Beware: Deepfake Exploits Vitalik Buterin’s Image In Sham Crypto Wallet Endorsement

The rise of deepfake technology continues to pose a significant threat to the crypto community, with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin becoming the latest victim in a disturbing trend. Security analysts at CertiK recently uncovered a deepfake video in which Buterin seemingly endorses a phishing website designed to drain wallets, underscoring the escalating danger of these digital forgeries in the realm of cryptocurrency.

Crypto Faces Deepfake Scam Surge: Vigilance Required

The crypto community has witnessed a gradual but concerning surge in the misuse of deepfake technology. These sophisticated artificial intelligence-driven manipulations craft realistic videos or audio recordings, frequently featuring prominent personalities to endorse fraudulent schemes or disseminate misleading information. CertiK’s revelation serves as a stark reminder of the advancing sophistication of cyber threats targeting both cryptocurrency users and investors.


We have seen deepfake of @VitalikButerin used to promote a wallet drainer

The scam site is strnetclaim[.]cc

Still of the video can be seen below

— CertiK Alert (@CertiKAlert) February 7, 2024

Buterin’s unfortunate encounters with cybercriminal exploitation are not isolated incidents. In a previous viral campaign, a deepfake featuring Buterin promoted a meme token, ultimately revealed as a scam. Such occurrences emphasize the urgent need for heightened awareness and vigilance within the crypto community to detect and thwart falling prey to these deceptive activities.

The Dangers Posed By Deepfakes

The surge in deepfake technology poses significant risks, provoking widespread concerns about its potential for harm. These synthetic creations, virtually indistinguishable from real voices and events, have been exploited for nefarious purposes.

Studies indicate that a staggering 90% of fraudulent deepfake images are pornographic, illustrating the technology’s misuse in generating nonconsensual and damaging content. Beyond this, deepfakes have been instrumental in committing crimes like financial fraud, intellectual property theft, reputation damage, evidence fabrication, and erosion of trust.

Notably, the national security implications of deepfakes have been underscored, emphasizing the wide-ranging consequences of this technology. Specific instances, such as a company losing millions due to an employee falling victim to video call deepfakes, highlight the tangible financial and reputational repercussions of malicious deepfake use.

As the technology advances and detection becomes more challenging, there is an increasing urgency for both businesses and individuals to remain vigilant and equipped to mitigate the risks associated with deepfakes. The multifaceted harm, spanning financial, reputational, and security realms, necessitates collective efforts to address and counter the negative impact of deepfake technology.

Rising Tide Of Deepfake Attacks: Buterin And Beyond In The Crosshairs

Meanwhile, the menace extends beyond Buterin, reaching other influential figures in the crypto space. Former MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor faced a similar ordeal, with deepfake videos on hijacked YouTube channels falsely promoting Bitcoin giveaways, enticing unsuspecting viewers to part with their digital assets.

@YouTube @saylor @business

Dangerous deepfake advertisement of Michael Saylor on YouTube that also references Bloomberg

— Bobby K (@real_Bobby_K) February 5, 2024

Additionally, an impersonation of Sam Bankman-Fried, the former FTX founder, was created through deepfake technology, offering counterfeit compensations to users following FTX’s bankruptcy.

Featured image from Getty Images, chart from TradingView