Chinese authorities arrest suspect in StarkNet airdrop identity scam


Chinese authorities arrest suspect in StarkNet airdrop identity scam

Chinese authorities have apprehended a suspect, identified as Lan Mou, for alleged identity forgery related to the StarkNet (STRK) airdrop. The suspect was arrested in the Guangdong Province on April 25, along with a computer and two mobile phones.

According to an April 30 local media report, Lan Mou assumed other people’s identities and submitted over 40 false Early Community Member Program (ECMP) airdrop forms, claiming more than 40,000 STRK tokens that initially belonged to the victims. Following the airdrop, the suspect transferred the stolen STRK tokens to an OKX wallet and converted them to over $91,000 worth of Tether (USDT).

While scams and phishing attacks are common in the cryptocurrency space, identity theft on such a large scale for claiming other users’ airdrops appears to be an unprecedented occurrence.

The StarkNet Foundation, the organization supporting the Ethereum layer-2 Starknet network, launched a 700 million STRK token airdrop on Feb. 20 to reward Ethereum solo and liquid stakers, Starknet developers and users, as well as projects and developers outside the Web3 ecosystem. The airdrop generated significant interest, with the first 45 million STRK tokens being claimed in less than 90 minutes.

However, the STRK airdrop was not without controversy. On Feb. 20, pseudonymous developer Banteg warned that the StarkNet’s eligibility list primarily included airdrop squatters, or professional airdrop hunters, who only farm protocols with an incoming airdrop in hopes of financial gains.

Banteg alleged that approximately 701,544 of the 1.3 million eligible wallet addresses were linked to repeat or renamed GitHub accounts controlled by airdrop squatters seeking to compound their rewards.

This incident is not the first time airdrop hunters have exploited token distributions. In March 2023, it was revealed that airdrop hunters consolidated $3.3 million worth of tokens from the Arbitrum (ARB) airdrop from 1,496 wallets into just two wallets under their control.


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