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Turkish Twitch streamers involved in $10m money laundering scheme

Bit donations used in scam.

A group of Turkish Twitch streamers have been involved in a money laundering scheme that has reportedly netted $10m.

The scheme was exposed following the Twitch data leak that revealed the top earning streamers on the platform.

As reported by Middle East Eye, a group of Turkish streamers with low follower numbers were generating large amounts of revenue through Bit donations.

Viewers on Twitch can purchase Bits in bulk and then use them to cheer for their favourite streamers to show support, offering a donation in the process. Partnered and affiliate streamers receive one cent per Bit used to cheer for them.

According to Middle East Eye, hackers stole credit card details from random individuals and then negotiated with Twitch streamers to send large payments of money through Bits. Streamers would then refund 80 per cent of the money to various bank accounts owned by the hackers and keep the remaining share, effectively money laundering.

Once the scam was exposed following the Twitch data leak, Turkish Twitch users began a campaign online to "clean Twitch" (#temizTwitch).

One of the campaigners is streamer Grimnax, who was asked to take part in the scam.

"This is something that many of us have been aware of for a long time, but we couldn't confirm Twitch and the owner Amazon nor the audience for years," Grinmax told Middle East Eye.

"We waited for the prominent names on the platform to talk about this issue, as I and mid-level influencers like me weren't loud enough."

Streamer Jahrein, who has 1.7m followers, has publicly called on Twitch to act. "I have testified and shared data I have with the police cybercrime office about fraud," he said.

Twitch has responded to the scheme.

"We want to assure our community that we will not hesitate to take decisive action against accounts engaged in prohibited conduct," said a Twitch spokesperson.

"We take efforts to combat and prevent financial fraud on Twitch on a regular basis, and, in September alone, we took action against more than 150 partners in Turkey for abuse of our monetisation tools.

"We have also worked with those affected who have reached out to us."

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About the author

Ed Nightingale

Ed Nightingale

News reporter

Ed is Reporter at Eurogamer, with an interest in streaming, people and communities, and giving a voice to marginalised people.


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