From tasing dead rats to filming himself toying with a hanged corpse, Youtuber and influencer Logan Paul seems to have either no sense of morality or even less intelligence. Now, after another NFT scam, he appears to have finally hit the jackpot with CryptoZoo. This apparently “really fun game that makes you money.” Except… it can’t make you money unless your name is Logan Paul, Jeff Levin, Jake Greenbaum, or Eddie Ibanez, who made millions and stole more from everyone else.
First, to understand the scam, one must understand the game. CryptoZoo ran on a cryptocurrency called ZOO, which could allegedly be used to buy egg NFTs, which could then hatch to become animals. From there on, players were supposed to be able to breed the animals to create rare hybrids, that could then be used to earn ZOO: the rarer the hybrid, the more ZOO one could earn. The hybrid creatures were supposed to be hand-crafted digital art pieces, each masterfully made by ten different artists, and the game was supposed to run like other well-established NFT games, with actual gameplay. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well, it came out that the supposed art masterpieces were actually just stock photos. Regardless, many were enticed and spent millions upon millions on launch day. In fact, before the game even launched, the market cap of ZOO token had reached $2 billion and the trading volume was in the tens of millions of dollars.
With Mr. Paul swearing that he was a changed man, many believed the game would be a success and were eager to see it released. But on launch day, a multitude of problems were realized. First of all, according to many, there was no way to claim your yield, meaning that there was no possible way to collect money from the game, and thereby, the game's main selling point was a lie. Second, if players bought their eggs with Ethereum (which half the player base did), they could not even hatch them: defeating the primary purpose and draw of the game. After a wave of considerable backlash, Logan Paul effectively remained utterly silent on the matter for an entire year and gave excuse after excuse if it was brought up. This was the case until Coffeezilla’s YouTube videos on the issue gained millions of views, and the scam was once again in the public eye.
But what made the game so miserable? Well, according to Logan Paul, the lead developer fled to Switzerland and held the code hostage for $1 million. Of course, there is absolutely no evidence for the Switzerland story; in fact, the only reason the lead developer took the code was because Logan’s team refused to pay him, and he was convinced they were going to steal his work without any monetary compensation. He spent a month trying to negotiate to finally get paid after spending $50,000 a week and hiring 30 engineers. They eventually settled on $1 million, but only after fierce back and forths and attempted exploitation. Furthermore, other members of the Cryptozoo team were also not paid; the members in charge of the blockchain were promised $350,000 but never received any paycheck.
Regardless, Paul was definitely not the shadiest character in the story, notorious scammers Eddie Ibanez and Jake Greenbaum were also involved. Ibanez is a crypto-fraud who claimed to be an orphan, hacked AOL as a teenager, graduated from MIT, worked for the CIA, and worked with the Eagles to help them win the Superbowl: all of which were false statements, as investigations by YouTuber Coffeezilla and journalist Adam Robb have concluded, but he has convinced almost everyone he has worked with. Ibanez has fooled billionaires that he has genuinely befriended over the years and has fooled academia at the highest level. A Google search of “Eddie Ibanez” will return nothing but positive results at the front page. Ibanez was the one who promised $350,000 to the blockchain team and, of course, never delivered. Jeff Levin, the manager of Logan Paul, describes him as a “cool, humble guy” who “never brags.” After Robb confronted Levin about Ibanez’s lies, he deflected to his supposed business skills and stated they would continue working with him. However, Ibanez was supposedly fired months ago, and a new team was hired who also quit because, expectedly, they weren’t paid.
Jake “the Crypto King” came forth to leak text messages of the inner group chat to Stephen Findeisen (YouTube channel Coffeezilla) as the investigation was coming to its climax. Right off the beginning of the text messages, it becomes clear that the entire project was about them making as much money as possible. The group chat is constant talk of how they can make as much money as possible, including the possibility of a presale which they determined could be illegal and therefore did not follow through. However, instead, they stealth-launched the token (meaning they did not inform anyone apart from the in-group about it) and bought as much as possible at the low price to sell in the future and make millions when it can 1000× in price. A lot of behind-the-scenes drama commenced, and the team members backstabbed each other to make as much money as possible. Nonetheless, everyone, apart from Paul and Levin, who have yet to sell, made several millions of dollars.
After Findeisen’s masterful video exposing the entire scandal, Logan Paul responded with a video of his own. In it, he attacks Findeisen’s character and makes outrageous claims which cannot be proved. For one, he claimed that law enforcement described Findeisen’s work as “not anchored to truth” and “often speculative,” which is something that has zero evidence anywhere and Findeisen denies. He also brings up 20-year-old expunged criminal records of someone in Findeisen's videos. However, the supposed criminal has not committed any crimes in the past 20 years and now actively works for criminal reform. After hurling insults and attempting to assassinate his character, Logan Paul concludes with legal threats and an “I’ll see you in court” with an exceptionally obnoxious smile. Findeisen also describes getting semi-threatening messages from an anonymous figure that has worked with Russian oligarchs in a recent podcast episode.