Russian cryptocurrency exchange YObit.net has hit a new low by announcing live on Twitter it will ‘pump’ ten random coins in what amounts to obvious market manipulation.
The announcement was confirmed in an email to users even as readers claimed it couldn’t be real.
YObit also promoted a ‘pump timer’ page on its site with a countdown clock set for 2pm GMT on Thursday October 11th.
YoBit Pump in 22 hrs: https://t.co/RIbW7OhKzM
We will buy one random coin for 1 btc every 1-2 mins 10 times (total buy amount – 10 btc).
— Yobit.Net (@YobitExchange) October 10, 2018
Twitter users were floored by the audacity of the announcement, asking whether the company’s account had been hacked.
Elsewhere the plan sparked hilarity.
You can’t be serious. WTF kind of exchange does this, and publicly admits it. People…do not trade here. They will steal your money. pic.twitter.com/ipqeOdYSyd
— CryptoCapitalist (@DenverDan3) October 10, 2018
One user noted that the ‘pump’ plan would obviously draw the attention of the US authorities.
— Chris Koerner (@noBScrypto) October 10, 2018
The exchange has already been condemned across BitcoinTalk and social media as a scam by users who say they cannot withdraw their balances.
According to reviews of the site on CryptoCompare.com, YObit is under investigation by the Russian telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor for alleged fraud.
Exactly who is behind YObit remains a mystery.
According to a WHOIS lookup, the domain was registered privately on August 25th, 2014 before the site went live in January 2015. The site contains no company information and there is no mention of the team behind YObit.
Obvious market manipulation schemes like pump and dumps and money-laundering techniques like wash trading and spoofing are a hot topic for regulators.
While the law is still being worked out, federal judges in the US ruled last month that cryptocurrencies could be considered commodities and should be policed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
In a case considered to be the first of its kind, judges also ruled in September that the SEC could prosecute the alleged fraud around Diamond, a company that claimed to be selling cryptocurrency backed by real-world assets in the form of the precious gems.