President Biden’s Alleged Venmo Account Was Found in Less Than 10 Minutes and Then Promptly Disappeared

Illustration for article titled President Biden’s Alleged Venmo Account Was Found in Less Than 10 Minutes and Then Promptly Disappeared

Photo: Patrick Semansky (AP)

It all started with a passing mention. On Friday, the New York Times published a feature story about what life was like in President Joe Biden’s White House. In the feature, the outlet noted that Biden had sent his grandchildren money using Venmo, which prompted an inquisitive “Oh?” from yours truly. I wasn’t the only one intrigued, though. That same day, folks at Buzzfeed News reportedly found the president’s Venmo account.

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According to Buzzfeed’s fascinating account, which you can read in full here, it took less than 10 minutes to find Biden’s purported account on Venmo using the app’s search tool and public friends feature. The outlet also found what appeared to be accounts for almost a dozen members of the Biden family, including First Lady Jill Biden, as well as senior White House officials and their respective contacts on the app.

The incident set off alarm bells in the digital security community and put one of Venmo’s most criticized features, its public friend list, in the spotlight. Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, does not allow users to make their friend list private. In fact, Buzzfeed said that it was able to easily verify Biden’s account by looking at the people he was connected to, such as Jill Biden.

The president had less than 10 friends on the app, the outlet found. In comparison, the first lady’s account had a number of friends, including aides, Biden staffers, family members, and an account that appeared to belong to Hunter Biden, the president’s son. And while having a public friend list may not seem like a big deal to some, experts say it can enable stalking, harassment, spying, and deception.

After Buzzfeed reached out to the White House for its story, Biden’s connections on his public friend list were eliminated (the app allows you to remove friends by unfriending them manually). By the end of Friday, Buzzfeed reported that the accounts linked to the president and Jill Biden had disappeared.

The outlet did not reveal the usernames for the accounts believed to belong to Joe Biden, Jill Biden, the Biden family, and White House officials out of concerns over national security.

Gizmodo reached out to Venmo for a comment on the matter on Saturday. We asked Venmo whether it had specific security measures in place for high-profile individuals that use the app but did not receive a response.

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“The safety and privacy of all Venmo users and their information is always a top priority, and we take this responsibility very seriously,” Venmo said in a statement. “Customers always have the ability to make their transactions private and determine their own privacy settings in the app. We’re consistently evolving and strengthening the privacy measures for all Venmo users to continue to provide a safe, secure place to send and spend money.”

This isn’t a new problem. Venmo has been receiving criticism over its public friend list for years. In 2018, the Wall Street Journal asked it why users couldn’t make their lists private.

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“Because Venmo was designed for sharing experiences with your friends in today’s social world, we try to make it as easy as possible to connect with other Venmo users,” a spokeswoman said at that time.

Personally speaking, I pick safety over sharing experiences any day of the week. However, the bigger point here is one that we’ve been hearing a lot about lately: choice. Perhaps I don’t want to share my transactions or my friend list, but perhaps my neighbor does. We should be given the choice over whether to share—and be fully informed of the risks if we do—not be forced into doing so because Venmo was “designed” that way.

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As far as President Biden’s purported Venmo account goes, there’s no doubt that the president would rather not create a national security crisis when trying to send his grandchildren some spending money. While it’s clear the White House should have taken precautions and appropriate measures in this case, Venmo should have also made security a priority. It apparently didn’t.

Coinbase Says Screw It, We’ll Let You Buy Doge

Illustration for article titled Coinbase Says Screw It, We'll Let You Buy Doge

Illustration: Richard Drew (AP)

The cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase has caved. After a long silence to the hoards imploring the company to let them trade Dogecoin, they’ve decided to list the meme, adding a sheen of legitimacy to a cryptocurrency with limitless supply, which whales could squash with a whale-sized dump at any moment. On a call with investors on Thursday, CEO Brian Armstrong said that Coinbase aims to list it in six to eight weeks.

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The Doge fans have been wondering why Coinbase has been leaving money on the table. Doge now commands a heart-stopping trading volume and an equally terror-inducing current market cap of $72 billion—higher than 77 percent of companies listed on the S&P 500. Fees vary with flat rates for lower purchases, but Coinbase typically charges users a 1.49% fee on transactions made through your bank account. So if, say, Coinbase users bought $1 billion of Dogecoin and all HODLed, Coinbase would pocket $14.9 million. (This is if they don’t pay with a debit card or PayPal, in which case Coinbase gets 3.99% in a conversion fee.)

Armstrong didn’t stop at announcing Doge’s arrival on the platform. He added this wild forecast:

I think it’s going to be something, kind of, like apps in the App Store or on the iPhone where there’s eventually millions of these assets created over time and so we’re putting a lot of work and thought into how do we accelerate our pace of asset addition, and one of those is Doge, as you mentioned, which has been getting a lot of attention recently.

Getting-a-lot-of-attention-recently: sort of like CDs, Smash Mouth tickets, the Gap, TRIMSPA, and people running “executive success programs.”

The idea that cryptocurrency will have long-term value mostly hinges, at least for some analysts, on the idea of scarcity, that Bitcoin will be useful outside of the currency exchange trade, and once all the Bitcoin has been mined, you want to be holding the Bitcoin when everybody who missed out needs Bitcoin. Doge is the equivalent of endlessly printing money, with a current tangible value resting on Elon Musk’s ability to keep upping the ante, which could escalate to a Doge-funded space station at the rate he’s going. WallStreetBets doesn’t even want people talking about it because the market is “small accounts and pump & dumps.”

Let’s get a second opinion. Adam Zadikoff, COO of the crypto wallet BRD, told CNBC the following:

My guess is that [the rally] won’t last, especially for something like dogecoin which was never meant to be a payment system or a store of value. Yes, you can make a quick buck if you time it right, but timing the market is a terrible thing to try to do. It does not work.

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Consider investing in Pokemon cards.

World’s Largest Crypto Trading Platform Under Investigation by DOJ and IRS: Report

Illustration for article titled World's Largest Crypto Trading Platform Under Investigation by DOJ and IRS: Report

Photo: Martin Bureau (Getty Images)

Binance, the world’s largest platform for buying and selling cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service, according to a new report from Bloomberg News.

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The U.S. government is reportedly interested in the ways that crypto is being used for money laundering and other illicit activities, but Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao suggested Bloomberg has the story all wrong in a tweet early Friday.

Without directly acknowledging the story, Zhao tweeted that Binance had “collaborated with law enforcement agencies to fight bad players,” but hinted the story had, “somehow made it look like a bad thing.”

It’s not clear if any work that Zhao suggests he’s doing with U.S. law enforcement agencies would necessarily mean Binance couldn’t be under investigation. To put it another way, it’s entirely possible that Binance could be working with American cops while still under investigation by the IRS and DOJ.

Binance is officially banned in the U.S. because it sells securities that aren’t registered with U.S. regulators and the company insists that it tries to block Americans from using the platform. But the only hindrance to Americans getting an account, as crypto news site the Block has pointed out in the past, is clicking a button to say you’re not an American. It’s a bit like a porn site that makes users click a button swearing they’re 18+.

Binance was founded in China but moved operations out of the country in 2017 after the CCP banned many facets of cryptocurrency trading. Binance reportedly has an office in Singapore, according to Bloomberg, but is now incorporated in the Cayman Islands, a British-controlled territory where many companies set up businesses, if only on paper, to avoid paying taxes.

“We take our legal obligations very seriously and engage with regulators and law enforcement in a collaborative fashion,” Binance said in a prepared statement online.

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“We have worked hard to build a robust compliance program that incorporates anti-money laundering principles and tools used by financial institutions to detect and address suspicious activity,” Binance continued. “We have a strong track record of assisting law enforcement agencies around the world, including in the United States.”

Dogecoin Prices Spike Again Because This Man Just Will Not Stop Tweeting

Illustration for article titled Dogecoin Prices Spike Again Because This Man Just Will Not Stop Tweeting

Photo: Britta Pedersen-Pool (Getty Images)

I’m starting to get whiplash from this roller coaster ride that is Dogecoin’s value in recent days. It surged amid hype for Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Saturday Night Live debut last weekend but plummeted after he called the meme-inspired cryptocurrency a “hustle,” only to ricochet again days later when SpaceX committed to accept a company’s payment in Dogecoin and Tesla suspended purchases using Bitcoin, citing environmental concerns, not long after.

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Well, strap in folks, because the Dogefather sent its price soaring yet again Thursday evening with the following tweet:

“Working with Doge devs to improve system transaction efficiency. Potentially promising.”

Now, Musk is a known internet troll with a history of using Twitter to throw the stock market into a tailspin for the sake of a punchline, so it’s anyone’s guess whether he’s being serious. About an hour later, he posted another tweet sharing a bit of age-old wisdom from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with his millions of followers: Don’t panic! This seems to suggest it might just be a prank, but honestly, who fucking knows. (We’ve reached out to Tesla for clarification, but admittedly the company’s been pretty quiet since dissolving its PR department last October).

Joke or not, though, the effect it’s had on the price of Dogecoin is very much real. Dogecoin’s value jumped by as much as 18% following Musk’s tweet, according to Coinbase, and TradingView reports that its market cap spiked by $10 billion. The buzz has since tapered off a bit, but Dogecoin’s value is still coasting about 11% higher compared to this time yesterday.

On Wednesday, Musk announced (also via tweet) that Tesla would no longer be accepting vehicle payments in Bitcoin, supposedly out of concern over the “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions.” In the meantime, he said, Tesla will continue to look for more energy-efficient cryptocurrencies. And while that’s a commendable goal, the fact that Musk is only just now acknowledging how insane crypto mining’s carbon footprint is makes Tesla’s newfound concern feel like a PR move more than anything else.

On Monday SpaceX agreed to accept a payment solely comprised of Dogecoin from the Canada-based Geometric Energy Corporation to secure its spot for an 88-pound satellite aboard a space mission scheduled for 2022. The announcement had Dogecoin prices rebounding a bit after they tanked by about a third following Musk’s SNL appearance. Prices have been extremely volatile (even for a cryptocurrency) in the days since. But whether Musk’s tweets are serious or not, their command over stock prices is undeniable, so I suppose the Dogefather is getting the last laugh either way.

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Tesla Says It Will No Longer Accept Bitcoin for Car Payments, Citing Fossil Fuel Concerns

Illustration for article titled Tesla Says It Will No Longer Accept Bitcoin for Car Payments, Citing Fossil Fuel Concerns

Photo: Dan Kitwood / Staff (Getty Images)

Tesla has “suspended vehicle purchases using bitcoin,” CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday night, allegedly out of concern over the “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining.”

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In the statement, which quickly went viral, Musk said that while cryptocurrency is a “good idea on many levels,” the resource-intensive nature of Bitcoin mining — which frequently relies on dirty power sources like coal — has caused the company to hit pause on its role in future transactions.

“Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy,” Musk wrote. “We are also looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin’s energy/transaction.”

The stress that Bitcoin mining has put on the planet has become undeniable in recent years as the amount of energy required to mine the cryptocurrency has soared. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, the currency’s energy use recently surpassed the annual footprint of Argentina. Around the world, countries are beginning to take note: In March, China’s Inner Mongolia province unveiled plans to halt all new bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining ventures in order to reduce electricity consumption for its already beleaguered grid.

But long after the devastating environmental implications associated with Bitcoin became apparent, tech honchos like Musk and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey continued to praise it as an environmentally friendly boon to the future of renewable energy. On April 21 — just one day shy of Earth Day — Dorsey’s company, Square, released a white paper in conjunction with CEO Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest that made a convoluted argument for an ecosystem in which “solar/wind, batteries, and bitcoin mining co-exist to form a green grid that runs almost exclusively on renewable energy.” Dorsey retweeted the claims, and Musk simply replied, “True.”

So it’s odd, to say the least, that less than a month after touting Bitcoin’s green bonafides, Musk would be realigning his company’s balance sheets in the name of saving the environment from dirty, fossil fuel-boosting crypto. It’s certainly something that he himself has a vested interest in: In a February SEC filing, it was revealed that Tesla had bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin, and was mulling plans to invest in more crypto coins down the line.

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The prominent vote of confidence from Tesla sent share prices for the most popular cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Musk’s personal favorite, Dogecoin, skyrocketing at the time of the announcement. Then last week, after a cringeworthy Saturday Night Live appearance where Musk referred to Dogecoin as a “hustle,” prices abruptly dipped again, to the tune of about a third.

Whatever Musk’s intentions are, it’s at least abundantly clear by now that the system is rigged so that when he says jump, the stock prices jump — or vice-versa. Seems like my guy is anti–Italian American Wario-laughing all the way to the bank.

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Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Goat Named Bitcoin but Will Zuck Kill and Eat His Crypto Creature?

Illustration for article titled Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Goat Named Bitcoin but Will Zuck Kill and Eat His Crypto Creature?

Image: AP/Lucasfilm Ltd/AP

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a photo of his two goats on Monday, and the crypto world got pretty excited after hearing the names of Zuck’s four-legged friends: Max and Bitcoin. But are Max and Bitcoin pets or something a bit darker?

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Obviously, cryptocurrency enthusiasts are trying to decipher whether Zuck’s announcement means the Silicon Valley billionaire is betting big on bitcoin, a move that might surprise bitcoin backers since Facebook wants to launch its own currency soon. Facebook’s long-stalled Diem digital durrency, formerly known as Libra and derisively called Zuck Bucks, could be trialed by the end of the year.

But we at Gizmodo have a more pertinent question than anything involving Zuck’s thoughts on the future of Monopoly money. We just want to know whether Zuckerberg will kill and eat Bitcoin.

It’s not a ridiculous question if you remember a story from just a couple of years ago about what Zuck has done with his goats in the past.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed to Rolling Stone magazine back in January 2019 that Zuckerberg once killed a goat and served it during a dinner Dorsey attended. The incident happened back in 2011, when Zuckerberg had made a personal pledge to only eat animals he had personally killed.

From Rolling Stone in 2019:

[Rolling Stone]: What was your most memorable encounter with Zuckerberg?
[Jack Dorsey]: Well, there was a year when he was only eating what he was killing. He made goat for me for dinner. He killed the goat.

In front of you?
No. He killed it before. I guess he kills it. He kills it with a laser gun and then the knife. Then they send it to the butcher.

A . . . laser gun?
I don’t know. A stun gun. They stun it, and then he knifed it. Then they send it to a butcher. Evidently in Palo Alto there’s a rule or regulation that you can have six livestock on any lot of land, so he had six goats at the time. I go, “We’re eating the goat you killed?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Have you eaten goat before?” He’s like, “Yeah, I love it.” I’m like, “What else are we having?” “Salad.” I said, “Where is the goat?” “It’s in the oven.” Then we waited for about 30 minutes. He’s like, “I think it’s done now.” We go in the dining room. He puts the goat down. It was cold. That was memorable. I don’t know if it went back in the oven. I just ate my salad.

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Dorsey’s explanation caused plenty of confusion over what kind of “laser gun” Zuck might have on his premises. And we never really got a satisfactory answer about whether the wealthy have special goat-killing guns that the rest of humanity has yet to learn about. But that’s not important right now.

The important question is whether Bitcoin’s days are numbered. Bitcoin the goat, not bitcoin the cryptocurrency. Well, either one at this point, given bitcoin the cryptocurrency’s trajectory.

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Do you have inside knowledge of Bitcoin the goat and whether he’s a pet or will soon wind up as food? Drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.

Dogecoin Is Literally Going to the Moon

Illustration for article titled Dogecoin Is Literally Going to the Moon

Photo: Joe Raedle / Staff (Getty Images)

Elon Musk may have sent Dogecoin’s stock plummeting after he bombed on Saturday Night Live on May 8, but that doesn’t mean the Tesla and SpaceX CEO isn’t doing his part to boost the volatile cryptocurrency.

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On Monday, CNN reported that SpaceX had committed to accepting a payment solely comprised of Dogecoin from the Canada-based Geometric Energy Corporation in order to confirm that company’s spot for an 88-pound satellite aboard an upcoming space mission.

“This is not a joke,” Geometric Energy Corporation CEO Samuel Reid told CNN of the planned payment, without getting into specifics about how or why the deal had come to pass.

The mission in question — fittingly called Doge-1 — is scheduled to take off in early 2022. According to Geometric Energy Corporation’s vice president of commercial sales, Tom Ochinero, the transaction is intended to “demonstrate the application of cryptocurrency beyond Earth’s orbit and set the foundation for interplanetary commerce.”

“Indeed, through this very transaction, DOGE has proven to be a fast, reliable, and cryptographically secure digital currency that operates when traditional banks cannot and is sophisticated enough to finance a commercial Moon mission in full,” Ochinero said in a statement. “It has been chosen as the unit of account for all lunar business between SpaceX and Geometric Energy Corporation and sets precedent for future missions to the Moon and Mars.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a mass sell-off of the cryptocurrency that saw shares of the coin drop by more than 40% after Musk referred to it as “a hustle” during his dismal Saturday Night Live performance. But rather than reflecting a genuine anxiety among investors, the sudden dip in share prices was more likely triggered by trigger-fingered investors hoping to use Musk’s much-hyped SNL appearance to make a quick buck off of what is already known to be an extremely mercurial crypto.

In the days leading up to Musk’s hosting duties, shares of Dogecoin had traded so furiously on the popular brokerage app Robinhood that the company issued a statement on Sunday morning to say that it was working to resolve processing issues of the cryptocurrency.

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This Is the Elon Musk Dogecoin Moment the Fanboys Were Waiting For

One of the most anticipated and hyped moments of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend was the possible, and highly probable, mention of Dogecoin, the meme cryptocurrency the tech billionaire has helped inflate to record highs. Never one to disappoint his adoring fanboys, Musk gave them what they wanted.

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Musk, who hosted the internationally broadcast show on Saturday, talked about Dogecoin in a “Weekend Update” sketch in which he played financial expert Lloyd Ostertag. Almost immediately, Musk also introduced himself as the “Dogefather,” a reference to one of his recent tweets, which itself is a riff on The Godfather. The self-proclaimed Dogefather then proceeds to describe how cryptocurrencies work and states that, lately, prices for cryptocurrencies, especially Dogecoin, have been soaring.

Weekend Update co-anchor Michael Che then presses Musk to explain what Dogecoin is, a question many of us have asked ourselves in recent months. The tech billionaire states that Dogecoin started out as a joke based on an internet meme, but it’s taken off in a real way. Not satisfied, Che, along with co-anchor Colin Jost, asks again for Musk to explain what Dogecoin is. And repeats the question again. And again.

After a bit of back and forth, Musk finally appears to break down Dogecoin in a way the anchors on the Weekend Update can understand.

“I keep telling you, it’s a cryptocurrency you can trade for conventional money,” Musk said.

“Oh, so it’s a hustle,” Che said.

“Yeah, it’s a hustle,” Musk admitted.

Although it was a comedy sketch, Musk finally seemed to recognize what (real) financial experts have said about Dogecoin all along. (This week, Musk himself said that cryptocurrency is promising but also warned his followers to invest with caution). Ironically, but not unsurprisingly considering that cryptocurrencies are volatile, Dogecoin was down 40% early Sunday, or as low as 44 cents according to CNN, after the Dogefather talked about it on SNL.

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Besides mentioning Dogecoin, it was highly likely that Musk would talk about another one of his many obsessions, Mars, especially considering SpaceX’s recent Starship success this past week. On Wednesday, the company successfully landed a prototype of the Starship rocket it will use to take astronauts back to the Moon and one day take humans to Mars. It has been the only prototype that hasn’t exploded.

In this sketch, set in the near future, Musk has apparently already built a colony on the Red Planet. However, it has been hit by a solar storm, which has affected the life support systems, specifically the oxygen supply. Musk oversees a brave but absent-minded colonist named Chad (Pete Davidson) outside of the colony to turn on the backup oxygen circulator.

“Chad, I want to make sure you understand that you won’t survive this mission,” Musk said. “To save your fellow colonists, you have to make the ultimate sacrifice.”

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“Hm, sick,” Davidson said.

The sketch also includes Miley Cyrus, the episode’s musical guest, and is set to dramatic music one would expect in space movies. Chad is ultimately successful in his mission but meets a tragic end.

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“Well, I did say people were going to die,” Musk said, another reference to statements he’s made about going to Mars. “I was never here.”

Hacked Verified Twitter Accounts Are Spamming Musk Fans With Bitcoin Scams Ahead of SNL Debut

Illustration for article titled Hacked Verified Twitter Accounts Are Spamming Musk Fans With Bitcoin Scams Ahead of SNL Debut

Photo: Britta Pedersen (Getty Images)

Several verified Twitter accounts strangely started flooding the replies of Elon Musk and his followers with bitcoin spam on Saturday. The apparent hacks come just hours before the Tesla CEO’s much-discussed hosting gig on Saturday Night Live.

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Fraud tracker Malware Hunter Team shared a series of screenshots of verified Twitter accounts that appeared to be hijacked in an attempt to scam Musk fanboys. These included official accounts for an Argentine politician, a Korean civil rights group, and a Paralympic athlete, among others.

In each case, the account changed its name to “SNL” and switched its profile picture to match that of the official Saturday Night Live account. These altered accounts replied to Musk’s tweets with prompts for users to “join” a virtual event by clicking a link to receive 5,000 bitcoin, worth a little over $295 million at the time.

The link leads to a post on Medium, which you can see a screenshot of below, from a user named Elon Musk that claims to be from Tesla HQ’s marketing department. Beneath a picture of Musk, which advertises a “5000 BTC giveaway,” are links to a “competition” website where users can supposedly earn one of three cryptocurrencies—Bitcoin, Ether, or Dogecoin—for free.

Illustration for article titled Hacked Verified Twitter Accounts Are Spamming Musk Fans With Bitcoin Scams Ahead of SNL Debut

Screenshot: SNLgives.com/Gizmodo

The links were all broken by the time we checked it out, but Business Insider seems to have had better luck. On Saturday, it reported that the “competition” website included a Tesla logo and requests for users to send “from 0.02 to 5 BTC to the address below and get from .20 to 50 BTC back!”

Scammers also replied to the official Twitter accounts of Tesla, SNL, and the show’s musical guest this week, Miley Cyrus, with similar advertisements for this cryptocurrency giveaway scam. Among the list of hacked verified accounts included Argentine politician Jorge Taiana, The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission of Korea (ACRC), jewelry and watchmaker Mouawad, professional wheelchair racer and Paralympic medalist Shelly Woods, and the nonprofit organization Hockey Saves.

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When reached for comment on Saturday, a Twitter spokesperson said the company is looking into the matter. We’ve also reached out to Malware Hunter Team and Tesla, though it should be noted that the latter hasn’t said much to the press since it dissolved its PR department last October. Still, we’ll update this blog if we hear back.

By Saturday afternoon, many of the hijacked accounts appeared to be back to normal, though some were slower than others to change their profiles back and scrub their post history. As of Saturday afternoon, Woods’ profile picture is still the SNL logo, and the ACRC’s reply history shows several bitcoin spam posts. We’ve screenshotted one below, which includes a claim that users can earn 100 million Dogecoin by clicking the link.

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Illustration for article titled Hacked Verified Twitter Accounts Are Spamming Musk Fans With Bitcoin Scams Ahead of SNL Debut

Screenshot: Twitter/Gizmodo

Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency token that started out as a meme and has since become incredibly popular. Its value has shot up nearly 25,000% in the last six months according to CNBC, no doubt fueled in part by the WallStreetBets drama and its Reddit-led investment spree. Musk, being the internet troll that he is, has tweeted several shout-outs to Dogecoin in recent weeks, generating even more hype and sending its value soaring.

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However, even as these hijacked accounts return to normal, more continue to pop up by the hour, according to Malware Hunter Team. Whoever these hackers are, they seem determined to milk the hype around Musk’s SNL debut for as long as they can.

Musk will host SNL tonight at 11:30 p.m. ET. You can watch it on NBC’s website if you have a cable login. For those of us who cut the cord, NBC is livestreaming the show internationally via YouTube here.

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Elon Musk Backpedals on the Doge Hype 48 Hours Before SNL Appearance

Illustration for article titled Elon Musk Backpedals on the Doge Hype 48 Hours Before SNL Appearance

Photo: Britta Pedersen (Getty Images)

Elon Musk, richer than God and therefore a trusted source of investment advice for mortals, has pivoted now to offer some sober advice about the dangers of meme currencies. He provides previously unshared information: Doge’s only tangible value is hype, and HODLers may reach price discovery and then realize they’ve gambled on the sustainability of a meme and sell sell sell! Oh. Anyway, that’s a little plausible deniability for when he shows up in a Shiba Inu suit on Saturday Night Live tomorrow, which means buy buy buy!

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Last month, the lil scoundrel tweeted:

The Dogefather

SNL May 8

Last night, Musk sounded a bit more concerned that he needs to hedge on record, tweeting: “Cryptocurrency is promising, but please invest with caution!” (In the days following tweet one, Doge rose 94%.)

But, in typical Musk fashion, he’s linked a TMZ video of a warning, wink wink. (embedded below) Is it a warning? It is. Or is it? Here’s a rough play-by-play:

He starts in the danger zone:

TMZ: “Elon, do you think Dogecoin could be the next currency for the world?”

Musk: “Well there’s currently a pull to say what do you want?”

TMZ: “I want it to go, I’m in, I’m in.”

Musk: “Okay, so then, I think it should be the will of the people, ya know?”

Cogs turn:

TMZ: “Well, is there a problem because there’s a…because it’s not like Bitcoin with a limited number of coins, and it can just expand infinitely, do you think that brings away the value of the coin?

Musk: “Uhhh…yes, it does” [laughs]. “People should not invest their life savings in cryptocurrency, to be clear. I think that’s unwise.”

Somewhere, a lawyer’s heart flatlines:

Musk: “But if you want to sort of, you know, speculate, and kinda like, I dunno, maybe have some fun? There’s a good chance that crypto is the future currency of Earth. And then it’s like, well which one is it gonna be? And maybe it’ll be multiple.”

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Capitulating…:  

Musk: “But it should be considered speculation at this point. Don’t go too far on the crypto speculation part.”

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🚨🚨 WRAP IT UP 🚨🚨:

Musk: “The point is that Dogecoin was invented as a joke, essentially to make fun of cryptocurrency. And that’s why—I think there’s like an argument, like fate loves irony. The most entertaining outcome is—what would be the most ironic outcome? That the currency invented as a joke in fact becomes the real currency.” [Shrugs]

TMZ: “Absolutely, to the moon!”

Musk: “To the moon!”

Voice behind the camera yelling: “My Dogecoin went up because you tweeted! You’re amazing!”

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Musk slides into a jet-black Tesla.

Ass covered:

Man in crowd: “What do you think Elon, one more tweet?”

Musk: “Uh—well, like I said, don’t take too much risk on crypto!”

What a rollercoaster. Doge rose by about 10% in the dawn hours.

Today, Bloomberg reported on cryptocurrency analysts who are tiring of this dance, which they perceive as trivializing blockchain technology and providing unsophisticated investors an outlet for risk. Especially if, as BKCoin Capital founding principal Kevin Kang suggested, large investors dump right before the SNL appearance.

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SNL cast members also expressed thinly veiled distaste about joking around with an obscenely wealthy shit-stirrer who illegally tweeted anti-union messaging, based on the NLRB’s finding that Musk’s tweet threatened employees, and whose company illegally fired an organizer for attempting to unionize after continuous reports of dangerous working conditions at his factories. SNL’s cast members have all opted to perform with him.

Will he exercise his right to remain silent? 53 million followers await.