Bitcoin against fake health pass: Italian police dismantle 32 networks operating on Telegram

By: Bharggavi Ssayee

Bitcoin against fake health pass: Italian police dismantle 32 networks operating on Telegram

August 23, 2021 6:56 AM

Italian authorities shut down Telegram groups used to sell fake health passes for bitcoin and cryptocurrency. On the tails, scammers continue to tarnish the image of the latter by using them as a means of payment for fraudulent activities, while on the face, cryptos and blockchain are deployed as a certificate authentication solution. vaccination in some countries or states.


Showing a fake white paw for Bitcoin

According to an August 9, 2021 Reuters article, Italian police shut down 32 Telegram groups used by criminals to sell fake health passports paid for in bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. The price of these can go up to 500 €. The false documents are intended for Italians who have already received at least one injection of the vaccine against covid-19, or recovered recently, or who have tested negative while going to cinemas, museums, restaurants, etc.


This is not the first time that scammers have offered fake vaccination certificates against cryptocurrency. A June 1, 2021 report from Coinfirm thus indicates that scammers are not only selling fake vaccination documents, but also fake vaccines, and other bogus drug tests on the darknet. Sellers get paid primarily in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Dash, Litecoin (LTC), Tron (TRX), Monero (XMR), and Zcash (ZEC).


Health pass and blockchain: window dressing or real innovation?

If cryptocurrencies are often singled out as a means of payment used in illegal transactions, cryptos and blockchain are also used in projects to fight against counterfeit “sensitive” products. This is for example the case of the Republic of Saint-Martin, a microstate in northern Italy, which has decided that part of the vaccine passport for its 30,000 inhabitants will be stored in the form of NFT on the blockchain. public VeChainThor.


The Altötting district in Bavaria, Germany had also implemented a system for storing and verifying vaccination certificates on the IOTA blockchain. The barely launched project, however, has already shown flaws, with Internet users having succeeded in creating false proof of vaccination.


New York State has also embarked on the 2.0 health passport adventure with its Excelsior Pass. Verification of the latter is based on IBM's private solution, the IBM Digital Health Pass.


Scammers continue to publicize cryptocurrencies, using them to get paid for illegal activities. Some projects, however, try to heal the image of Bitcoin and its cadets in this context of a pandemic, such as the Folding @ home project which called on minors to help in the calculations necessary for the development of a vaccine against covid-19. .