YouTuber Logan Paul’s CryptoZoo NFT venture is a complete mess • TechCrunch

Given Logan Paul’s dubious history on YouTube, it in all probability doesn’t come as a shock that his CryptoZoo NFT venture has allegedly turned out to be a rip-off. Some buyers ended up dropping as much as half one million {dollars}, in response to impartial YouTube reporter Coffeezilla. The event of CryptoZoo has been stalled attributable to alleged nonpayment of coders.

The 27-year-old Paul rose to prominence in 2013 by posting sketches on Vine; however when the quick video platform shut down, he transitioned to YouTube and even fights within the WWE. In August 2021, Paul took to his YouTube podcast to announce his NFT venture.

“It’s so enjoyable. It offers a yield with a token, it could actually earn you cash, and as an individual who understands, I feel, the NFT house sufficient to know what works, what individuals need and what they’re in search of, I feel my recreation goes to make some waves,” Paul mentioned.

Between his main YouTube channel and his podcast, Paul has round 28 million subscribers, plus one other 24.6 million followers on Instagram and 16.6 million on TikTok. In different phrases, he had the viewers essential to generate hype round a brand new assortment of NFTs.

Paul’s followers may purchase an NFT of an egg, which hatches into an animal that’s assigned one in every of 5 ranges of rarity. These animals will be bred to supply extra eggs that hatch hybrid animals, which even have particular rarity ranges. When animals are hatched, they yield $ZOO tokens — the rarer the animal, the extra it yields.

Paul promised followers that they may play video games with their animals, which might ultimately “enter the metaverse,” in response to CryptoZoo’s product roadmap. However many of the targets on the product roadmap haven’t been achieved.

The impartial reporter Coffeezilla launched a three-part video collection on the finish of December, chronicling his analysis into what went mistaken with CryptoZoo. Because it seems, Paul had employed a number of con males to work on the venture.

TechCrunch has reached out to Paul’s supervisor Jeff Levin for remark.

Coffeezilla interviewed Cryptozoo’s developer “Z,” who’s holding the code hostage for $1 million, since he claims that Paul by no means paid him. In a response video, Paul claimed that “Z” is definitely Zach Kelling, a convicted felon.

“I do know what you’re considering. What kind of fool would work with an unsavory particular person like Zach Kelling?” Paul says in his response video. He blames this rent on Eddie Ibanez, the previous lead developer of CryptoZoo. “I suppose that’s what I get for trusting the workforce that I relied on to vet and handle Eddie’s hiring course of, who has turned out to be an expert con man.”

However Ibanez’s scammy previous just isn’t new info. In February 2022, Philadelphia tradition weblog Billy Penn — a part of the regional NPR community — reported an investigation into the tech founder’s previous.

Whereas working an information analytics firm referred to as Zenabi in 2019, Ibanez was accused of sharing delicate information about one in every of his purchasers, the Mormon church, with one other consumer, the Worldwide Champions Cup. He additionally claimed on his web site to have labored with the CIA and two NFL groups — he even mentioned that he had a Philadelphia Eagles Tremendous Bowl ring from their victory in 2018. However Billy Penn reported that Ibanez by no means even met with anybody from the Eagles till after the Tremendous Bowl, and although Ibanez did have some conferences with the workforce, these conversations by no means changed into an precise partnership. Ibanez additionally claims to have studied at MIT, however the MIT Information Workplace advised Billy Penn that he was by no means enrolled on the college.

Then, Zenabi obtained a complete of $1.5 million in PPP loans from the federal authorities. Across the identical time, Ibanez’s landlord sued for $118,000 in again hire and property harm. Based on a former Zenabi worker who spoke to Billy Penn, Zenabi is being investigated by the FBI about its PPP loans.

Regardless of a laundry listing of suspicious claims, Paul continued working with Ibanez till July 2022.

This isn’t the primary time that Paul has been accused of selling crypto scams — in July 2021, he promoted the “shitcoin” referred to as Dink Doink, which just about instantly misplaced all of its “value.”

Different influencers like Kim Kardashian have confronted penalties for selling crypto to their followers with out the mandatory disclosures. The SEC settled with Kardashian for $1.26 million over her partnership with EthereumMax. Although she wrote “#ad” on the backside of her Instagram publish, the SEC mentioned she ought to have disclosed that she was paid $250,000 for the promotion.

What does the longer term maintain for CryptoZoo? Nicely, nothing, till Logan Paul manages to get that code again from Zach Kelling, who Coffeezilla says fled to Switzerland. However Paul ended his response video with a promotional display screen, stating that CryptoZoo is coming in 2023 or 2024.

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