It may be the Christmas season, but time has proven Grinches can strike at any time. Last year, famous YouTuber Logan Paul announced the launch of his NFT project, “CryptoZoo.” This “game” was supposed to function by providing an environment where investors collect and hatch eggs, fuse animals into hybrids, and collect passive $ZOO tokens off of their NFT creatures. Soon after the September 1st “launch date,” Paul and his team were accused of being scammers after the price of the coin plummeted and the game has purportedly “never worked from the beginning.”
YouTuber Coffeezilla has made the project a source of controversy once again by recently publishing a 3-part docuseries that covers a year of investigative work. The contents provide an almost zoological exhibit on the inner workings of a tumultuous NFT project.
I spent the last year investigating Logan Paul's blockchain scam "CryptoZoo". It became a 3 part docuseries. Part 1 is NOW LIVE. https://t.co/KhVeVJRDeO
— Coffeezilla (@coffeebreak_YT) December 17, 2022
A Zoo Without Animals
“It never worked from the beginning,” claims Helicopter Bob, a CryptoZoo investor who lost $7000 in the project, in Coffeezilla’s first video. “It wasn’t even written into the contract… where you could claim your yield.” News of the lack of the core mechanic of the game preceded the price of $ZOO plummeting 63% within 24 hours. “At this point, Logan Paul basically goes silent on CryptoZoo,” states Coffeezilla. “No more mentioning on podcasts, no more saying he hand-made art.”
Investors were left waiting for signs of continued support in the project. Marketing by Logan Paul for the project was occasionally inferred by the CryptoZoo team in the project’s Discord. Ultimately, the only further mention of the project by the YouTuber was when he claimed that the project failing wasn’t his fault, that there were “bad actors” to be blamed. Chief amongst these bad actors was the developer, referred to as “Z” in the videos, who purportedly held the code for the game hostage. “Z’s” claim was different, however- according to him, he and his team of engineers hadn’t been paid for the work. He states he was wanting to “negotiate” fair payment.
The Cryptozoo story takes an interesting turn in Coffeezilla’s third video. Private messages between Logan Paul, Jake the Crypto King, Paul’s manager Jeff Levin, and CryptoZoo’s “lead developer” Eddie Ibanez, show how some of the earliest conversations about the NFT project were on how to make money without “doing anything that brings SEC eyeballs.” Their solution around the legal issues of a typical presale was to stealth launch the token on June 11th and have the team buy out of the liquidity pool before officially announcing the token on August 18th. The messages continue to grow more colorful as infighting between the team leads to accusations of them scamming each other.
The three-part docuseries is well over an hour worth of content and can serve as a cautionary tale on investing into celebrity backed projects. A statement was released by the SEC back in 2017 cautioning on the potential dangers of investing in celebrity endorsed ICOs, and they appear to mean business- Kim Kardashian was charged in October for advertising assets by EthereumMax without disclosing the payment she received.
At the end of the day, it is always important to DYOR! There are all sorts of opportunities out there.
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