Fighting Meme Coin Greed with $GREED: We Talked to the Guy Behind Crypto's Best Prank in Years
"I clearly refused a stupid amount of money just to prove a point and try to educate the most people possible"
By: Zack Abrams
May 19, 2023
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How do you teach someone a lesson if they're too dumb to know they need it?
That was the problem facing Ivor "Voshy" Ivosevic, a blockchain developer and consultant based in Croatia, as he saw the recent rise in meme coin enthusiasm lead to a subsequent rise in hacks, scams, and pump-and-dump schemes.
A quick recap if you're not aware: the past few weeks have seen the meteoric rise of $PEPE, a crypto token which its creators admit is "completely useless and for entertainment purposes only," but which reached a market cap north of $1.65 billion just three weeks after launch.
Pepe, like Dogecoin before it, is known as a meme coin, or a crypto token fashioned after popular jokes, characters, and expressions in the online crypto community. Common references include Elon Musk, the numbers 420 and 69, and Shiba Inu dogs, though more well-known characters like Homer Simpson and SpongeBob sometimes make an appearance.
While meme coins may seem like harmless fun, the frenzied enthusiasm can lead some crypto traders to abandon their better judgement in search of outsized returns, signing transactions from sketchy websites or handing over the keys to their Twitter accounts to anonymous meme coin founders.
For Voshy, however, this careless behavior was nothing to laugh at.
"It made me go a bit crazy," he told Coinage.
Voshy was worried that a typical plea for crypto traders would go unheard. So he decided to meet them where they were, launching his own meme coin called $GREED. Within mere days, the project began to gather steam, doubling Voshy's follower count, then 10x'ing it.
"I never planned on getting following or engagement from this," said Voshy. "My expectation [was] 20 people will see this post and five people will maybe come to me and say 'I see your point.'"
While Voshy could've followed in other meme coin founders' footsteps and cashed in on his newfound notoriety, he chose instead to use $GREED to fight the careless greed he saw exhibited by meme coin traders. So, with the help of a few friends, Voshy began crafting his trap.
Each person who connected their wallet and Twitter account to Voshy's site, GreedConsumes.Me, would get a payout of 8,007,320,330 $GREED tokens, but the tokens would freeze immediately upon being transferred, making price speculation impossible. Why that number? Written another way, (800) 732-0330, it's the SEC's phone number.
"A frozen SEC phone number in everybody's wallet does provide more utility than any other token that came out during the same season," said Voshy.
Voshy had one final masterstroke: each person who connected their Twitter account to his site gave him permission to Tweet on his timeline. So Voshy made each of their accounts Tweet a statement admitting that they were careless and thanking Voshy for teaching them a lesson.
Even some high-profile accounts became Voshy's mouthpiece, such as the Twitter for Slope Finance, a Solana wallet which abandoned its Twitter account after being hacked – or so everyone thought.
"There's nothing on [Slope Finance's] Twitter account since August," said Voshy, "And then somebody uses that Twitter account to try and claim shitcoins, ignoring all the warnings and giving out permissions...that was definitely like a cherry on the top of the entire thing."
Over 44,000 accounts connected their Twitter accounts to Voshy's site and over 55,000 accounts claimed $GREED tokens, inadvertently accepting an indelible mark of carelessness on their Solana wallets — remember, the tokens can never be transferred out. But does Voshy consider the experiment a success?
"When I started this, a few people close by [told me] 'You don't understand, nobody will care and nobody will learn'," said Voshy. "I feel like I managed to push it big enough and hard enough that some people actually did [learn], which makes me super happy."
Not everyone was thrilled when Voshy's deception was revealed, though Voshy was happy to see that some greedy traders took the lesson to heart.
"There's also people who are still in disbelief that their tokens are not increasing. People trying to [manipulate] me saying 'nobody will care about you if you don't unfreeze it'," said Voshy. "But I got a lot of DMS that practically thanked me from the heart and they said, 'I know that this had an effect on me and that I will think about both the aping-in-without-thinking part and the security and privacy part."
For Voshy, teaching this lesson came with a cost — not just the approximately $800 he spent launching the project, but also going through with his original plan, despite the fact that he probably could've leveraged the attention his project was getting into a hefty personal payday. But he has no regrets about sticking to his values.
"I clearly refused a stupid amount of money just to prove a point and try to educate the most people possible," said Voshy. "I think half of them will forget in a bit, but I hope it sticks at least with some of them."