. "The team has a front-row seat to all happening in the ecosystem and essentially gets a ‘first look’ at what many of the most compelling creators and storytellers of our time are doing, building, making, and producing around the world."
L1EF has launched on AngelList, a venture platform that allows startups to raise money from angel investors. Notably, the platform offers rolling funds, which allow interested investors to fund projects through quarterly subscriptions. L1EF is offering a subscription starting at $2,500 quarterly over a minimum period of four quarters.
"Layer 1 teams build infrastructure and in turn experience creators utilize that infrastructure," the Lamina1 team explained on its fundraising page. "Ecosystem funds bridge the gap between the two, providing capital, talent, and advisory to those who wish to use the chain. In exchange, these funds have the privilege of being able to make broad-scale investments in the earliest stage of a blockchain’s lifecycle.”
In an investor letter, Vessenes said that he hoped L1EF would serve the goals of Lamina1 in creating an "open metaverse built and to deliver economic access to the platform as broadly as possible."
"We'll be investing in games, fashion, music, art, NFT projects, emergent AI, DeFi, GameFi, DeSoc, virtual machines, layer 2 protocols, identity, data storage, data availability, privacy, payments, DAOs, marketplaces, bridges, applications, and immersive experiences," he added.
Along with Vessenes, the project has onboarded former Magic Leap executive Rebecca Barkin as its president, the music industry and arts executive Jessica Toon to lead its music investments, and Aspen Institute Fellow Christine Keung.
While Lamina1 is still in its early stages, the project will soon launch a testnet showcasing future use cases.
"[Vessenes] has a deep understanding and demonstrated success of growing economies around a chain," said Barkin. "And his approach to grant builders early access to capital – right as we’re preparing to place testnet in their hands – is in perfect alignment with our mission to build the open infrastructure that brings together the most powerful creative community on the planet."
DeGods and Y00ts NFTs are bridging off Solana: Here’s why
Nonfungible token (NFT) firm Dust Labs is migrating its two top-performing Solana NFT projects — DeGods and y00ts — onto Ethereum and Polygon in a bid to expand their adoption.
The news was announced on DeGods and y00ts Twitter pages on Dec. 25, with both expected to be officially bridged onto Ethereum and Polygon, respectively, in the first quarter of 2023.
DeGods and y00ts creator Rohun Vora, known by the alias Frank III, said the decision was made to “explore new opportunities” and to allow for the continued growth of the collections. The move will also see the DUST token — used to buy, sell and mint NFTs on the DeGods ecosystem — also be bridged onto Ethereum and Polygon.
Vora confirmed that two NFT projects will still remain on Solana for the time being. In a separate post responding to a Twitter user confirmed that the bridge migration will be owner “opt-in.”
During a Dec. 26 Twitter space, Vora explained to 66,000 listeners that it was simply a matter of getting the NFT projects on the platforms that he sees will drive the next wave of NFT adoption.
In his reasoning, he made parallels to the intense battle for intellectual property (IP) between streaming services such as Netflix, Disney Plus, and HBO Max — suggesting that the streaming service that secures the best IP will ultimately win the lion’s share of viewers, which then attracts better projects:
“They’re trying to get the best IP on their streaming services because that IP is ultimately going to drive the growth on that platform.”
“Once you get enough IP on the platform it becomes a virtuous cycle, people want to be on Netflix because that’s just the brand and the place to be,” he added.
He said a similar battle is playing out between different blockchains that are trying to build the best NFT platforms, noting that as NFTs are driven by attention, there is an opportunity for “virtuous cycles” that would create a network effect for NFT projects.
From there, “the metrics, the volume, and the liquidity will follow that,” he added.
Nouns Ethereum NFTs Will Appear in the 2023 Rose Parade
The Nouns NFT project has already appeared in a Super Bowl commercial as well as an indie film. Next, the pixel characters and their boxy glasses (or Noggles) will jump into the real world as part of next week’s Rose Parade through an initiative voted on and funded by the Nouns DAO.
On January 2, 2023, a Nouns-themed float and six costumed characters will appear as part of the 134th annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, which takes place ahead of the Rose Bowl college football showdown between Penn State and Utah.
Stoopid Buddy Stoodios—the company behind the TV series “Robot Chicken” and “Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.”—pitched the idea to the Nouns community of NFT holders in April. The studio, which was co-founded by actor Seth Green—himself an NFT aficionado—proposed creating the parade float and costumes, as well as filming it all for a documentary film.
China to Roll Out State-Backed Exchange for Digital Collectibles
The "China Digital Asset Trading Platform," the country's first digital collectibles marketplace, is set to be unveiled on January 1, 2023, with an official ceremony celebrating the launch of the marketplace to be held in Beijing, according to a China Daily report earlier this week.
Designed to be compliant on a national level, the China Digital Assets Exchange is run by the government-backed China Technology Exchange and China Cultural Relics Exchange Center, as well as the Huaban Digital Copyright Service Center, a private corporation.
The new platform will run on an underlying blockchain dubbed “China Cultural Protection Chain,” the China Digital Assets Exchange will facilitate the trading of digital collections, digital copyrights, and property rights.
Per the report, China Cultural Protection Chain is “the only credible depository service platform for tradable digital assets, providing digital asset registration, confirmation of rights, depository, rights protection monitoring, and copyright protection services for institutions and individual users.”
In addition, the platform is partnering with the "Digital Collection Home," the first metaverse digital collection credit evaluation and aggregation platform in China, developed by Zhongrong Global Holdings Co.
This partnership will reportedly give the platform's users access to the metaverse and digital collection-related data, content, and other aggregation services.
Next chapter for China’s NFT sector?
China, which cracked down hard on Bitcoin mining and the broader crypto industry last year, widely uses the term “digital collectibles” to describe what is otherwise known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Earlier this year, China’s state-backed Blockchain Services Network debuted a platform for issuing and selling such tokenized digital collectibles—albeit with no crypto allowed, meaning users have to use Chinese yuan to pay for collectibles and platform fees.
Moreover, the speculative aspect of the digital collectibles sector in China has been pretty much restricted until now, with no secondary trading allowed.
The launch of the China Digital Assets Exchange appears to change that, even though cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum will still not be available.
NFT Marketplace CroSea 2.0 Launch Set For Jan. 25
CroSea is the largest open NFT Marketplace on the Cronos network. It allows users to trade NFTs using CRO, wrapped USDT, and any CRC20 Tokens. The platform has pioneered a lot over a short time due to its next-level innovative solutions like viewing owned collections and easy creation of new ones.
CroSea announced a major upgrade coming up in the new year, promising Decentralized Finance (DeFi) aggregation, profit sharing, a new user experience, and more. The launch of CroSea 2.0 is set for Jan. 25.
Kraken Launches NFT Marketplace Beta to the Public
Kraken, a digital asset platform, has unveiled the public beta launch of Kraken NFT, the marketplace for collectors to explore, discover and securely trade NFTs.
According to FinTech Finance, following the launch of Kraken Pro, clients will now benefit from two new and unique services, demonstrating Kraken’s commitment to accelerating the adoption of cryptocurrency.
Kraken NFT will feature a curated offering of over 110 of the highest-trading-volume NFT collections in the market today. Supported collections pass a thorough and comprehensive vetting procedure, with new collections added regularly.
Collectors can also access the NFT screener tool on Cryptowatch to track real-time NFT market data, average sale price, and in-depth statistics for hundreds of different collections.
Kraken NFT includes a range of different services, including zero gas fees – collectors can buy and sell NFTs held on Kraken without clogging up the underlying blockchain network and incurring sky-high network gas fees.
In addition, a portion of the value of eligible NFTs sold on its marketplace goes back to the original content creator, rewarding ongoing creativity and invention within the space. All supported collections have an accompanying rarity ranking so collectors can better access how rare an individual NFT may be, informing a potential bid or offer.
Kraken’s NFT’s whitelisted collections will begin with those built on Ethereum and Solana. Support for other blockchains will be added in the near future.
National Policies & Legal Updates
Turkey’s Central Bank Completes First CBDC test with More to Come in 2023
The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) has completed the first trial of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Digital Turkish Lira, and has signaled plans to continue testing throughout 2023.
According to a statement released by the CBRT on Dec. 29, the central bank authority said it successfully executed its “first payment transactions” using the digital lira.
It said it will continue to run limited, closed-circuit pilot tests with technology stakeholders in the first quarter of 2023, before expanding it to include selected banks and financial technology companies in the rest of the year.
It said the results of these tests will be shared with the public through a “comprehensive evaluation report,” before unveiling more of the next phases of the study which will further widen participation.
The Turkish central bank first announced it was looking into the benefits of introducing a digital Turkish Lira in September 2021 in a research project called “Central Bank Digital Turkish Lira Research and Development.”
At the time, the government made no commitment to the ultimate digitalization of the country’s currency, noting it had “made no final decision regarding the issuance of the digital Turkish lira.”
In its most recent statement, the CBRT said it will continue testing the use of distributed ledger technologies in payment systems and their “integration” with instant payment systems.
It will also prioritize studying the legal aspects of the digital Turkish Lira, such as the “economic” and “legal framework” around digital identification, along with its technological requirements.
Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Kazakhstan, have recently begun piloting central bank digital currencies.
The Bank of England has opened applications for a proof of concept for a CBDC wallet, while the Kazakhstan central bank has recommended the introduction of an in-house CBDC as early as 2023 with a phased implementation over three years.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) recently expressed hesitation about its own CBDC plans, with assistant governor Brad Jones warning in a speech on Dec. 8 that a CBDC could displace the Australian dollar and lead to people avoiding commercial banks entirely.
California Regulator Warns of 17 Crypto Websites Suspected of Fraud
The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) has fired off 17 separate warnings over two days against crypto brokers and websites it suspects of being fraudulent.
The list includes Tahoe Digital Exchange, TeleTrade Options, Tony Alin Trading Firm, Hekamenltd/Tosal Markets Limited, Trade 1960, Yong Ying Global Investment Company Limited, Unison FX, VoyanX.com, and ZC Exchange, to name a few.
Additionally, there are two copycat sites posing as two big names in the crypto sector: eth-Wintermute.net and UniSwap LLC.
At the time of writing, the DFPI's consumer alert page has posted 17 warnings over Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 stating that these companies “appear to be engaged in fraud against California consumers.”
It is not common for the DFPI to post so many alerts in one go, suggesting that the number of crypto scam reports may have ramped up in the latter stages of the year. The DFPI usually posts sporadic warnings about investigations into companies, or alerts of certain incidents.
The last time the DFPI sent out such a large batch of crypto scam alerts was on June 15, when it sounded the alarm bells over 26 dubious crypto platforms.
The warnings came in response to complaints from citizens against the brokers and websites, with the DFPI stating the individuals have reported having lost anywhere from $2,000 to as much as $1.2 million in certain cases. The DFPI however only goes as far as to say that these websites "appears to be engaged in fraud."
A key theme alleged in most of these warnings relates to pig-slaughtering scams, which involve an individual or group creating a fake identity online to build fake relationships or friendships via social media, messaging, and dating apps.
In a pig slaughtering or romance scam, a fraudster would generally put weeks or months into building the fake kinship to gain the victim's trust, before gradually shifting the conversation toward investments and enticing them with investment “opportunities” that are often too good to be true.
Ultimately the end goal is to get the victim to invest in crypto via a copycat version of a legitimate website — such as UniSwap LLC and eth-Wintermute.net in this instance — or by transferring funds to a dodgy wallet address.
Accompanying pig slaughtering, the alleged scammers are said to have deployed another tactic described as the “Advance Fee Scheme,” where the bad actors will request large amounts of money to process the fake withdrawals from their scam sites.
If the victim falls for it, the scammer not only pockets the initial investment but an extra slice on top, before promptly cutting off all forms of contact.
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