Analyzing the Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme Ecosystem

  • Marie VasekEmail author
  • Tyler Moore
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10958)


This paper analyzes the supply and demand for Bitcoin-based Ponzi schemes. There are a variety of these types of scams: from long cons such as Bitcoin Savings & Trust to overnight doubling schemes that do not take off. We investigate what makes some Ponzi schemes successful and others less so. By scouring 11 424 threads on, we identify 1 780 distinct scams. Of these, half lasted a week or less. Using survival analysis, we identify factors that affect scam persistence. One approach that appears to elongate the life of the scam is when the scammer interacts a lot with their victims, such as by posting more than a quarter of the comments in the related thread. By contrast, we also find that scams are shorter-lived when the scammers register their account on the same day that they post about their scam. Surprisingly, more daily posts by victims is associated with the scam ending sooner.


Bitcoin Cybercrime measurement 


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Copyright information

© International Financial Cryptography Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computer ScienceUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Tandy School of Computer ScienceThe University of TulsaTulsaUSA

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