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On a Monday morning in October, in a southern Indiana basement, a 52-year-old grandfather in a Dogecoin hat is patrolling the darkest corners of the crypto world for S**t Coin scammers.

Robert Browning and his motley crew — named the RugSeekers for a popular pump and dump scam called the rug pull — are investigating a tip about a new coin called We Save Moon. They’re examining its source code, wallets and price charts for red flags indicating fraud. Browning enters the coin’s group chat on Telegram, the messaging app where this world hangs out. He starts typing under his alias RobAte25 — a reference to his grandson’s birthday, 8/25 — and moves in for the kill.

Browning, a former contractor turned full-time crypto trader, is the self-appointed sheriff for weeding out fraudsters in decentralized finance, a fast-growing global market that has topped $100 billion in value. The policing comes not from Washington, but instead from places like this home a short drive northwest of Louisville, Kentucky, past corn fields, red barns and highway billboa
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