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People will retweet anything for a bitcoin

As bitcoin prices soar, a lot of us are regretting not investing in the currency years ago, when it was nothing but a very sketchy, dubious unknown worth a few dollars, rather than the very sketchy, dubious unknown worth over $16,000 that it is today.

That regret seems to be driving people to any chance they have to get their hands on a bitcoin. For example, a tweet by @Joshwilkyyy, who’s claiming that he’ll give five lucky folks the chance to own some bitcoin, has now racked up over 20,000 retweets.

There’s no sign the promise is legitimate, but people are biting anyway. And chances are, it isn’t a real offer: Joshwilkyyy wasn’t even the first person to make it. Another person on Twitter, Travis Weaver, posted the same exact promise an hour earlier. He’s at over 80,000 retweets and claims that tomorrow at 6PM, he’ll pick the winners. A handful of other copycats have racked up hundreds of their own retweets with a similar promise.

So why do people keep retweeting offers that seem sketchy? It could just be for the hell of it, or for the off chance that they do get lucky and land a bitcoin. But it’s hardly a new phenomenon — it’s essentially a new spin on chain letters, or on those viral Facebook posts that promise to do something ridiculous (like name a child Megatron) after getting a certain number of likes. Or on YouTube, when people ask for a thousand likes to confess to their high school crush. It’s great to feel like you’re part of this greater internet community and that your one like, retweet, or thumbs up can influence someone else in the world. In this case, it might just make you rich.

Travis claims that he had purchased 1,500 bitcoin in 2011 for $2.87 each, which sounds plausible. His tweet promises to give away five (more than $80,000 worth of bitcoin) to people who retweet him. But so far, there’s no proof that Travis, or anyone else making this offer, really have the bitcoin to give away. He’s never even tweeted about bitcoin before.

We reached out to Josh and Travis, asking for screenshots of their bitcoin wallets to verify their claims, but they haven’t responded. It would be nice if the offer was real, because then some of us could share the wealth, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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