People in Crypto: Pump-and-Dumpers

2 months ago
9 Min Read
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Collage of famous fictional characters known as greedy schemers
Image Source: See the section "Fiction's Pump-and-Dumpers"

The world of cryptocurrency has many types of people. We're familiar with HODLers and their kindred spirits the BUIDLers. We know who the FUDsters are. We can tell who got into crypto because of FOMO. Other types of people inhabit the world of crypto. Of interest this time is a special archetype of people in crypto: pump-and-dumpers.

About Pump-and-Dumpers

Also known as PNDers, describes the thing that pump-and-dumpers are know for doing:

Pump and Dump (P&D) Scheme
A form of securities fraud involving the artificial inflation of the price of a cryptocurrency with false and misleading positive statements in order to sell previously-cheaply purchased stock[sic] at a higher price.

Replace the word "stock" with the word "crypto" and the term is updated for cryptocurrencies.

PNDers are like speculators in that both gamble on cryptos expecting to hit it big if the crypto moons. They consider all relevant factors before they place their bets on the crypto. If they lose, they lose; but if they win they can take a bath in a tub full of fiat after cashing out.

Unlike speculators, PNDers have no scruples about the methods they employ to excecute their schemes. Fraud is what they do, and fraud is theft (no matter how slickly presented it is to their marks). As bad a reputation as speculators have, pump-and-dumpers bring that bad reputation for speculators to even deeper depths. Like them or hate them, at least speculators perform a valuable function in markets crypto and stock.

An Observation about Pump-and-Dumpers

PNDers want to make their money as quickly as possible, but they can't really do their thing with the elder class of cryptos, led by Bitcoin and Ethereum. They could, but the elder cryptos are constanly in the public eye and too many people pay attention to them. That wouldn't stop some pump-and-dumpers, but it's too risky to attempt a PND scheme with them.

Fortunately for the pump-and-dumpers, there is an ever-growing class of cryptos which allows them the room they need to get in, pump up, cash out, get out, and dump their crypto holdings: shitcoins.

With an astounding quantity of shitcoins out there-- showed 10,749 total cryptos with a combined market cap of USD 1,429,600,757,719 as of the start of 4 July 2021-- PNDers have plenty of opportunities to find a shitcoin to hype or shill for their schemes.

Buyer Beware-- Especially in Crypto

As long as the buyers know that the shitcoin is indeed a shitcoin when they buy them, then buying shitcoins is OK (not recommended, but still OK). The problem arises when people buy those same shitcoins without doing their own research and instead following the hype promoted by the pump-and-dumpers.

DYOR (see previous paragraph) would have prevented buyers from falling into the traps set by the PNDers, but it takes time to do research:

  • read the whitepapers;
  • determine use cases;
  • check activity around the project;
  • vette the key people behind the crypto, etc.

Consider these points:

  • Less than 49 minutes per crypto is needed to research each of the 10,749 cryptos during a 365-day year, and that's without stopping for any reason; anyone attempting to keep that pace would be dead within a month just from sheer exhaustion and dehydration.
  • At the more reasonable pace of 1 crypto per day, it would take 29.45 years to complete that research; by the end of that time, another 31,656 cryptos would have been launched.

Pump-and-dumpers instinctively know those details, and they take advantage of them. PNDers also take advantage of a universally human characteristic, one which transcends every means of identification and classification: greed.

The shitcoins are in the shadows of the crypto world, and they need all the help they can get. They have their place, and anyone can benefit from them if they're handled properly. Hype by itself isn't a bad thing or a good thing; it's just a tool. When PNDers use hype for their schemes, that's when we need to be extra careful.

Fiction's Pump-and-Dumpers

Han Solo, the Star Wars franchise
Image Source for Collage: That Hashtag Show
The smuggler and scoundrel who claims to have set the record for completing the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs (or time-parts, depending on which version of the first movie you see) meets his "clients" at the cantina at Mos Eisley Spaceport to see if they can pay him whatever fees and rates he quotes them for his services.

Since he had to dump his previous cargo due to interception by Imperial Fleet forces, he found himself wih a price on his head placed by his "client" Jabba the Hutt. Before Han Solo brings his new "clients" aboard his ship, he encounters a bounty hunter named Greedo. Just before Greedo attempts to off Solo, Han shoots first.

Faye Valentine, Cowboy Bebop
Image Source for Collage: Costume Realm
In the world of the acclaimed anime series Cowboy Bebop, Faye Valentine is a bounty hunter ("cowboy") who's always broke due to her habit of spending future woolongs before it reaches her electronic wallet device.

Before teaming up with two bounty hunters on their ship, the Bebop, and even during their partnership, she's played a number of roles to get that money, including: damsel in distress and a date for the wealthy.

Although she has redeeming qualities, she's a slave to her bad habits, and as a result she's up to her eyeballs in debts to her creditors. That's one reason to go for the pump-and-dumps.

Quark, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Image Source for Collage: Gfycat
Quark, the Ferengi owner of the bar bearing his name aboard the space station Deep Space Nine, is (to be charitable) a complex figure. Quark isn't a bad guy. Quark isn't a good guy. Quark is Quark, and that's the best to be said about him.

As the proprietor of his establishment, he has his hands in all sorts of activities which gain him the curency known as gold pressed latinum.

His bar has a casino, entertainers, holosuites for running any program a client desires, and a secret backroom for shady deals. He's always on the radar of the station's Chief of Security.

He always has plans to make money coming and going as well as hand over fist. As bar owner, he learns about the plans of his customers and finds ways to get his cut from whatever they have planned-- hostage rescue, tax evasion, phony marriage, homeworld politics, and other schemes.

If he was real and could travel to our time and place, he would discover these two cryptocurrencies he could pump-and-dump with the next PNDer below: Quark (QRK) and QuarkChain (QKC).

(Cosmo) Kramer, Seinfeld
Image Source for Collage:
In the hit series Seinfeld, we rarely if ever see Kramer working. The few times we see him working a job he gets fired in the same episode.

So he doesn't work, yet he finds his way into money. He could be collecting unemployment, but for 8 years (the run of the series)?

Over the course of 8+ seasons, Kramer has done the following to pay his rent (among other things):
● gambling (legal horse racing and illegal cockfighting);
● lawsuits (spilled coffee, darkened teeth from major tobacco smoking);
● 10-cent/bottle redemption in Michigan using a "borrowed" United States Postal Service truck.

Along the way he's assumed identities such as Dr./Professor Martin Van Nostrand (see image collage) and H. E. Pennypacker.

Out of all the pump-and-dumpers shown in the collage above, Kramer has to be either the most colorful or the most insane.

Rocket (Rocket Raccoon in comics), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Image Source for Collage: Radio Times
The biography for Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper in the Marvel movies) explains far better than I can the type of being Rocket is:

¶ Also known as Subject 89P13, Rocket is the result of illegal genetic and cybernetic experiments conducted on Halfworld. Traveling with Groot, his friend and fellow bounty hunter, Rocket accumulated a criminal record with the Nova Corps that includes 13 counts of theft, 22 counts of escape from incarceration, 7 counts of mercenary activity, 15 counts of arson—and a note that he tends to bite.

Pumping-and-dumping qualifies as theft due to the fraud involved over a prolonged period.

Even if he's aiding The Good Guys in their efforts to save the galaxy from all threats (including Thanos), it pays to keep both eyes plus the inner third eye on Rocket.

Templeton Peck, (a.k.a., Faceman; a.k.a. Face), The A-Team
Image Source for Collage: Pinterest
As part of the A-Team, Templeton Peck-- Face-- was the one who "procured" or "libertated" whatever items or assets were needed by his fellow soldiers of fortune in exile in Los Angeles for a crime they didn't commit. If the team needed supplies or equipment or sensitive information, Face was the one charged to get them.

In short, Face is the con man of the team.

Often, to get whatever the team needs, Face has to run scams. While it's true that the scams Face runs are done to people we would consider villains or heels, scams are scams-- and scams involve fraud.

If the dictionary had a picture beside the definition of the word "grifter," it would be the face of Templeton Peck.

  • If anyone can think of any other fictional characters who can be considered pump-and-dumpers in the world of crypto, please comment with the character and why that character would be a PNDer. Suggestions can come from movies, television, comics, animation, novels, and other forms of fiction. If possible, please provide a link to an image representing that character. If enough additional characters are submitted, I'll do an new post featuring those characters and give credit where credit is due.

  • If anyone has suggestions for any other kind of people in crypto (HODLer, FUDster, etc.) do the same as for PNDers but also include their crypto archetype. When enough are gathered, they'll be featured in a future post in the series and credit will be given where credit is due.

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Individual CharactersRocky Balboa, HODLer
ArchetypesPeople in Crypto: Pump-and-Dumpers

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