Elon Musk’s proposed $1 fee for new X users might not deter crypto bots

Experts in the crypto industry think that charging a small fee won’t do anything to stop the bot issue.

Starting Wednesday, X started charging new users in New Zealand and the Philippines for a monthly plan. The firm believes that by charging new users to access core features like publishing, commenting, and liking, they may help “reduce spam, manipulation of our platform, and bot activity.”

Previous attempts to charge customers to reduce phishing schemes using verified accounts on the network have, however, apparently failed. Crypto-focused bot armies and fraudsters seem to make heavy use of X’s premium service, which costs $8 per month and awards users with a blue tick.

These phishing bots constantly appear on the postings of verified accounts. Comment threads on CoinDesk reveal the tradecraft of the blue tick verified bots, who write replies in the hopes of attracting the attention of an unwary user who, upon clicking the link, finds their wallet completely depleted a few minutes later.

Experts in crypto security services who monitor the market feel that although the fee may deter some bots, other measures are far more likely to have an effect.

“This new program is well-intended, but it might be better to improve reporting mechanisms to fix problems that are already happening,” said Veronica Wong, CEO of crypto bank SafePal. “To protect our users, we have a staff that is always on the lookout for and reporting suspicious accounts. However, this is an ongoing struggle since it takes time and new X accounts are constantly being created.”

Users may still be at risk from bot accounts with blue and gold checkmarks, which are not impacted, therefore Wong argues that strict filtering to reject fraudulent advertisements is even more important now.

On the other hand, Fong pointed out that X’s premium service for enterprises, which gives a gold checkmark to accounts, makes it “noticeably harder for bots and impersonators to execute malicious attacks.”

“The problem of bots is widespread, and it casts a long shadow of doubt over the integrity of the sector”, said DFG’s founder and CEO, James Wo. “The illegal profits from carrying out these scams far outweigh any related costs.”

“A $1 yearly charge seems inadequate to curb this problem in the face of persistent activists. To successfully deal with the bot issue, we believe that Web2 platforms will need to think about adopting Proof of Personhood and Decentralized Identity (DID) approaches,” Wo said.

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