Bitcoin is often mocked by the wider cryptocurrency sector for its older technology compared to some of its newer peers and now Elon Musk, a serial entrepreneur who’s no stranger to controversy, has lampooned the Bitcoin scams that plague Twitter and other social networks.
Musk, the founder of electric car company Tesla and aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, is no stranger to online and digital payments — Musk was instrumental in Paypal’s success back in the year 2000 and his views on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have been closely watched.
Musk last night tweeted a tongue-in-cheek reply to a question on Tesla account two-factor authentication, suggesting he takes the issue of security and scams seriously but giving no details of how he might handle Tesla account security.
For months Twitter has failed to get a handle on rogue accounts pretending to be celebrities or well-known personalities giving away Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in return for a small donation. Those that have been impersonated include U.S. president Donald Trump and singer Katy Perry — both of whom have millions of followers on the platform.
The reply to the Tesla related question resulted in Twitter locking Musk’s account because the social network
“thought [he] had been hacked,” though it was swiftly reactivated.
The image accompanying the tweet was created by the website Cryptocurrency Girls, which has turned some of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies into anime characters.
The founder of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, Zhao Changpeng, quoted Musk’s tweet and added:
“Lol, it’s spreading. I will buy a Tesla if you accept crypto…”
Two-factor authentication, something that Twitter users can implement to protect their accounts from hackers, is often used by Bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges to help protect their customer’s digital tokens. This hasn’t stopped a huge amount of cryptocurrency being stolen or lost by exchanges in recent years, however, suggesting that Musk might think more than two-factor authentication needs to be done to protect Telsa accounts.
The issue of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency scams has led the Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin to change his Twitter handle to “Vitalik Non-giver of Ether” to try to stop people from being duped into giving away their digital tokens by impersonators. Ether is the tradable token of the Ethereum network.
Musk’s tweet may have been an indirect response to various news sites last week reporting that Musk’s tunnel construction Boring Company was accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for its famous flamethrowers — something that turned out to be false.
It’s not the first time Musk has joked about the cryptocurrency scammers that follow him on Twitter. Last month, in an apparent compliment to Ethereum, Musk tweeted that he
“wanted [ether] even if it is a scam.”
Musk has also previously tried to solve problem, contacting the creator of dogecoin Jackson Palmer.
“[I]f you can help get rid of the annoying scam spammers, that would be much appreciated,” Musk told Palmer. In response, Palmer was able to create a script to block ETH giveaway scammers.
Musk’s candid Twitter feed has gotten him into trouble, however. In August Musk sent a now-infamous tweet saying that he had
“funding secured” for a Tesla buyout at $420 a share — far above Tesla’s share price at the time.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission then moved to fine and ban Musk from serving as Tesla’s chairman in response to the tweet.