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Crypto Groups on Russian Social Media Hit by Bots Discrediting Bitcoin

Crypto Groups on Russian Social Media Hit by Bots Discrediting Bitcoin

Social media groups devoted to cryptocurrencies in Russia have been attacked by bots in what looks like a campaign against bitcoin and the like. Their comments on Russia’s largest social media platform are triggered by certain keywords like crypto and blockchain, members of the community have noticed.

Bots Flood Vkontakte Groups With Comments Against Cryptocurrency

In the past week or so, crypto-themed groups on Russia’s state-controlled social network Vkontakte (VK) have been seeing a growing number of comments seeking to discredit cryptocurrencies and related technologies, the crypto news outlets Bits.media and RBC Crypto reported.

The comments appear under posts and linked articles about crypto assets. They are all similar, for example: “It’s more expensive to delve into crypto, it’s always big risks,” “Someone still talks about bitcoins?” or “People who buzz about crypto don’t even understand it.”

According to Nikita Zuborev, senior analyst at the exchange aggregator Bestchange.ru, these bots first appeared in his platform’s community and official page on Vkontakte on Feb. 13. The accounts are typical for such attacks and are only recently registered or stolen dormant accounts.

Bots are often used to spread spam and advertisements or attract users to fraudulent schemes but this is not the case this time. The messages lack external links and their content is limited to abstract criticism of cryptocurrencies and activities like trading.

Vkontakte’s press service told RBC that the company “does not register an increase in the number of bots on the platform” and assured that its moderators “promptly respond to complaints” about bots that post the same information en masse.

Zuborev also commented that it is still difficult to establish what exactly the bots are reacting to. According to his observations, they ignore posts containing images but are activated by those containing words like “Binance,” “bitcoin,” or “blockchain.” Attacks have intensified this week, the analyst noted.

Crypto Channels on Telegram Not Affected by Bot Attacks

It’s hard to understand the meaning and the effectiveness of such campaigning against cryptocurrencies, remarked the CEO of defi banking platform Indefibank, Sergey Mendeleev, as most of the Russian-speaking crypto community does not use this social platform, “for obvious reasons.”

Mendeleev believes that someone ordered the attacks so that they can later refer to “the large volume of negative comments on the most popular social network.” The expert pointed out that no such attacks have been seen in crypto channels on Telegram.

Vkontakte was founded in 2006 by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov who later launched the Telegram messenger. In April 2014, Durov was dismissed as CEO of VK. He suggested that the move was due to his refusal to hand over personal user details to Russian law enforcement agencies, including those of members of a group dedicated to the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, and left Russia.

In September of that year, the Mail.ru group became the sole proprietor of the company. In December, 2021, the Russian state-owned bank Gazprombank and insurance company Sogaz bought out 57.3% of the VK shares, becoming the holders of its controlling interest. Vkontakte recently launched an NFT service.

Who do you think is behind the attacks on crypto groups on Vkontakte? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

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