What are fake tokens?
Perry avatar
Written by Perry
Updated over a week ago

Fake tokens are counterfeit digital assets designed to look like legitimate cryptocurrencies. They are often named after existing, well-known tokens and may even replicate their symbols and branding. The primary goal of creating these tokens is usually to mislead investors and capitalize on the reputation of established cryptocurrencies.

How are Fake Tokens Created?

Creating a new token in the cryptocurrency world is relatively straightforward. Anyone with basic blockchain knowledge can issue a new token on various blockchain platforms. These tokens can then be given any name, including that of well-known currencies such as USDC (USD Coin). However, despite sharing a name, these fake tokens are not associated with the legitimate currency they imitate.

Checking the Token Contract Address:

One crucial step in identifying a fake token is verifying its contract address. Each token on a blockchain has a unique contract address. It's essential to compare this address with the official one listed on the legitimate token’s website or official communications.

Liquidity Pools and Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs):

The creation of liquidity pools on DEXs is permissionless, meaning anyone can establish a new pair, including with a fake token. Scammers often take advantage of this by creating a pair that features a counterfeit token with the same name and image as a real token.

Some Preventive Measures:

1. Use Official Token Lists: Always select tokens from the official token lists provided on DEXs. Avoid using links from unverified sources.

NOTE: Also be aware of malicious dApps that imitate legitimate projects or protocols.

2. Check Creation Date and Transaction History: Look into the token’s creation date, transaction history, and the number of coins in circulation. A newly created token with minimal history can be a red flag.

3. Verify Contract Authenticity: Check if the token’s contract is verified and scrutinize it for authenticity. Many blockchain explorers provide tools to verify contracts.

4. Examine the Token’s Market Activity: Real tokens usually have substantial market activity and are listed on multiple exchanges. Be wary of tokens that do not show much activity or are listed on obscure platforms that you don't recognize.

What to Do If Unsure:

If you have doubts about a token's legitimacy, do not hesitate to reach out for verification. Use official channels like a project’s Discord server or the official Avalanche Discord. When it comes to learning more about extra precautions on transactions in DeFi, check out our Transaction Hygiene article.

For any additional questions, please view our other knowledge base articles or contact a support team member via the chat button. Examples are for illustrative purposes only.

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