Last week I woke up with a phrase stuck in my head — troll dimes. I don’t know where it came from, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. Without any context, I spoke to my WhatsApp group and asked if anyone had heard about Troll Dimes.
Of course, the answer was a unanimous no — primarily because they don’t exist. Making it up on the spot though, I started a spiel about it.
“It’s a new cryptocurrency that connects to a global p2p GPS system and helps people find real gold near or under bridges”
It got mixed replies. A few of the more discerning people in my group (Jon, Ben and Pete) said it sounded like bollocks, but two of them (Nick and Waidey) sounded interested. So at this stage, I parked it, and let the conversation move on to other subjects.
Outside of the chat I turned to reddit. After registering the new subreddit /r/trolldimes under a fresh account called ‘cryptowizz’, I started filling the subreddit with posts. In private I told Ben, Jon and Pete about my plan and got them to help me populate the subreddit.
Between us we made 12 accounts , all subscribing, posting, and commenting on the opportunity with Troll Dimes. They all had their own personalities and back stories, and it started to feel like a real (but very small) community. The story got fleshed out further — I explained that there was nothing about Troll Dimes on Google because the exchange and main forum were on a .onion website that was only accessible through Tor. They hadn’t made it to the mainstream press yet but everyone was going crazy about them on IRC. They were at their lowest price right now because there was some bug with the GPS tracking, but that was getting fixed in a patch at 11AM tomorrow, at which point the price would shoot back up. This was the time to buy in to Troll Dimes. Of course that was all completely nonsensical, but it sounded complicated and techy enough that they bought into it.
I made an introduction post for newbies:
The next morning I spoke in the chat and said —
‘Oh shit, I got really drunk and spent £150 on Troll Dimes. I really hope this pays off’
Nick and Waidey were instantly intrigued — they’d heard mention of this de-centralised p2p cryptocurrency tied to real world commodities before, but they were still unsure what it was. It was at this point I mentioned the subreddit — ‘People on /r/trolldimes are saying it’s going to get patched at 11AM, so if anyone wants in you should do it before then’.
The guys who were in on it started helping the cause —
‘My card’s not working Felix, can you buy me some?’
‘I can’t get on Tor, I’ll send you £200 if you buy me some?’
‘Thanks Felix, just received them!’
Basically giving the social proofing to make the other guys feel like this was a safe place to put their money. If all my friends are in on it too it must be legit, right?
Nick started looking into it deeper—
‘This subreddit is only 24 hours old — this is either some really deep net shit or a scam’
I was quick with my response —
‘Well if it is a scam it’s super elaborate — I just validated my blockchain with their tool on the exchange and it all cleared. Plus there’s a forum with hundreds of people discussing it on there. You just can’t access it without Tor’.
They were in. Waidey went in straight away, sent me £100 in a bank transfer and asked for me to get him them. I told him I’d bought them, and shortly after that Nick went in for £50 too.
So now we had their money it was time for the reveal. The group chat name got changed to TROLLED OUT OF YOUR DIMES and the icon got changed to this —
They instantly realised how stupid they had been and started cracking up at how gullible they had been.
Of course, I sent their money back straight away. Hopefully they learned a good life lesson here — if a financial opportunity has the word ‘troll’ and is about finding gold under bridges, maybe you should look at it a bit more critically.