Bots and Account Restrictions — What You Need To Know
Anti-Bot Measures, Account Restrictions, Policies & Procedures
There are now more than 1.9 million active monthly users in the VeVe app, and whilst the growth and popularity of the platform have been incredible, it also brings new challenges. Bots, auto clickers, scripts, and emulators are used to brazenly attack all digital sales platforms, dampening the experience for genuine fans and collectors.
VeVe has always implemented the highest standards of security to protect both your digital assets and your app experience from nefarious and malicious participants. Whilst this will continue to be an ongoing battle and evolving strategy, we want to provide an update on the effectiveness of these measures to date and additional detail on our policies and procedures.
Multi-Layer Bot Protection
VeVe implements multiple layers of protection, which begin the moment a new account is created. These protections include multiple firewalls alongside autonomous AI, manual and autonomous reviews, data scouring, and services rendered by world-class third-party security providers.
To date, more than 300,000 accounts in total have been disabled for botting or similar activities.
In addition to identifying and restricting nefarious accounts at drop, giving legitimate fans and Collectors a fairer chance of securing their favorite collectibles. For some of the more popular drops, this figure has been as high as 32% of all incoming requests.
Account Restrictions and Policies
Restricted accounts still have access to the collectibles they have purchased, can enjoy them in AR, build Showrooms and show off their collections to friends and family. However, access to the Market and the ability to send collectibles and Gems to other users is not available to restricted accounts.
Understanding Account Restrictions
Before we dive into potential red flags, we want to take a moment to remind everyone that using a bot/script/emulator is not the only action that will cause your account to be restricted on VeVe, as this may be causing some confusion.
- Failing to pay for an auction within the specified time period (12 hours after the auction has ended) will see your account restricted from the Market for 72 hours.
- New accounts are also restricted from the Market for the first 72 hours.
REMINDER: Any transactions made outside of the VeVe app are at your own risk. VeVe does not support any trades/transactions that take place outside of the app, nor will we act as arbiters of these disputes. We will, however, act to restrict or disable scam accounts where the evidence is clear.
Our Policy on Restricted/Disabled Accounts
Any obvious and provable accounts that are using bots, scripts, emulators, or otherwise in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage during VeVe drops will be disabled.
With all of our bot protections in place, a small number of false positives are likely to occur. Where we cannot unequivocally prove nefarious activity, there is a system in place to re-enable your account as soon as possible and we are working hard to speed this process up. However, please keep in mind thousands of accounts can be disabled/restricted during drops.
Please head to https://help.veve.me/ and open a ticket, providing any necessary details for your issue. Our support team can see all of your in-app activity and will be able to determine quickly if your account was falsely restricted.
In the event that your account has been falsely identified, you will be asked to provide some sort of identity verification (KYC) to prove that you own, and have access to, the account in question. Upon passing KYC your account will be re-enabled.
Please note: If your account information does not match your Government-issued ID we are very limited in our capacity to re-enable your account. So please ensure your account information is up to date. You can reach out to support to update any of the non editable field in your account settings.
Failing to pass KYC will result in a 12-month account restriction. Similarly, a second offense may result in permanent restrictions.
First things first, let’s discuss some common issues we see plastered across social media, many of which are affecting new users and community sentiment.
Why is it so hard to land a drop?
Many Collectors feel that pushing the buy-button at the exact time it appears is a guarantee to reserve a collectible, without giving credence to the huge amount of competition on every drop. With 1.9 million active monthly users, you are competing (on average) with 200K+ users for ~30K editions on EVERY drop.
In other words, you have a 1 in 7 chance of securing a reservation, and each drop only becomes more difficult to obtain as the user base (and competition) continues to increase. Many drops have FEWER editions than this, lowering your chances to reserve a collectible further.
‘Waiting Room’ Drop Model
While the current drop system has been fun up until now, in order to accommodate a rapidly increasing user base we are transitioning to a ‘waiting room’ drop system.
The waiting room will open a certain amount of time before a drop, at which point you can put your name in the ring for your chance to secure a reservation.
Collectors will be randomly selected from those in the waiting room, which will also help to level the playing field across different devices. Of course, anyone participating in the Master Collector Program, or the OMI Utility Program may have additional chances to secure their favorite Collectibles on Drop Day!
This Bot Account Just Got 1000 Editions?!
After every drop, we all see the ‘incredible success’ of a bot on social media, who somehow managed to secure 1000 collectibles from 3 accounts, or something similarly outlandish. Knowing that the payment processing system takes at least 30 seconds to 1 minute to complete a purchase, and drops sell out in less than a second, it doesn’t take much to see the falsehood to these claims, and ultimately they are showing a false success rate to lure you into purchasing a bot.
These ‘bot sellers’ are trying to sell you a product. Once these bots are caught and blocked by our systems, the vast majority of them become scammers, and aside from the risk of losing your money, you risk the same punishment as them for trying to use one — a disabled account. We investigate every single report of these accounts and their ‘successes’ and every single one of them has grossly exaggerated their claims.
Similarly, there are many different types of Collectors on VeVe, and those with quick enough fingers in the Market can amass multiples of the same collectible when it opens. Again, whilst this may appear to be suspicious/bot activity when they are re-listed, we often investigate these accounts only to find they were all legitimately purchased on the Market. If that is not the case, these accounts face the same restrictions as mentioned above.
What About False Positives?
Whilst there are some false positives of our automated bot systems, 99% of ‘innocent’ accounts are the exact opposite. We can see their botting activity, and they only contribute to the groundswell of discontent on social media because they have been caught, not because they have been falsely accused.
For those who are legitimately caught in the net of our systems, we truly apologize and hope that you understand the nature of what we are trying to build. We always act to re-enable wrongly affected accounts as soon as possible, and as soon we have reviewed the evidence. We ask for your patience and understanding during this process as investigating these accounts will take some time — separating the truly affected from the bad actors is no simple task.
What About a Captcha?
Captcha offers the lowest form of bot protection available. They are easy to circumvent, regardless of the captcha type.
However, VeVe does use captcha as an additional security measure. It is shown to any account that is deemed to be different at the point of sale. If you have not, or do not, see a regular captcha appear when participating in drops, congratulations — you are using the app correctly and we appreciate your participation.
Quelling Community Fears
Outside of common misconceptions, there seems to be a wide range of un-founded community fears and claims that we want to put to rest.
- “It’s only a matter of time before it happens to you!”
Whilst we do apologize for anyone genuinely caught in the net, our bot systems are designed to detect BOTS — not real users. If you are using the app as intended, you have nothing to fear.
- Your Account will be disabled for purchasing ‘dirty gems’
- VeVe blocks people for no reason!
Why Don’t We Have KYC
VeVe has been built for mainstream (non-crypto) audiences as an easy way to interact with the world of NFTs. KYC or ‘know-your-customer’ practices form part of a greater set of anti-money laundering regulations. Whilst these practices may seem familiar to those in crypto, implementing a compulsory KYC procedure on sign-up is not only foreign to most users, it is a huge deterrent and barrier to adoption.
Imagine downloading an app you’ve only just heard of, and then having to send your passport information across the internet just to use it.
Instead, KYC procedures will be introduced when the money transmitter has been fully integrated into the VeVe app for anyone wishing to withdraw funds to their bank account (pay-out) as they pertain to a financial transaction- not just an account creation.
KYC has not been fully ruled out and we are working on various methods to introduce KYC at certain levels to offer a better user experience.
A Community Initiative
Combatting bots is a collective responsibility and one that we know the VeVe Fam takes seriously. With this in mind, there are a number of things that you can do to cut down on this nefarious activity, and we are asking for your help to do so.
- Thanks to a recent app update, you can now see collectibles for sale in the Market in list form, giving you much more information about the seller. If one or more of these accounts/sales seem suspicious to you- you have the option to purchase a different item, therefore not supporting these accounts.
- We now have a bot-reporting channel in VeVe Discord. The #bot-reports channel is specifically to share information about bot groups, bot sales, and any other service advertising a way to cheat on VeVe, and we ask for your ongoing assistance in identifying these malicious accounts.
Note: The ‘Bot-Reports’ channel is not for mere suspicions. If you are providing information on malicious accounts we require you to post screenshots that include mint numbers / VeVe usernames, and evidence of botting to reduce the noise and any unfair accusations.
VeVe is a constantly evolving ecosystem, and there are a number of developments in the pipeline that will further assist to cut down on botting and similar activities.
First and foremost, the new ‘waiting room’ drop system gives everyone the same chance to secure a reservation, with completely randomized allocations.
Second, the Master Collector program will create further barriers for nefarious actors, as those using Veve legitimately will have greater access to features and benefits within the app. This includes additional limitations on newer accounts such as limited collectible transfers and limited gem transfers, to stem any fake/scam transactions.
Similarly, the OMI utility program will serve to benefit token holders with additional access and benefits, helping to increase your chances of landing a collectible drop.
This information will remain private, and users will still have a public-facing username of their own choosing. Existing Collectors will be given an opportunity to update this information via a support ticket, and in both instances, it must match the name on their government-issued ID.
Whilst this is not ‘KYC’ as such, it will help us to discern the genuine accounts from the nefarious when any issues of this nature arise, allowing us to re-enable said accounts in a more timely fashion.
As the platform continues to grow so too does the competition for these digital collectible releases, and we want to reiterate again that the odds of landing a drop when competing against 200k+ other Collectors is unlikely at best.
For most Collectors, finding the perfect deal in the Market is more than half of the fun, and it is always available for you to complete your sets or add to your favorite collections.
At the end of the day, VeVe has and always will be in development. We hear and understand your concerns and will continue to refine our bot protections and systems based on the real-time data and information that we receive, to create a healthier ecosystem for all.
In addition, we endeavor to improve our communications around these policies and procedures in the future, particularly in those instances where false positives may occur, so that we can all continue to celebrate and enjoy our fandoms together!