An Update on the Bytecoin Farce

27.05.2018

In an earlier BD Ratings article, evidence was presented of extensive sock-puppetry among accounts connected to the Bytecoin team. The article was a continuation of a well-known BCT thread, where the most damning evidence of fraudulent Bytecoin-team behavior are collected. That same BD Ratings article brought up a recent renewal of the scam, when Bytecoin public relations activities quickly picked up pace after staying more or less dormant for years. Below is a mapping of the inconsistencies of this new initiative, of the official community manager Jenny Goldberg, and of her company AssetRush.

Why focus on Jenny Goldberg? As already established, Jenny (a.k.a. BCN_official on Reddit) is most probably not who she say's she is, yet she is supposed to be the one and only public Bytecoin figure. For anyone having read the article prior to this one, her use of Russian emoticons should, with such a name, raise a red flag. This led BD Ratings to pick up the investigation of Jenny and AssetRush, and here is what was found.

First some more anecdotal evidence. What may be the only published audio recording of a Bytecoin team member, this Youtube video confirms a few things earlier suspected. English is not Jenny's native language, listen for yourself. The sound also indicates that some kind of voice changer was applied.

So who is Jenny Goldberg then? Jenny is the Bytecoin community manager as well as CCO of AssetRush, a new venture mainly providing token promotion services. When skimming their webpage, you will notice that they seem to have 7 team members, Jenny included. Just a little more than a month ago, BD Ratings posted the following reply on BCT. You will notice an investigation of the AssetRush team started back then, and interestingly, the full team numbered closer to 20 - all with different pictures of the same distinct photo style. This means most of the team members have been taken off the webpage since then. Only 5 of the now 7 team members were on the earlier team.

What proof is there to this claim of almost 20 team members, you may ask. The page is no longer archived. You can however see in the BCT post that BD Ratings link to Twitter users no longer found on the AssetRush team list. Other BCT users reply to that post after also reviewing the team webpage, acting as verification that all those disappearing team members were in fact on the AssetRush webpage earlier. BD Ratings remembers for a fact that there were multiple internet archive snapshots of https://assetrush.com/, in some of which they messed around with the robots.txt. This might have been attempts to exclude parts of the webpage from being crawled (something that can be manually requested as well). BD Ratings does not have much expertise in how web archiving works, but it does seem convenient that the snapshots now are gone. Luckily enough, it is still possible to manually look at all earlier team members since the webpage still hosts their pictures in the background. Just change the number in the link string and you will see at least 16 different team members.

Out of the 20 or so people, only 4 had Twitter accounts. They were all createdbetween 4-12 April 2018. Twitter is quite common these days, so one might wonder why not a single person out of a tech oriented team of 20 had a personal twitter account prior to their AssetRush venture. BD Ratings first approximated these creation dates manually to 9-12th of April by looking at all users' first tweets. However, Twitter seems to archive some user stats, including creation dates, so by this method, 4-12th April was confirmed. (Edit: Hovering over users' profiles actually shows creation date as well...) Applying Jenny's twitter account to the Twitter Archiving Project data capture yields the following result:

"translator_type":"none","protected":false,"verified":false,"followers_count":123,"friends_count":47,"listed_count":1,"favourites_count":0,"statuses_count":6,"created_at":"Tue Apr 10 09:28:22 +0000 2018","utc_offset":null,"time_zone":null,"geo_enabled":false,"lang":"ru"

The last word proves that Jenny used a computer with Russian language settings while setting up her account, or that she has such language settings right now. BD Ratings verified the validity of this method by checking multiple Swedish Twitter accounts and they all yielded "lang": "sv".

Interestingly, the other three had English settings for their accounts. The first of those three, prior team member Jenn Bruney (an obvious anglo-saxon name) have difficulty correctly expressing her feelings about rainy days. Martina Sarto, also prior team member, also have problems with grammar. And David Petrachini is expressing himself weirdly as well. David is still listed as team member.

Back in April, BD Ratings continued the investigation of AssetRush team members by checking their LinkedIn profiles, which only 5 of them had. Jennyhas the oldest LinkedIn account it seems. Her feed activity started 9 months ago. This is in line with the birth of the BCN_official Reddit user as well as the re-activation of the then dormant bytecoin_bcn Twitter account. CEO David Booker's first activity was two months ago so we can assume he joined LinkedIn then. Yet he has over a 1000 followers - something many active networkers out there fail to achieve. David Petrachini's feed activity started two months ago as well. Yet he had over 1300 followers. The account is now terminated, possibly because BD Ratings pointed these discrepancies out in April. David's Twitter account is still active, but unfollowed Russian news outlets immediately after BD Ratings pointed this fact out. Martina Sarto's feed started a few weeks after David's. She had 658 followers last time BD Ratings checked. Now her account is terminated. Jenn Bruney seemed to have joined LinkedIn just after Martina but still managed to get 726 followers before terminating her account. These high amounts of followers obtained so quickly are obviously bought, and any LinkedIn veteran can confirm that. The account shut-downs are probably part of some cover-up of the whole Bytecoin/AssetRush mess.

Bytecoin is at time of writing worth 1.1 billion dollars; that's 400 million more than when the first article was published a month and a half ago. So people are not taking the huge red flags marking the Bytecoin minefield seriously. BD Ratings is still at loss when it comes to the purpose of the whole AssetRush front. Being able to present a professional team might have made the Binance listing smoother, who knows. AssetRush is indeed focusing on exchange-listings. And we all saw how the BCN valuation shot up over USD 2B right after that event. What is certain is that he/she/they are deliberate and very thorough, and we should all be vigilant when it comes to future Bytecoin and AssetRush ventures.