A cryptocurrency called DubaiCoin has shot up in value by more than 1,000 per cent over the last 24 hours after a press release claimed it had been named as the official digital currency of the emirate – only for Dubai’s government to issue a tweet denying the story and calling the announcement “an elaborate phishing scam”.
The bogus statement was circulated on Wednesday via a website called DubPay and claimed: “DubaiCoin will soon be able to be used to pay for a range of goods and services both in-store and online, with the clear intention for the coin to be used in place of traditional bank-backed currencies.
“Circulation of the new digital currency will be controlled by both the city itself and authorised brokers.”
The news was picked up by the tech press and the price of DubaiCoin duly rose from $0.09 to $1.13 on Thursday, according to Crypto.com data, an astonishing gain that came as market leaders bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin and others all dropped by around 10 per cent overnight.
The drastic surge attracted suspicion from the Dubai Electronic Security Centre, prompting it to issue its warning to investors debunking the claim about DubaiCoin’s new status and saying the website it had originated from was a front.
“Dubai Coin cryptocurrency was never approved by any official authority,” the emirati government’s media office tweeted. “The website promoting the coin is an elaborate phishing campaign that is designed to steal personal information from its visitors.”
ArabianChain Technology, the company that founded the coin and says it offers “the first public, decentralised and consensus-driven blockchain in the MENA region”, has also tweeted a warning, denying that it made any such claims about the cryptocurrency and confirming that the website in question is fake.
An official from the company has since told The Khaleej Times that it is investigating.
The Independent has also reached out to ArabianChain for comment.
Tech vloggers like Son of a Tech have been quick to warn crypto-watchers against mining the coin and to do their due diligence before investing.