Unlock the Secrets: How Crypto Pump and Dump Schemes Work

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Unlock the Secrets: How Crypto Pump and Dump Schemes Work

Understanding How Crypto Pump-and-Dump Schemes Work

Key Takeaways:

  • Crypto pump-and-dump schemes are fraudulent activities where values are artificially inflated for profit.
  • Knowing the signs of a pump-and-dump can protect investors from potential losses.
  • Regulatory bodies are taking steps to combat these schemes, but they still occur in the less regulated crypto market.


Crypto pump-and-dump schemes are a type of securities fraud, which has found a new playground within the cryptocurrency markets. These schemes can lead to significant financial losses for uninformed or unsuspecting investors. Understanding how these operations work, recognizing the warning signs, and being informed about the measures to take if you suspect a pump-and-dump scheme are critical to making safe investment decisions.

What Is a Crypto Pump-and-Dump Scheme?

Pump-and-dump schemes are manipulative efforts that aim to do exactly as the name suggests; 'pump' up the price of a cryptocurrency, only to 'dump' it once the target value is reached. Such activities not only distort the market but also cause unsuspecting individuals to lose their investments when the value plummets.

The Process of Pump-and-Dump in Crypto

Initial Selection and Quiet Accumulation:
Scammers will choose a low-market-cap cryptocurrency and start accumulating it quietly, often over weeks or months.

Spreading the Hype:
Using social media, message boards, and other online platforms, the orchestrators will then spread false or misleading information to create buzz around the selected cryptocurrency, often promising exponential returns.

The Pump:
As new investors start buying in, the price of the cryptocurrency inflates. This is when the pumping is in full effect.

The Dump:
Once the price has been pumped to the desired levels, the original orchestrators sell-off their holdings, thus 'dumping' the coins.

Price Collapse:
Following the dump, the price plummets, leaving new investors with devalued or worthless holdings.

Identifying a Potential Pump-and-Dump

Signs of a Pump-and-Dump:

  • Unusual Trading Activity: A sudden spike in volume without any real-world news.
  • Social Media Promotions: Aggressive promotion campaigns on various social media platforms.
  • Guaranteed Returns: Promises of high returns with little or no risk.

Economic and Social Impact of Crypto Pump-and-Dump Schemes

Market Manipulation:

  • Distorts price discovery process
  • Undermines market integrity

Reputation Damage:

  • Loss of confidence in the crypto market
  • Challenges for legitimate projects to gain trust

Cryptocurrency Regulations and Legal Actions

Regulatory Efforts:

  • Increased scrutiny by governmental bodies like the SEC.
  • Implementation of 'Anti-Money Laundering' (AML) and 'Know Your Customer' (KYC) regulations.

How to Protect Yourself from Crypto Pump-and-Dump

Due Diligence:
Research any cryptocurrency before investing. Review its market cap, volume, whitepaper, and team behind the project.

Critical Evaluation of Promotional Material:
Be wary of material that seems too good to be true.

Monitoring Market Movements:
Keep an eye on sudden movement in the market that lacks any substantial news or updates.

Educating Yourself:
Understanding the technical and fundamental aspects of cryptocurrencies can be your best defense against fraud.

FAQs on Crypto Pump-and-Dump Schemes

Q: Can I make money from a crypto pump-and-dump scheme?
A: While some might profit, it's highly unethical and most participants end up losing money.

Q: Are pump-and-dump schemes illegal?
A: Yes, these schemes are illegal and constitute fraud.

Q: How can I report a crypto pump-and-dump scheme?
A: You can report suspicious activities to financial authorities or regulatory bodies in your country.

By familiarizing ourselves with the mechanics behind pump-and-dump schemes, we can foster a safer investment environment and help the crypto market mature into a legitimate and trustworthy financial landscape. Remember, if an investment opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Invest wisely.

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