Over on the crazy world of crypto Twitter there are often clear examples of shilling, paid and unpaid. There is a large debate over whether this is ethical. Let’s explore the issue.
Shilling, in simple terms, is the promotion of coins. Think of it as akin to marketing.
There are a few different types of shilling. For example I could be a bagholder of an altcoin and shill until my heart’s content, hoping others will buy, pushing the price up. This is pretty common behaviour, especially in desperate times. I could also work as an advisor to a cryptocurrency. In doing so, I would consistently highlight the usecases and benefits of such a coin. However, there is a more common trend appearing. As more people partake on crypto Twitter and influencers gain more followers, they are being approached by various companies to do paid shills.
If you’re questioning why companies would pay for such exposure then you need only remember John McAfee’s “coin of the day” series where he would announce one coin a day in 2017 on his Twitter feed. The coins announced pumped massively on their announcement and then soon dumped a few days after. Some well known accounts on Twitter are known for being shills. With thousands of followers, unknown cryptocurrencies can reach wide markets in this way.
Certain Twitter accounts have been quick to call out such behaviour. I was very excited by the Shill’exed account whose sole purpose was to do just that. Unfortunately, despite promises of more releases they seem to have returned to the shadows. Despite this, the community has been on alert for such behaviour.
As crypto Twitter has expanded, so has the followers of influencers within this space. Whether they are shilling a coin because of their belief in the project or, because they have been paid to do so becomes even harder to ascertain. I personally have no problem if they are paid, as long as they state clearly that this is the case. Hiding your paid interests? That isn’t cricket in my opinion.
Some of the reaction to criticism from certain members involved in shilling has been poor. Instead of holding their hands up, they instead go on a verbal tirade attacking those who question their integrity. I don’t think many people have an issue with paid shilling if it is accompanied by honesty. But, if at first you deny it, then attempt to fight back it isn’t a good look. Just hold your hands up and admit it. You will look much better.
Rather than having to investigate whether it is paid, just put #ad or #paidshill in your tweet. It is that simple. Out of the many thousands of followers you have many will be knowledgeable about crypto. However, many will not. Those who are still learning are the ones you will truly affect with your dis-ingenuity.