Tapswap Mining App, Notcoin: The Dangers Of Tap-to-earn Crypto Platforms Trending In Nigeria

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As the topic of virtual and digital currencies, also known as cryptocurrencies, becomes more popular in Nigeria, many platforms have emerged, promising to reward users with crypto points that can be converted to cryptocurrencies and earn money.

The latest trend is mobile applications where users only need to tap on their phone screens several times to earn points, which can later be converted to money. Notcoin, Tapswap, Hamstar Kombat, and Poppo are among the most popular of these crypto platforms.

While some people claim to have earned money from some of these platforms, others are still awaiting fulfillment of promises made, as they claim they have not fully launched their projects.

Most of these platforms are usually from Telegram, which users can download, or even when they are on the app store, one needs to have a Telegram account before accessing them. This is a big red flag, according to Ejike Okonkwo, a tech expert who has been in the crypto sector for over 10 years.

Okonkwo revealed to BBC News that there are many risks for people who sign up for some of these platforms, which are unknown, and the first risk is that access is only through Telegram.

“Telegram is a platform that is very liberal, anything can happen there. One can create an account without verification, and one can delete chats at any time. It’s a platform that hackers would love to use because there are no restrictions,” he said.

Potential Cybercrime Risk

Okonkwo further explained that there is a risk of people losing money, even though the platform does not ask for money yet before people start tapping to earn. “In order for the person to claim the points they have earned, the app may require the person to submit their crypto wallet, which is a potential risk to lose money because you don’t know what might happen.” Also, they may ask you for some payment to double or triple your points. Remember, this is a project that has not launched yet, it may turn out that they will never launch, and people’s money will just go.

As people interact with these platforms with the hope of earning money, they are given different tasks to carry out, such as liking or reposting a social media post, joining online forums, or doing live broadcasts. “Most young people don’t even read the post that the app tells them to like or repost; they just repost because they want to earn tokens. It may be that the post is something illegal, and the person gets into trouble with law enforcement for something they don’t know.”

Exposure to Malware

Okonkwo also said that some of these crypto platforms offer rewards based on the user’s location. Sometimes, users in Europe or America get higher rewards for doing the same tasks than people in Africa. So, some people download Virtual Private Network (VPN) software to pretend they are not in Africa. “Many of these VPNs are malicious software because they collect important data and personal information from users who don’t know what’s happening.” Also, people use click-bot software, so even overnight, the software taps for them, generating points. “Such software is usually very risky,” Okonkwo said.

According to the crypto expert, some of these crypto platforms may just use the tap-to-earn model to generate engagement and awareness for their projects and may not pay people money in the end, or even if they pay, it may be a small amount that doesn’t justify the time people spend tapping on their phones.

Lack of Regulation

Cryptocurrencies are still a controversial topic in Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned any bank from opening crypto accounts or holding or trading any virtual asset. Recently, the Nigerian government arrested two executives of Binance, the largest crypto trading platform in the world, for money laundering, currency racketeering, and tax evasion.

One of the arrested Binance workers, Tigran Gambaryan, is still in Kuje prison in Abuja, while the other, Nadeem Anjarwalla, has escaped. The lack of regulation means that if someone loses money or a crypto platform closes, there is no way for customers to get their investment back. It’s gone.

Another crypto expert, Japhet Jackson, said in an interview with the Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust: “We don’t know who is behind these crypto platforms, we don’t know what their intention is, but we see millions of Nigerians exposing themselves on these platforms. At the end of the day, anything can happen. You may not see the effect now, but in a few years’ time, maybe when you want to use your crypto wallet to do something important, that’s when it will dawn on you what has happened.”

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