How To Hype Crypto Influencers, Without Disclosing Their Financial Ties

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Some of the projects Mr. Armstrong promoted were small, experimental crypto ventures that eventually ran into trouble. In these cases, he said, he also saw himself as a victim.

“They’re going after the newbie crypto influencer who just got popular and trying to figure out what they should and shouldn’t be doing,” he said. “It’s hard to go from 12,000 subscribers to a million in a year and make all the right decisions.”

Mr. Paul rose to fame as a video blogger and occasional actor; YouTube once chastised him for posting footage of a corpse he found in a Japanese forest. Over the years, he’s turned his internet fame into an eclectic array of entrepreneurial pursuits, including a line of energy drinks.

Mr. Paul became interested in crypto last year as the NFT market started to explode. In a recent interview, he acknowledged that he was still learning how to navigate the crypto market, even as he tried to cash in on the technology. “I’m a person of extreme ideas, not really an executor,” he said.

Mr. Paul participated in some of the initial brainstorming for the Dink Doink project. But the company was eventually run by one of his housemates, Jake Broido, who gave Mr. Paul 2.5% of the tokens originally issued.

In a Tweeter Last June, Mr. Paul called it one of the “stupidest and most ridiculous” cryptocurrencies he had come across and circulated a video of a cartoon character singing lyrics sexually explicit. “That’s why I’m all for it,” he added. He also appeared in a shaky video on Telegram in which he hailed Dink Doink as perhaps his favorite crypto investment.

The campaign was a flop and Mr. Paul was pilloried by YouTube critics. The price of Dink Doink hovered well below one cent, before dropping even further in value over the summer. Mr. Paul said he never sold his tokens or profited from the project. But he said he regretted promoting the play without disclosing his financial involvement. “I certainly didn’t act as responsibly as I should have,” he said.

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