Cryptocurrency Discussions Are Traced on Reddit


Disinformation spread has been the major problem off lately. Thus, scientists have felt the urge to see how the disinformation spreads on one of the most known dark web communities such as the Reddit which is also the best dark web websites. The computer scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have been successful in mapping the ebb and flow of the discussion carried on Reddit about Cryptocurrency. The effort was made not only to see how online discussions can predict the market behavior but at the same time also wanted to gain insights into how disinformation absolutely goes viral in a short span of time. The PNNL data scientist, Svitlana Volkova, who is one of the authors of a study presented at the Web Conference 2019 in San Francisco, stated that Cryptocurrency is a very good proxy program for disinformation.

Over the past couple of years, the frequent ups and downs of Cryptocurrencies have been hitting the headlines and along with that, there have been controversies associated with the disinformation campaigns such as the ones that are orchestrated by the Russian agents during the Presidential campaign of 2016. The cyber security experts are seeing the evidence that the disinformation battle is already rising for 2020. Tracking the disinformation using scientific ways can be a challenge though as due to the fact that the perpetrators tend to blend in with the crowd. On a vast topic such as presidential politics, it is pretty hard to come up with an algorithm that primarily focuses on what is true and what is false.

It is pretty much easier to see how the information gets passed along on well defined Reddit discussion forums that are devoted to the specific Cryptocurrencies such as the Bitcoin, Monero and Ethereum. Thus, Volkova and her co-authors named Emily Saldanha and Maria Glenski, has conducted an analysis of tens of thousands of the comments posted on Reddit for the abovementioned Cryptocurrency coins between 2015 and 2018. The team had also set up a few parameters in order to measure the speed in which the discussion thread took off, how much volume of the threads gets generated, how many people participated in it and how much engagement they showed. This analysis made them understand the clear differences in the activity patterns.

The most popular Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has generated the most activity where it showed that on an average there were 3,600 comments posted per day for Bitcoin as compared to the other Cryptocurrencies such as 500 for Ethereum and 380 for Monero. The people tended to participate quickly for Bitcoin rather than other Cryptocurrencies and responded twice as quickly as Bitcoin posts. Considering the lifetimes, discussions about Ethereum, which is a Cryptocurrency as well as a blockchain development platform, had the largest possible lifetimes. Monero, on the other hand, is said to have favored over Bitcoin for illegal transactions on the dark web having the largest median lifetimes. The posts on Monero were also five times more likely to attract follow-up commentary than posts about the other two Cryptocurrencies.

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