There are few people in the crypto industry who have the influence and knowledge that Nick Szabo possesses. As such, there are numerous nefarious individuals who seek to profit off of Szabo's genius and his propensity for long breaks off the internet. Since Ethereum is an open platform where anyone can code a smart contract, rug pulls will unfortunately happen.
One such unknown individual recently launched an Ethereum token scam which uses deepfakes to claim Szabo is backing the project, among other methods of trickery.
The token in question has the ticker symbol $Szabo, an ERC-20 token with the supposed purpose of raising money through a charity for Nick Szabo. This is, of course, false, since Nick Szabo no longer endorses Ethereum, and is far too intelligent to be a part of this sad scam. Naturally, any money used to buy these worthless tokens will go directly into the pockets of the scammer(s).
It is unclear whether Mr. Szabo is aware of the scam, since he has been on a hiatus from major Internet platforms and the scam is on a fairly small scale. By portraying that Nick Szabo is endorsing the token, people will no doubt take notice or worse, buy the token on some shady exchange, which is the scammer's ultimate goal.
This article will shine light on this pathetic scam and will serve as an example of how to do your own research regarding investments that are too good to be true.
After conducting meticulous research on the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, I came to the conclusion in an article that it is Nick Szabo. Many people across the world have accepted this increasingly likely scenario (Elon Musk for example), and sadly, people will use this notion for harm.
This strategy is at the core of the Szabo ERC-20 token scam. A Twitter meme contest ran by the scammer yielded the above memes posted by a likely alt account or friend, claiming that Nick Szabo is Satoshi. It won first place in the contest, to no surprise.
Social media to advance the scam
The scammer(s) running this particular operation appear to be no different to others. They correctly realized that people in this era are heavily influenced by social media, sometimes even taking the words of random individuals as gospel. Three methods of outreach were chosen for this scam, and the first is a website displaying social media links with an old quote from Nick Szabo endorsing Ethereum.
It is likely that the website will be deleted once more people catch on. This square is the only information provided on the entire website; not a sign you want to see when you're putting hard-earned money into an investment.
As you can see, Nick Szabo drastically changed his stance on Ethereum by 2017, showing the untruthful nature of the above website. This is just one of many lies that the scammer uses to manipulate people.
Next, there is a Twitter account for the scam. This is where the scam flourishes through fake engagement provided by deepfakes of Nick's voice (such as the pinned tweet) and malicious bots. Whoever is behind the scam thought it would be logical to invite people to create memes about the project to increase engagement, as previously described. This is, of course, a front to keep the scam going.
The Telegram account is where the real action happens. As shown above, the scammer convinces people to spread the world so that they can get a return on their investment. Of course, this would function like a Ponzi scheme, since early investors would receive potential returns on their money, while newer ones would get burned. And, crucially, this whole scam obviously isn't functioning as a charity if all the money goes to the scammer and early investors. In addition, he has no qualms about pathetically stating that he's trying to use Szabo's influence to build the scam.
The Szabo token is a prime example of scams that can be coded in a few hours by any decent developer. Smart contracts bring many great opportunities to the world thanks to Nick Szabo, but they can also be used for harm, unfortunately. That is why it is important to use common sense, and if you have programming knowledge, evaluate the contract's code for nefarious motives.
Nick Szabo is one of the greatest computer scientists in the world. It is vital to report on scams surrounding his good name so that people don't mistake himself for vile scammers. The token scam described here won't fool experienced individuals, but many new investors could get caught up. It is important to share the word about scams like these and protect others so that they are prevented in the first place.