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Charting the landscape of online cryptocurrency manipulation

Cryptocurrencies represent one of the most attractive markets for financial speculation. As a consequence, they have attracted unprecedented attention on social media. Besides genuine discussions and legitimate investment initiatives, several deceptive activities have flourished. In this work, we chart the online cryptocurrency landscape across multiple platforms. To reach our goal, we collected a large dataset, composed of more than 50M messages published by almost 7M users on Twitter, Telegram and Discord, over three months. We performed bot detection on Twitter accounts sharing invite links to Telegram and Discord channels, and we discovered that more than 56% of them were bots or suspended accounts. Then, we applied topic modeling techniques to Telegram and Discord messages, unveiling two different deception schemes – "pump-and-dump" and "Ponzi" – and identifying the channels involved in these frauds. Whereas on Discord we found a negligible level of deception, on Telegram we retrieved 296 channels involved in pump-and-dump and 432 involved in Ponzi schemes, accounting for a striking 20% of the total. Moreover, we observed that 93% of the invite links shared by Twitter bots point to Telegram pump-and-dump channels, shedding light on a little-known social bot activity. Charting the landscape of online cryptocurrency manipulation can inform actionable policies to fight such abuse.

IEEE Access, 2020

External authors: Marco Avvenuti (University of Pisa), Emilio Ferrara (University of Southern California)
IIT authors:

Serena Tardelli

Foto di Serena Tardelli

Type: Contributo in rivista non ISI
Field of reference: Computer Science & Engineering

File: Nizzoli, 2020, Charting the Landscape of Online Cryptocurrency Manipulation.pdf

Activity: Social Media Analysis