Crypto Scams are Driven By Charismatic Leaders and Influencers


Cryptocurrencies have gained significant popularity in recent years, offering the potential for financial growth and technological innovation. However, the world of cryptocurrencies is not immune to fraudulent activities and scams. This article delves into the alarming rise of crypto scams, and their collaboration with influencers and media personalities, leading to detrimental consequences such as pump-and-dump schemes and price manipulation.

The Rise of Crypto Scams

As cryptocurrencies have become more mainstream, so too have the opportunities for scammers to exploit unsuspecting individuals. Crypto scams come in various forms, including fake initial coin offerings (ICOs), pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes, and phishing attacks. These scams often promise lucrative returns or exclusive investment opportunities, preying on people’s desire for quick profits in the volatile crypto market.

One example is the PlusToken scam, which unfolded in 2019 and 2020, defrauding investors of billions of dollars. Another high-profile case involved the BitConnect platform, which collapsed in early 2018 amid allegations of operating a Ponzi scheme. Additionally, the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) has also seen its share of scams, such as rug pulls and exit scams, where fraudulent projects disappear with investors’ funds. These incidents highlight the ongoing challenges and risks associated with the crypto industry, underscoring the importance of due diligence and cautious investing. (Sources: CoinDesk, Cointelegraph, CryptoBriefing).

Scammers and Their Tactics

Crypto scammers are adept at using psychological manipulation and deceptive tactics to lure victims. They create sophisticated websites, whitepapers, and social media profiles that give the illusion of legitimacy. They may impersonate well-known crypto projects, exchanges, or influential figures in the industry to gain credibility. By leveraging the anonymity provided by cryptocurrencies, scammers can easily disappear with investors’ funds, leaving victims with little recourse.

Influencers and Media Personalities: A Double-Edged Sword

While cryptocurrencies offer a decentralized and democratized financial system, they are heavily influenced by social media and the actions of prominent individuals in the industry. Influencers and media personalities, with their large followings and persuasive power, can have a profound impact on crypto markets. However, this influence can be both positive and negative.

Positive Influencer Impact: Education and Advocacy

Some influencers play a crucial role in promoting awareness, education, and responsible investing in the crypto space. They provide valuable insights, share industry news, and highlight legitimate projects. These influencers often act as trusted sources of information, helping newcomers navigate the complex world of cryptocurrencies.

Negative Influencer Impact: Pump and Dump Schemes

Unfortunately, there is a dark side to influencer involvement in the crypto market. Certain influencers and media personalities exploit their influence by participating in pump-and-dump schemes. They may endorse a particular cryptocurrency, hyping it up to their followers and creating a false sense of urgency to buy. Once the price surges due to the increased demand generated by their influence, they sell off their holdings, causing the price to crash. This leaves their followers with significant losses, while the influencers profit from their manipulation.

Media Personalities and Market Manipulation

Media outlets also play a role in shaping public sentiment towards cryptocurrencies. Sensational headlines, biased reporting, and the spreading of misinformation can contribute to market volatility and price manipulation. Media personalities, whether knowingly or unknowingly, can amplify the impact of scams by providing a platform for scammers to promote fraudulent projects or by spreading false narratives that influence market behavior.

Mitigating the Negative Impact

  1. To protect individuals from falling victim to crypto scams and the negative influence of influencers and media personalities, several steps can be taken:
  2. Education and Awareness: Promote widespread education about cryptocurrencies, emphasizing the risks, warning signs of scams, and the importance of conducting thorough research before investing.
  3. Due Diligence: Encourage investors to scrutinize projects and verify the legitimacy of claims. Thoroughly research team members, whitepapers, and community feedback before committing funds.
  4. Regulatory Measures: Advocate for stricter regulations in the crypto space to deter scammers and hold them accountable for their fraudulent activities.
  5. Responsible Influencer Engagement: Encourage influencers to act responsibly, disclose any conflicts of interest, and refrain from participating in pump-and-dump schemes. Transparent disclosure of partnerships and endorsements is essential to maintain trust within their communities.
  6. Media Accountability: Encourage media outlets to verify the information before publishing and provide balanced coverage of the crypto industry. Promote responsible reporting that focuses on accurate information and the potential benefits and risks of cryptocurrencies.

An Interesting Case Study

Within online communities, trust plays a crucial role. However, occasionally, individuals emerge who seek to exploit that trust for personal gain. One such case involves Byron Duane Sneeringer, known as “Duane,” who entered the Hidn Studios Discord server under the guise of representing his community. However, the Hidn Studios community and an individual named “GotRichard,” the Admin of No Pants Profits soon began shedding light on the true nature of Duane’s intentions.

The Arrival of Duane

Byron, going by “Duane,” joined the Discord server, purporting to represent his own community. Unbeknownst to the server members, he had ulterior motives that would only become apparent over time.

GotRichard’s Revelations

As interactions unfolded within the server, GotRichard emerged as a whistleblower seeking to expose Duane’s true intentions. GotRichard, separate from Duane, started sharing information about Duane’s dubious activities and intentions, shedding light on the deceptive nature of his presence in the server.

Unveiling Duane’s Deception

Through GotRichard’s disclosures, the server members discovered that Duane had manipulated their community leader, convincing them of his legitimacy and offering false promises of value. However, as time passed, Duane’s true character was revealed through confrontations and instances of insulting and narcissistic behavior.

Exposing Duane’s Schemes

GotRichard went on to reveal Duane’s involvement in a notorious Ponzi scheme called NRGY. It became apparent that Duane had exploited his own followers, drawing them into this fraudulent scheme. The consequences were devastating, resulting in substantial financial losses for those involved.

NRGY logo

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The Aftermath and Lessons Learned

The revelations about Duane’s true nature and his involvement in the Ponzi scheme highlighted the importance of skepticism and thorough vetting when engaging with unfamiliar individuals within online communities. It underscored the need for due diligence, researching claims, and carefully evaluating the intentions and credibility of those who seek to join a community.

Moving Forward

Following the encounter with Duane, stricter measures will be implemented to vet new members effectively and detect potential scams or deceitful individuals, ensuring the community remains resilient against future incidents of this nature.


The tale surrounding Byron Duane Sneeringer, known as Duane, within the Discord server serves as a cautionary reminder of the risks that exist within online communities. It emphasizes the importance of thoroughly verifying the authenticity and intentions of individuals seeking to join a community. By cultivating an atmosphere of transparency, open communication, and vigilance, communities can protect themselves against those who seek to exploit trust for personal gain.


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