Dark Side of Crypto: 98% of Projects Listed on Uniswap Are Scam (Study)

A new study has found nearly all crypto projects listed on Uniswap between 2018 and 2021 were malicious and scam-related. 

The study titled DO NOT RUG ON ME: ZERO-DIMENSIONAL SCAM DETECTION, was conducted by three researchers; Bruno Mazorra, Victor Adan, and Vanesa Daza from the University of Pompeu Fabra and the University of Barcelona. 

Could Uniswap Be Housing Fake Projects? 

Uniswap was created in 2018, and the protocol describes itself as a growing network of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications.

The DEX has more than 40,000 Ethereum smart contract (ER20) compatible tokens hosted on the platform to provide users with options for trading different crypto assets. Over the years, Uniswap has become one of the most significant DeFi protocols in the industry, processing more than $1 trillion in trading volume since its inception. 

While Uniswap is the biggest DEX in crypto, recent findings by researchers show that 98% of all the projects listed on the protocol between 2018 and 2021 were rug pulls. 


Rug pull is a popular technique used by scammers to defraud DeFi investors. They develop new projects, create marketing hype, and abandon the project while running away with investors’ funds. 

The study found that Uniswap’s simplicity and lack of regulation make it a target for malicious actors to efficiently conduct initial coin offering (ICO) scams by listing non-valuable tokens on the platform. 

The researchers surveyed 27,588 tokens, of which 631 were classified as non-malicious and 26,957 were identified as malicious. A total of 24,870 tokens labeled as malicious are quick pulls, while the remaining 2,087 are not LP burns. 

The result was compiled by generating the history of all tokens listed on the platform from launch to 2021 using an Infura archive node 18 and the Etherscan API 19 for analysis and labeling.

“To obtain the state of the Uniswap exchange and the tokens, we used the events produced by their respective smart contracts. Any node connected to Ethereum JSON-RPC API can observe these events and act accordingly. Events can also be indexed so that the event history is searchable later,” the researchers said. 

Crypto Community Reacts 

As expected, the latest investigation received backlash from the crypto community after it was shared on Twitter by the crypto proponent, Drnick.

A Twitter user questioned the efficiency of the investigation, noting that the model used to conduct the research needed the inclusion of the token’s liquidity/volume.


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