What does Shill mean in Crypto?

A shill, or shilling, refers to the person or the act of enthusiastically promoting a cryptocurrency or a crypto project, for their own personal gains.

Example: “Of course he tells you to buy it, he’s a total shill!”


As a popular term in this space, a “shill”, or “shiller” encourages others to invest in a cryptocurrency. So that the interest grows, people buy it, and the price of the coin or token increases.  


A shiller is basically a scammer in the crypto-world. They may have bought some crypto and hope to sell it at a profit. Also, many crypto projects allot bounties for influencers who “shill” their crypto. 


The word “shill” didn’t originate in the crypto world. For example, the use of shills are pretty regular by casinos around the world. The collaborators are given a stack of chips to play, so that the other gamblers don’t have to feel alone in losing.


Everyone has their own opinion on what constitutes a shill. Sometimes, we can se the use of shilling when a person makes negative, sometimes false, accusations about a specific cryptocurrency. A shiller may want a competing crypto to fail, so that his or hers becomes more valuable. 

John McAfee and Elon Musk

If you’re familiar with the cryptocurrency space, you’ve likely heard of John McAfee, the creator of the eponymous anti-virus software. He has an infamous wager where he promised to ingest his (…) if Bitcoin didn’t reach a price of $1 million by December 31, 2020. 


As a typical crypto influencer, John McAfee monetized his fame to promote crypto projects and tokens in the ICOs boom in 2017. He admitted to charging $105,000 per tweet, and reportedly took a massive percentage of a token’s total supply to promote it.


This isn’t to say that all crypto influencers are shills. Influencers play a vital role in the crypto space, as they implant an idea into the minds of their community. 


While some promote projects that they hold positions in, others serve as advocates for crypto in a broader sense. For some, Bitcoin influencers, like Saifedean Ammous (author of the book The Bitcoin Standard), the Winklevoss twins (founders of crypto exchange Gemini), MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, as well as Tesla CEO Elon Musk, play an important role as defenders of crypto against its detractors. 


Musk’s name pops up every time Bitcoin influencers are mentioned. Tweets from the tech billionaire about Bitcoin (and Dogecoin) have moved markets in crypto and beyond. Driving millions of engagements and hundreds of thousands of comments.

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