Twitch Gamer Gifted Over $70k Worth of Bitcoin During Livestream

Colin Muller

A video game streamer was gifted over $70,000 worth of bitcoin yesterday, while he played the game RuneScape on the video streaming service Twitch in front of an audience of about two thousand. The several separate donations came as a shock to Sick_Nerd, the player’s gaming handle.

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Several viewers recorded the stream and Sick_Nerd’s reactions, who had a hard time believing he was not the subject of a prank. He wrote yesterday on Twitter:

Thank you to my mysteriously benefactor [sic] whoever you are, genuinely a life changing amount of money that I or nobody deserves [sic] but look what happened. Crazy

Sick_Nerd

The bitcoin was donated by a user going by the handle of “lightpuma."

 

RuneScape, developed by Jagex, is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records in 2017 as having the most users in any Massively Multiplayer Online video game - more than 250 million.

The particular version of the game being played by Sick_Nerd appears to be so-called “Old School Runescape.”

Twitch Accepts Crypto

Twitch began offering a crypto donation option, in addition to Paypal, in mid 2018 through another company called Streamlabs. They then launched support for all the usual suspects: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash. Streamlabs is compatible with Twitch, as well as other streaming platforms such as YouTube, and offers a full suite of software to help streamers manage their livefeeds, content, and donations.

Some gamers make big money livestreaming their play, with one of the biggest streamers claiming to take in $20,000 a month from a combination of donations, advertisements, and subscriptions on Twitch and YouTube. According to TwitchTracker.com, 560 billion minutes worth of Twitch was watched during 2018, all the way from 292 billion in 2016.

Bitcoin ‘Sextortion’ Scheme Netted Cybercriminals Over $330,000

Blackmailers have reportedly managed to rake in over $330,000 worth of bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, through an email-based ‘sextortion’ campaign that has been ongoing since at least 2017, and saw its activity surge last year.

According to a report published by UK firm Digital Shadows, the cybercriminals received said amount from over 3,100 unique BTC addresses. The funds ended up in 92 different bitcoin addresses believe to belong to the same organization, that could reportedly be making an average of $540 per victim.

The firm’s report, first spotted by The Next Web, tracked a sample of 792,000 emails sent to victims. The ‘sextortionists’ reportedly sent them an email that would include a known password as “proof” they hacked them, and claimed to have video evidence of them seeing adult content online.

The threat was that the video would be published online, if a ransom in BTC wasn’t paid. Last year, Cornell University computer science professor Emin Gün Sirer warned potential victims to “never pay, never negotiate” with cybercriminals trying to extort them.

Per Sirer, the emails were being sent to every email account on the popular website haveibeenpwned, which shows whether emails addresses had their data leaked on well-known online security incidents.

A Sophisticated Operation

The UK firm’s report seems to show the ‘sextortion’ operation was a sophisticated one, as scammers were seemingly trying to hire more people to help them target high-net-work individuals.

These hires could be getting high salaries, up to $768,000 a year, if they had experience in network management, penetration testing, and programming. The cybercriminals have notably also been using social media to target their victims.

The scammers’ capabilities are said to have varied in skill, as while some struggled to distribute a large amount of emails that could get past email server or spam filters, others managed to show high levels of sophistication, with emails sent from accounts specifically created for the campaigns.

Moreover, these campaigns were launched on a global scale, as the servers the emails came from were in five different continents. The highest amount of emails came from Vietnam, Brazil, and India. These servers could, however, have been compromised by the scammers as well.