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BeachSwap - A Post Mortem Autopsy of the Ask Me Anything on BCHadokens
On October, 22nd 2021 the BeachSwap scammer did an AMA (ask me anything) in the Telegram group BCHadokens. Two days later the BeachSwap DEX started operations after a presale of the BEACH token that raised about 102 BCH. After the unsold tokens were distributed to the presale buyers, the DEX ran not even one full day until the scammer rug pulled the BEACH liquidity providers and stole their flexUSD and their BCH while leaving them with nothing but worthless BEACH tokens.
In hindsight everyone claims to have seen a lot of red flags. Let's go back to the AMA and try to look for the red flags with the knowledge advantage of hindsight.
As I took the screenshots of the AMA after the rug pull had already happened, the scammer is called "Deleted Account". When the account was still active, the scammer called himself "Elli0t Crypt0" or something similar and he used the handle @mist3rr0b0t.
The scammer claims to be "building one of the best projects to be on BCH". Was he deceiving the audience here? Or was he actually being truthful - which would mean he disregards BCH so strongly that he cynically calls his scam project "one of the best projects to be on BCH"?
The scammer claims to be currently based in Europe - which after having monitored his active hours and his resting hours for several days, I highly doubt. I would guess he is on the opposite side of the globe. And as he seems to be a native English speaker - which I believe because he used "should of" instead of "should have" - a mistake commonly made by native speakers who learn the language by hearing and speaking rather than by studying grammar - I believe he could be from Australia or from New Zealand. However, he could live somewhere else in the Asian Pacific region - or actually sleep or work most of the day and be up all night? I find the latter possibility unlikely.
We can also notice that he seems to have no particular love for capital letters or for punctuation.
Yes, it was the third question, but as the second was called Q.1.1, the numbering makes sense. I'm not sure why the scammer even included that remark. Does he want to be a smart ass? Or does he feel like the people asking the questions have ulterior motives? Maybe he is projecting again.
The rest of the answer sounds a bit like marketing bla bla, but the fact that "providing more ways for people to utilise BCH is pivotal not just for BCH but for crypto" sounds like music to most BCH supporters, could give a hint that he is in fact somewhat familiar with the BCH community. Or it really was just marketing bla bla and he would have written this about any coin.
Solid answers. However, I believe it should have been "the space moves quickly", but in fact I may be wrong here. Maybe this is a clue to whether he is a native speaker or whether he isn't.
Q.3.2 was answered very well, but of course, it was an easy question to answer for anyone with a bit of experience in DeFi.
Answering Q.4 the scammer states that BeachSwap should speak for itself - and I can attest it did. It worked great, looked great, had great features and great incentives. And the dev made a very competent impression. Everything was great - until he scammed everyone who believed he and his DEX were legitimate.
I still believe that if an honest dev deployed a legitimate DEX with the same features and incentives, it would do really, really well. And if the scammer was an honest dev, he would have made a lot of money legitimately just by letting the DEX running. So it seems that a rug pull was an awfully stupid decision which begs the question: Was it actually about the money? Or was the goal to demoralise the BCH community?
He answered the question about having been a part of the BCH community with "no am a loner of some sorts". I don't think that makes sense. I am also not the most sociable person in the world, but I do talk to other people. And since I found BCH, I talk to a lot of people in the BCH community despite being a loner. So being a part of the BCH community and being a loner is not mutually exclusive. The true answer would have been: "No, I haven't been a part of the BCH community and I don't plan to become one."
"Own research and curiosity has brought me here"- I doubt that. With the recent plethora of rug pull tokens and the first rug pull DEX, it seems like SmartBCH was advertised as "easy money for scammers" on some scam forum.
"and it has been great thus far in my little time interacting". "there are some good and interesting people here". "overall much better than other noisy communities. BCH is like a burgeoning suburb in comparison to the more sketchy dangerous communites in crypto" in hindsight that sounds like psychopath code for "easy victims". However, without the benefit of hindsight, I would not have suspected anything negative from this.
What I - as a non-native speaker have noticed is that he uses words like "burgeoning" and "usher" that I actually had to look up - despite being quite proficient in English. I would count that as another hint at him being a native speaker.
Q.5 is actually the key question. I haven't noticed it when I read through the AMA for the first time, but the scammer actually doesn't give a satisfactory answer. He basically says "when you're early, you profit a lot - so I hope some people will take the risk so that I can scam them while promising them future benefits".
I wish the interviewer would have picked up on this non-answer and digged a bit deeper. Unfortunately, he didn't and moved on instead without commenting on the non-answer.
The roadmap will be out after launching?!
With the benefit of hindsight this is a red flag. Obviously the scammer didn't want to put in the effort in to copy and modify a roadmap.
However, giving the dev the benefit of the doubt, it could have been a developer who was working hard to get the DEX to market ASAP.
"there will be more ambitious features and integrations along the way". He makes promises of great news that never came. Unfortunately, once again the interviewer didn't dig deeper.
As I said before, the incentives and features were great - and worked great. I wouldn't have seen any red flags here.
Well, he said he is a loner of some sort. And in hindsight he probably is a psychopath. He probably has no people who are close to him.
I am honestly surprised by the lack of punctuation and capitalization throughout the AMA. I have not noticed that in the BeachSwap Telegram group and neither in the Medium article that the scammer published after the presale. In that article he described in detail how he managed to get the unsold tokens out of the smart contract so that they could be distributed among the presale buyers instead of being burnt. The article was well-written and I didn't notice any such lack of punctuation or capitalization.
Apart from that the scammer always returns to pointing out how lucrative it is supposed to be to buy his BEACH scam token. That is a red flag in hindsight, but I doubt I would have noticed it.
The AMA is now opened up to the audience.
"What's the rush?"
That was the perfect question.
The answer is once again a non-answer: "Not really in a rush, but actually I'm in a rush to get the DEX deployed, because another one could show up any minute".
This makes a lot of sense if - as suspected earlier - SmartBCH has been advertised in some scammer forum and these scammers are now rushing to get their scams to SmartBCH. We may just have seen the tip of the iceberg. And BeachSwap may just have been the first scam DEX - and others may follow. And our @mist3rr0b0t was in a rush to be the first DEX rug pull when everyone in SmartBCH seemed to believe that deploying a DEX on SmartBCH is too much work - especially when there is effectively only one bridge that leads out of SmartBCH. And that bridge goes via Coinflex.
This narrative that a DEX rug pull is impossible while there is only one bridge has been destroyed - and therefore people will probably be more cautious from now on when new DEXs start on SmartBCH.
A long answer that doesn't really say much.
And he makes sure to point out the profitability.
ludex of Simias raised a good point. "Hiding or distancing yourself from past projects is not a good sign."
And he actually doesn't let the scammer get away with not answering this question. At least initially. Then the scammer outright refuses to answer the subsequent question.
That is - in hindsight - a red flag.
And that was already the last question.
The scammer hopes the whole ecosystem does well - when he actually did his best to kill it. And he demoralised a lot of people in the SmartBCH community.
However, without the benefit of hindsight, I would have thought that what the scammer gave was a great answer.
To 1. I don't fully agree with the part that Elli0t Crypt0 didn't dodge any questions for the reasons I pointed out previously. However, another way of seeing it is that the developer refused to answer any questions that could doxx him. In that sense he didn't dodge any questions. He was honest about refusing to answer them.
All four points sound rather positive. If any of these points are red flags, why not call them as such for everyone to understand?
As you can see, the verdict was "overall fairly positive".
Were there red flags mentioned? - Not explicitly. A newcomer would have gone with "overall fairly positive."
However, after the rug pull happened, this topic was addressed again in the group - starting with this message.
Sounds awful. Who could that horrible person be? People started wondering and figured out that this was somehow connected to the BeachSwap rug pull the day before - and they reflected on the AMA.
I agree with ludex of Simias. It was hard to know what to look for. And if anybody had concerns, it would have been nice of them to state them. And it would have been helpful to do that in a way that would have made the red flags obvious as such. And an overall fairly positive verdict doesn't reflect that.
After ludex suggested that the disaster could possibly have been less tragic, cheaplightning interjected that thought. I initially read that remark "apes are gonna ape" fairly critically, but he probably meant that you can't save people from themselves. ludex of Simias agrees that you can't save the entire world. After a clarification I now know that he meant that while he wishes they could have done more, he also knows how foolish people can act. Therefore, he was saving his mental state. He has tried too many times in his life to warn people against doing something and losing his breath over it.
Jay in fact asked very good questions. And to him the risk of going swimming was obvious - at least in hindsight. If it was clear beforehand as well, wouldn't it have been a good idea to point that out more explicitly in the verdict? "Going swimming", I assume, means losing a good portion of your funds. Could the damage have been reduced by giving an explicit warning - if it was in fact that obvious?
Or do you think the "apes" would have wanted to lose their investment hoping to make a couple of percent - which they most likely would end up losing, too?
To be clear, I don't blame anyone for the funds I lost or for the decisions I made. I agree that everyone is responsible for their own actions. However, if you notice red flags and you didn't point them out clearly, did you really do what you could have done to prevent something bad from happening? If you saw a man drowning - and you could save him, but you didn't, did you kill him?
It's easy to point fingers saying it's his fault or some other person's fault. I want to explicitly say that I'm not doing that. However, I also want that other people refrain from pointing fingers.
I made a wrong decision - but I had pure intentions. I accept my fault, I apologised for it and I am doing it again. And I explained all the circumstances that brought me to the wrong conclusion ultimately ending in helping to manage the BeachSwap Telegram group when the developer was absent. It was a mistake and I regret it. I wish I didn't try to be helpful in this case. However, keep in mind that the entire time I was convinced to be helping a legitimate dev with a legitimate DEX. I explained all this in this article.
I didn't see the red flags. Other people claim they saw the red flags - and that those were obvious. But they didn't really help prevent the catastrophe from happening. 'Let the apes run into the knife.' 'You can't save the whole world.'
Am I the only one who is at fault here?
And if you are wondering what that message about that feminine attention seeking manwhore was all about, here are some screenshots for your viewing pleasure:
After having received quite a few pleasantries from the CATS founder who prides himself with spreading love, I was happy to see the following post. Unfortunately, the post was subsequently deleted by a CATS administrator - I don't know who that was - and the person who wrote the comment was banned from the CATS group. I know that, because I contacted that person to thank him for his message after I saw it.
Censorship and banning people for having an opinion a moderator doesn't like sounds awfully alike to what Roger Ver describes r/Bitcoin to have been at the time of the BTC BCH fork.
And finally, Mister BCHadoken joins the "discussion".
Which brings us back to the message that caused the discussion looking back at the AMA.