For better or worse, lawmakers are encroaching on the crypto/NFT space. Nobody is safe, not even OpenSea employees after one (Nate) was charged with wire fraud for profiting 19 ETH via insider trading. A recent tweet from infamous NFT detective ZachXBT pointed out that Nate’s crimes seem small compared to those of influencers and celebrities who continue to shill rugs and scams with no comeback whatsoever.
Do these people deserve a fine or even jail time? Will the law eventually catch up with them? Here’s a rundown of the biggest offenders.
#9 Jay Alvarrez
Alvarrez has an impressive 6 million followers on Instagram; he’s a model, influencer and serial shiller of terrible projects. His Instagram has variously pushed doomed collections and rugs including BabyElon (Alvarrez was cunning here, claiming that he’d missed the presale but would leap on the public mint), Squiggles (the team were doxxed as potential rug artists even before the mint) and Polkago (a coin that briefly pumped but now appears well dead). Alvarrez is unique on the list as most of his rug endorsements come via Insta, but the result is the same: people lose money.
#8 Logan Paul
Logan was involved with promoting EMAX (mentioned earlier and under investigation) but that’s far from his only crypto sin. He promoted F**kElon which turned out to be the most obvious pump and dump of all time. His endorsement came 12 hours before a massive dump, earning him $116k. The now dead coin hasn't tweeted since the 27th of May. Paul has a dubious history in Web3 (as outlined in this thread) and he’s always keen to leverage his 6.4m followers for some easy cash.
#7 Lindsey Lohan
Lohan’s early foray into the NFT world should have raised eyebrows. When she released her first token she accompanied it with a tweet urging Bitcoin “to the moon.” The NFT was sold on Rarible, that notorious ETH marketplace. This early misstep hasn’t stopped Lohan from shilling countless other projects, most of them rugs. Daughter Doge and CanineCartel cost investors fortunes, but MetaNetflix took things to a new level. A tweet from ZachXBT shows the price rising steeply on Lohan’s recommendation only to fall off a cliff. Much like Mark Cuban (more on him later), she makes an enormous amount per endorsement, $25,000 for a tweet and $20,000 for a retweet according to an alleged leak. Crucially (and like most of the other offenders on this list) none of her tweets are flagged as adverts or tagged appropriately.
LilYachty has the dubious honour of rugging people using his own cryptocurrency: YachtyCoin. Despite raising $1.2 million (when the coin was priced at $16) it was subsequently left to plummet to virtually nothing: a successful rug if ever there was one. Rather than cutting his losses, LilYachty went on to endorse and promote RapDoge and Yummy (both rugs). He’s notable for also being involved in Safemoon, a project so dodgy that it’s currently the subject of litigation. Several influencers (including SouljaBoy and Jake Paul) are also in trouble for their involvement with Safemoon, which will crop up repeatedly on this list.
#5 Ice Poseidon
One of the most controversial influencers on the list, Ice Poseidon (real name Paul Denino) made his name streaming and was once escorted off an aeroplane having been swatted. This saw him banned from Twitch but he continued to stream elsewhere, amassing a huge following. Earlier this year Denino urged his many followers to invest in a new platform called CxCoin which would supposedly make it easier for content creators to receive crypto donations. Denino rugged all involved, walking away with $500,000. Worse still, he was completely remorseless on a video with Coffeezilla and apparently bought a Tesla with the profits.
#4 Soulja Boy
Another repeat offender, Soulja Boy has earned a reputation for endorsing any and every rug pull that comes along, never disclosing his tweets as ads. Metabulish was his most egregious scam. Soulja Boy pumped it aggressively as the most “bullish token in the Metaverse” and touted an assortment of upcoming developments including staking, a game and Metaverse lands. The coin briefly pumped, quickly dumped and has since flatlined. He also pushed Safemoon, Safer Mars and plenty of others.
#3 Mark Cuban
Cuban’s NFT antics are legendary. Already a billionaire, he nonetheless saw fit to (allegedly) charge people $100,000s to promote dodgy NFT projects. His NFT company was behind the popular blue ticked @NFT account on Instagram, which had over 1.7 million followers. It pushed countless projects with little to no long term value. A list of collections promoted includes Dabbu, Ghoulies, Greedy Gramps and Apex Predators (all rugs). Others (Pug Ape Society, Non-Fungible Aliens and Billionaire Dogs Club) lost catastrophic amounts of value. Cuban denied any involvement and the account was taken down, but no fines or other punitive measures were taken.
#2 Jake Paul
StickDix was a Jake Paul affiliated collection and clear rug nearly from the outset. Paul pushed it hard, tweeting frequently to his 4.3 million followers and variously appearing on the project Discord. It all came to nothing, of course, and is now recognised as a near-perfectly executed rug. He didn’t stop there either. Other rugs endorsed/publicised by Paul include BoredBunny ($21.1 million), the ironically named Safemoon (yes...that again), ApesInSpace and many, many more. As one of the worst repeat offenders on the list, Paul seems overdue for some legal repercussions.
#1 Floyd Mayweather
Who else were you expecting at number one? Floyd Mayweather’s net worth is at least $450 million (and potentially much more) but that hasn’t stopped him from morphing into one of the biggest NFT scam influencers ever to set foot on Twitter. He fronted two collections (RealFloydNFT and Mayweverse) that turned out to be complete rugs. These netted him over $5 million. Other scams endorsed by Mayweather include the pump and dump RSMoonshot, the $2.1 million rug pull Bored Bunny and Ethereum Max. Ethereum Max is the worst of the bunch. After being heavily pumped by celebrity endorsers it dwindled to nothing and those involved are the subject of legal proceedings.