Doxxing And How It Can Help Stamp Out Scammers

Pseudonymous avatars are pretty common in the crypto and NFT community. For instance, Bitcoin was founded by Satoshi Nakamoto, a person or group of individuals we know very little about. The same goes for the founder of Shiba Inu, Ryoshi, whose real identity remains unknown.

Similarly, several individuals in the NFT and crypto space choose to hide their identity, communicating through aliases and avatars. For some, it’s a safety measure against hackers. For others, it’s merely part of the crypto culture, where Web3 and the metaverse are all about avatars and new identities.

However, bad actors have started to use this to their advantage. Hiding behind a valley of anonymity, they can orchestrate a host of illicit activities, including crypto scams and NFT rug pulls. These fake identities make it hard for investors to ascertain the credibility of a project and harder for authorities to clamp down on these individuals. This is where doxxing comes in.

What is doxxing?

If you use an online avatar and someone reveals your real identity, you’ve been doxxed. From the surface, this may seem like a very mean thing to do, and it is. Doxxing is even considered a form of cyberbullying, a practice that is frowned upon in internet culture.

Doxxing is internet slang for ‘dropping documents.’ It’s an early hacking term that dates back to Web 1.0 was when cybercriminals would store the victim’s information in a word document. This information would include personal details such as addresses, national identity numbers, telephone numbers, etc. Over the years, word files were abbreviated to .docx, leading to the term doxxing.

The term was popularized by the iconic hacker group Anonymous, an outfit known for its anti-cyber-censorship agenda. In its days, the group doxxed several personalities and launched coordinated efforts against political figures, religious groups, and foreign governments.

What does doxxing have to do with cryptos and NFTs?

Even when investing in well-known companies, most of us will look at the founding members and their history before putting down any monies. However, this is impossible when the founders of NFT and crypto projects use aliases to launch coins and collections. Not to mention, instances of malicious entities hiding behind the veil of aliases are also rising.

Due to these reasons, doxxing has become commonplace in the cryptosphere. From cyberbullying, it has evolved into a means to establish credibility or crackdown on criminals. While some people choose to come forward and reveal their identities, others are involuntarily doxxed, which is cause for concern.

For example, Yuga Lab co-founders were recently doxxed by a BuzzFeed reporter. Their pseudonymous aliases, Gordon Goner and Gargamel, were identified as Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano. It’s surprising because these individuals were not caught up in any wrongdoing, and there was no reason to reveal their identities.

Some believe that revealing the identity of key figures in the industry would build trust in a highly volatile asset class. However, others worry that it might compromise the security of crypto founders, making them vulnerable to hacks.

And it’s not just crypto founders; there have also been reports of people with malicious intents using physical violence to get crypto owners to give up the private keys of their wallets. Some people go as far as to torture the crypto owners’ families.

However, as the number of scams and rug pull events rise, the community is voicing the need for doxxing. This is where good doxxers come into the picture. People and agencies such as ZachXBT and CipherBlade are independent investigators that uncover high-profile scams in the crypto and Web 3 world. They usually dox individuals who are part of any potential crime, thereby keeping the community informed about their activities.

Conclusion

While unnecessarily doxxing someone is in the NFT space is definitely a taboo, pseudonyms create an opportunity for scammers to operate under fake profiles. Therefore, it is the responsibility of ethical hackers and journalists to practice due diligence when doxxing individuals.

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