Don't let your BTC get stolen! How to prevent bitcoin scams in Decentralize 2021

Key facts


  • To avoid Ponzi schemes it is necessary to “return to the principles of Bitcoin and blockchain”.

  • Daiana Gómez asks to be cautious with altcoins, as many of them do not provide any value.

Scams with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a frequently reported topic by CryptoNews. As part of the DescentralizAR conference, panelist Daiana Gómez Banegas, who belongs to the NGO Bitcoin Argentina, gave some guidelines to prevent this type of fraud.

“How to avoid falling into scams with pseudo-cryptocurrencies” was the title of Gómez Banegas’ talk. Throughout his presentation he exposed four types of scams with cryptoassets: impersonation; scams at the time of the transaction; pyramid systems; and the coins known as “shitcoins”


“With the pandemic, we all turned to the digital world in a massive way that had never happened before,” said the speaker as an introduction to her presentation. She added that, as a consequence, millions of people’s data were dumped into cyberspace and some criminals knew how to exploit existing vulnerabilities.

Don't let your BTC get stolen! How to prevent bitcoin scams in Decentralize 2021 Daiana Gómez (left) warned about dangers in the cryptocurrency ecosystem at the event “DescentralizAR”, organized by the NGO Bitcoin Argentina, chaired by Rofolfo Andragnes (right). Source:

Impersonation in bitcoin transactions

Many criminals -because it is the definition that fits to those who make these data-, violate phone lines or emulate personal Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp accounts of users referents of the community,” says Gómez Banegas. She explains that, then, with these fake accounts, they interact with other users who genuinely want to buy or sell cryptocurrencies


Generally, she explains, the criminals say they have an urgency to complete the transaction. “I’m proposing this trade because I need cash now,” they often say. Or they say, “I’m proposing this trade with a spread.

em> much lower, at a much more convenient price than the market price that you can find elsewhere”.

Gómez Banegas recommends taking precautions to check the identity of the counterparty. For example, request a phone call or video call to verify that it is indeed who they say they are.

Scams at the time of the p2p transaction

Next, the speaker mentioned the possible scams that can occur at the time of making a cash transaction in p2p mode (person to person, without intermediaries)


As a recommendation, Gómez Banegas asks to go to the meeting point with a good wallet already installed (the NGO Bitcoin Argentina recommends Muun

) and not to allow the broker to manipulate the client’s cell phone.

“Some wallets have a password recovery mode through a QR code,” he explains. He adds that the broker could use that to get hold of the user’s private keys and steal the funds in his wallet.

This media reported a recent case of alleged scam in Argentina

in which, apparently, that would have been the method used, according to the account provided by the person who identifies himself as a victim.

The recommendation is to go with the wallet programmed, with the backups properly done and share the address to the broker through a message, privately. There is no need to show your cell phone and show the information that is there.

Daiana Gómez Banegas, member of the NGO Bitcoin Argentina.

Pyramid scams with cryptocurrencies

If someone promises me money, if someone promises me absolute profits, if someone demands an amount to enter the system, if someone asks me to bring referrals to increase my earnings, I’m probably facing someone who wants to scam me”. Daiana Gomez thus introduces the third type of scam with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are pyramid schemes.

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia

defines these financial schemes, also called Ponzi schemes, as “a form of scam that attracts investors and pays profits to previous investors with funds from newer investors”. It is added on that website that “the scheme leads victims to believe that profits come from legitimate business activities, and they are unaware that other investors are the source of the funds.” Don't let your BTC get stolen! How to prevent bitcoin scams in Decentralize 2021 “Bitcoiners don’t make a penny because one person enters the network.d of Bitcoin,” says Daiana Gómez Benegas. Source:

Gómez Banegas recommends to those interested in this type of business, “go back to the principles of Bitcoin and blockchain”.

Bitcoin does not have an owner, it does not have a company behind it, it does not have a referral system, bitcoiners do not earn a penny because a person enters the Bitcoin network and becomes a user, nor do we lose anything when users decide to make a cash out and get their money in cash. So, if someone is imposing this kind of measures on you, open your eyes and talk to this person. It is very likely that this person is also being a victim of a scam and has no intention of harming you, but is simply immersed in this system.

Daiana Gómez Banegas, member of the NGO Bitcoin Argentina.

Shitcoins: they bring no value

According to the glossary of CryptoNews

“‘shitcoin’ literally translates to ‘shitcoin’. This definition page adds that “it is a derogatory term to refer to an altcoin that does not seem to have much future due to a weak proposal, disorganization or poorly done code”.

Daiana Gómez expressed herself on the subject in her presentation. For the specialist, of the thousands of cryptocurrencies listed on sites like CoinMarketCap or Coingecko, most could be classified as shitcoins.

Don't let your BTC get stolen! How to prevent bitcoin scams in Decentralize 2021 Many cryptoassets lack grounds to justify their existence and their only purpose is speculation on their price. Source: CoinMarketCap

According to the specialist, these new coins, in their white papers (or whitepapers) usually have “a very complicated and difficult to understand technical language”. In addition, “the most dubious projects have no reported work and have very few updates and a tiny work team,” he says.

“It is in the collective imagination that ‘I missed the bitcoin train, it is already very expensive, how come I didn’t buy it when it was at USD 100, or how come I didn’t buy it when it was at USD 3,000’,” says Gómez Banegas. The speaker adds that many developers and promoters of altcoins take advantage of this narrative to sell the idea that a certain currency will be the next bitcoin.

The speaker explains that, in most cases, these new cryptocurrencies do not provide any value and their only use is to speculate on their price: “What is the problem with this incentive for speculation? That this desire to get rich overnight makes me fragile in the face of proposals for immediate wealth”.

For Gómez Banegas,

Get the idea that it’s too late to get into bitcoin out of your mind: “There are two good times to buy BTC: one was in 2009 and the other is now.

It’s still a good time to buy bitcoin. Maybe you’re not going to make the same profit that you would have if you had bought them 5 years ago. But, the reality is that it is still a good time to acquire the asset of the future.

Daiana Gómez Banegas, member of the NGO Bitcoin Argentina.

As a conclusion and summary of her warning about shitcoins, the speaker calls for caution: “we must ask ourselves the same questions we would ask ourselves before any investment in the traditional market and take the same precautions”.