A Week of Rogues: Bot BJs & The Worst Exchange

Over the course of any given month, a mindless mélange of roguish behaviors debut on the stages of our crypto lifestyle. This week, our days have been awash with crypto rogues—so many we lost count. However, there are a few noteworthy incidents of crypto buffoonery that have warmed our hardened Web3 hearts. In a week where the cisterns of crypto were overflowing with scams, crashes, and rugs, it is extraordinarily horrid customer service and aggressive bots that take home blue ribbons for blockchain cretinism.

Slippery Mike’s Liquid Exchange 

Mike Kayamori is the founder and CEO of the shittiest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Known to many in the crypto world as Slippery Mike, Mr. Kayamori’s Liquid Exchange has been hacked so often—and so savagely—we are left wondering: does he enjoy consistently steering his ship into the rocks?

Slippery Mike’s Liquid Exchange

From double-counting trades, to employee scandals, to famously inept customer service, Slippery Mike has been a magnet for crypto drama since the days Liquid opened its doors. Although there have been a handful of encouraging developments recently at Liquid—Sam Bankman-Fried recently stepped in and saved the company from imminent demise—our patience with their draconian trading restrictions and comatose customer service has run its course. It is enormously risky to remain a customer of Liquid.

It was time to move our modest ETH position out of the clutches of Slippery Mike. But what should have been an easy process turned out to be a nail-biting ordeal.

After we conducted triple and quadruple wallet verification checks, we hit the red button on the Liquid trading screen and ordered all our remaining ETH reserves to be sent to a non-exchange wallet. Upon executing our trade, we watched the transaction process on Etherscan—actually, we observed that our transaction was perpetually stuck in a “pending” status. 

Ultimately, our transaction was dropped: no ETH was transferred (that we could see) from our account to our external receiving wallet. The funds were not in our wallet, and they were not shown on our Liquid Exchange account. All we could see on our screen was a zero balance. 

The ETH was gone, without a trace.

We sent a barrage of emails to Liquid customer service (you can’t get a real person on the phone at Liquid if there is a crisis) asking for immediate attention and a clear explanation on what happened to our ETH. Here is what we got: silence—for days. With our panic cresting, we took to Twitter and tweeted our issue, tagging their customer support while simultaneously sending them on-platform direct messages. 

We were summarily informed that since our Liquid account was opened in Japan, it was impossible for customer support to dispatch resources who could help us find our missing ETH or assuage our fears that our funds were lost forever. After the Liquid customer service account on Twitter had absolved themselves of responsibility, we doubled down on our efforts—with several volleys of email—to reach someone who could finally provide assistance.

What is the sound of one cricket chirping?

After two sleepless nights of non-existent customer service, our missing ETH supernaturally appeared in our receiving wallet. But while a huge gorilla had been lifted off of our shoulders, we had still not received a suitable explanation or follow up from Liquid. That would come approximately a week later, in the form of an email telling us that we had sent inquiries to the “wrong” address. A curious claim, since we carefully followed the instructions provided by the Liquid website, notwithstanding their official email addresses that promised to lead us to service representatives.

When shopping for crypto exchanges, we suggest you look at track records. In the case of Liquid, it seems they got lost on the way to the racetrack or decided to hang out at some other track—the train tracks of Tokyo station. Perhaps Slippery Mike can dig up some new customers when he is emptying the trash cans on the Shinkansen platform.

How Much for a Bot Job?

Our crypto normalcy bias has experienced minimal disruption this week. It’s been business as usual, as this Monday finds us settling into our daily dalliance of “bot-or-not”. Our bot detection skills were most recently tested on Instagram, where one of our crypto bros reached out with a friendly “Hello”. After we responded to him a few hours later with a customary “Hey brother” our discourse took a disheartening twist. He began to test our resolve with a cleverly engineered crypto scam.

Long time no see Amigo

As formalities faded, the velocity of his sales pitch began to approach light speed, with heroic assurances of 100x gains and eternal financial freedom.

“Send me the details” always works…

Doing our best not to adopt a bellicose demeanor in the face of his spammy conceit, we offered up a lukewarm “send me the details” response. As we used to say on Wall Street: we gave him a good grin-f*cking. His next riposte demonstrated that we were not dealing with a mere mortal.

 A decade of hands-on bot hunting experience qualified us to make the following key assessment: our sleazy interlocutor was an Instagram bot, triggered from a profile that had effectively spoofed my erstwhile friend’s account. The spoof account even had the same number of followers as my friend’s account, with an added “s” at the end of his name, making it indistinguishable at first glance. 

Who says there is no loyalty among bots?

The hard sell kicks in

It was time to leave my parting shot. I adopted my sweetest social media English (Sminglish) and nourished the bot’s last question with a tablespoon of truculence. I’m still waiting for the bot’s response, but I will venture a guess that the ravages of inflation have rendered his mom’s services considerably more costly.

I am a value shopper till the bitter end
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