Internet personality Logan Paul hit back at claims that his CryptoZoo NFT game is a scam, blaming bad hiring choices for the lack of progress in the project’s development.
Paul suggested the project was still under development in a video released on Tuesday, and that both he and his manager had lost money trying to “pick up the pieces” following disputes with hires.
The comments came as a response to a three-part series by YouTuber Stephen "Coffeezilla" Findeisen, who accused Paul of peddling a scam and not paying developers involved in CryptoZoo. Paul has since threatened legal action in response to the claims.
The CryptoZoo, which currently consists of NFTs, a marketplace and a yield product, launched in 2021. Players can buy eggs that hatch to create NFTs of animals, some of which caused controversy when they debuted due to the use of stock images. These can then be merged to create hybrid animals which generate yield based on their rarity.
With over 2.3 million subscribers on YouTube, Coffeezilla rose to prominence over the past year for his deep dives into crypto scams, several of which have involved celebrities. Topics he's previously tackled include a pump-and-dump involving former members of FaZe Clan and an investigation into the token SafeMoon, which involved Paul's younger brother and fellow YouTuber Jake Paul.
It’s not the first time Paul has blamed his team for problems with the game. In April 2021, he told The Block that there had been problems with the project’s initial team. He said the situation had been rectified and that there was “a great team now that are still working on it.”
Among Paul's more interesting hires were Eddie Ibanez, CryptoZoo’s lead developer. Both Paul and Findeisen have said Ibanez lied about his educational background and work history, including claims to have worked for the CIA and helped the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl using data science.
Another team member, developer Zack Kelling, held the game code hostage last year for $1 million, an amount he claimed was owed to himself and his team by Paul. Findeisen's video and Paul dispute whether the size of this team was 50 or three people.
“The space is unfortunately ripe for bad actors to infiltrate projects that start with even the best intentions,” said Paul.
Yet despite staffing changes, there has still been little progress in the project or mention of it by Paul, which has worried retail investors who have spent millions buying CryptoZoo eggs. A retweet of Paul's response video was the first activity from the CryptoZoo Twitter account since May 27 last year.
Paul is just one among many celebrities who are finding themselves in hot water over crypto projects they have supported. In October, Kim Kardashian agreed to pay $1.26 million to the U.S. SEC after it charged her with unlawfully promoting EthereumMax token on social media.
Others who promoted MoonPay such as talkshow host Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton are also subject to an ongoing lawsuit which alleges they worked with MoonPay to misleadingly promote Yuga Labs "financial products."
Paul himself has come under fire for his association with another crypto project. In the summer of 2021, he promoted a token named Dink Doink. It’s unclear to what extent he was involved in the project, but he talked about it on social media and featured in a cartoon shared on the token's Twitter. Dink Doink is currently down 99% from its all-time high.
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