A recent Honeypot type scam is just like that.
How does it work?
Best scam I've ever seen:
1. Guy posts his MEW private key in a chat.
2. $5k worth of Minerium in it, no ETH for gas.
3. Half the people in the chat send gas to take it.
4. Smart contract. Auto-sends the $ETH to another address; keeps MNE in the account.
— The Shitcoin Sherpa (@ShitcoinSherpa) April 12, 2018
According to this tweet, our protagonist published the private key to a MyEtherWallet wallet. On that wallet was $5000 worth of Minereum. That's a project that's slowly dying but has a constant low value so it can be sold on an exchange for at least $4000.
If you're not familiar with the concept of crypto wallets, please read this post.
Other chat participants, instead of warning the user that he's publishing his private key and might lose money, hurried to rob him by importing the key into their own MyEtherWallet, expecting to grab the $5000 of MNE. But as with all Ethereum tokens, to send a token from an Ethereum address one needs gas. The wallet in question was empty of ether, and thus gas.
Would-be thieves started sending ether to the address in hopes of fueling it enough to send MNE out, and fell for the trap.
The author made a script which automatically sends all received ether onto his own personal address as soon as it comes in. The constant input of ether caused a constant flow of forwarded ether, and at the moment of writing 0.68 eth was collected.
The MNE in the account is actually just bait because Minereum differs a bit from other ERC20 tokens. Even if someone can make a faster script which sends the MNE before the author's script sends the ether, they can only send 106 MNE even though the total amount of MNE is around 31500.
Minereum has two functions:
balanceOf does show the full amount on an address,
availableBalanceOf shows how much can be moved. Even if someone manages to send the full available balance of MNE out of the address, that's just $17 while the collected amount is around $300 by now.
The address in question is actually one of the Minereum Genesis addresses – addresses the Minereum project was collecting at the beginning to launch their project on. These addresses got the initial amount of MNE which then “mines” the rest of MNE with mathematical algorithms. So
balanceOf is actually the locked “mining” MNE, while
availableBalanceOf is the mined, moveable MNE
A description of genesis addresses can be found at https://www.minereum.com/mining.
Greed knows no bounds, and that's especially true in this new world of cryptocurrency. Be wary of other people's mistakes as they might be just this type of scam. It's always more profitable to be careful and approach things slowly than rush into risk for a quick buck.
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