How to Spot Crypto Con-Men from a Mile Away
Outrageous upside is one of the benefits of owning the first truly new asset class in 300 years. These gains will be served up by people with dedication, vision, and the work ethic to innovate new tokens and new technology.
It’s going to be incredible – and the good news is, you’re in early.
Not so incredible, though: there are going to be more grifters, scam artists, and fools who are going to try and cheat you out of your money or convince you to own garbage because they think it’s gold. There are going to be pitchmen, but at the end of the day, pitchmen don’t create, do they? That’s not what crypto needs.
So how do you tell the difference? Millions of people, including several multibillionaires, including people who, in theory, should have been smarter, just fell hook, line, and sinker for one of the biggest, most expensive disasters in digital history.
You have to know the real subject matter experts, the ones you need to take seriously, and how to spot fakers. Here’s how you do that…
The Geniuses Have a Few Things in Common
Let me be perfectly clear: There are some real visionaries out there doing amazing work in crypto. Just last month, I got the chance to sit down with Dr. Ben Goertzel – he’s one of them. He’s one of the sharpest thinkers in the field of artificial intelligence (A.I.). He even gave us the term “artificial general intelligence. This dude earned a doctorate by age 23.
I got a chance to speak to him recently, and you can see what he had to say right here.
Dr. Ben has some extremely promising A.I. crypto projects in the works, and he’s someone who’s demonstrated real vision by introducing actual novel concepts. He is actively working to push the technology forward, kicking and screaming at times.
He’s also willing to stand by his own work, and the quality of his ideas – make a note of that because it’s going to come up later.
Another good example, we’ve got Charles Hoskinson, the head of the Cardano (ADA) project and one of the original Ethereum team members. Cardano is one of my favorite cryptos, and Hoskinson is a big reason why.
First sign he’s not a grifter; he’s willing to admit fault when something goes wrong, and he’s transparent. He’s willing to move on when something better comes along, rather than ride a project down to smoking-hole-in-the-ground territory. He helped create Ethereum, decided he could do better, and then created a new crypto in order to make it happen.
Maybe most telling of all, Hoskinson was offered 293,000 Ethereum tokens, which would be worth over $300 million today, and turned them down. He’s not in this to make a quick buck.
The thing is, the geniuses are always working, always pushing forward – even when it’s not glamorous. They’re transparent, too, about their successes and their failures.
Can’t say the same for everyone, though…
The Cons and Fools Have Things in Common, Too
On the other hand, we have the crypto-grifters and the idiots. You can identify these people because they act like cult leaders, or they’re extremely slippery about accountability, or opaque, or some combination of all three.
Why are we here in crypto? To make money. Hopefully, a lot of money. That being said, we need to be realistic. We’re not here looking to find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. We’re not expecting to make one lucky move and totally change our lives forever. It could, sure… but it probably won’t. Our time horizon for wealth is denominated in months and, in most cases, years – not hours.
But you can still, after everything that’s happened – the collapses, the frauds, the hundreds of billions in losses – go online right now and find people swearing up and down that they can 10X your stake in a heartbeat if only you’d…
Anybody who tells you that’s going to happen is delusional at best and a scam artist at worst. It’s cult behavior. These people will tell you that if you give them your trust, and your money, you’ll get rich. Probably quickly. That’s it. Simple right? Too simple.
The real world doesn’t work that way. Here at AICI, we know that, while crypto can make us tons of money, we’ll need to wait and be careful with the moves we make for that to happen. The con artist posing as a crypto expert won’t admit that. They’ll tell you they found the metaphorical magic beans, and all your dreams are waiting for you just up that beanstalk there.
In the best cases – which still aren’t all that great – the people promising you this have fallen for something themselves. They bought into Dogecoin (DOGE) or something at the start of the bull run, and they got rich, and now they’re convinced they can see in seven dimensions four steps ahead of everyone else.
These folks have immense social media followings, filled with almost militant “fans,” and apologists, and flaunting an eyepopping degree of wealth. If there were anything that could reliably make you that much money, I’d be doing it – so would everyone, I guess.
These kinds of hype peddlers don’t run on sound fundamentals. They don’t have anything like the 5T’s criteria. They run on pure mystique. They will offer you the idea of being in on the secret, or the idea of benefiting from a miracle. They might spin a tale about how it works, or they might not. Either way, if they’re promising to make all your troubles go away, and trading on loyalty and support for the name of some project or product, don’t believe them.
Real wealth in digital assets comes through relentless innovation and genuine, widespread adoption. Full stop.
As an example, I could obviously mention Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried, since he’s the donkey of the day right now, but he’s probably finished. His fast and loose operation shocked even the hardened veteran administrators of the Enron bankruptcy. People caught an inkling of how little was actually in his asset pool, and it sparked a 1929-style bank run on his FTX exchange that brought the house down.
But before that, he was hailed far and wide as the “Good Guy,” even the savior of some of the first crypto collapses earlier this summer. He donated to all sorts of fashionable causes and was a regular on the legislative hearing and “crypto thinker” circuits.
He also bet big on Solana (SOL), a coin which, as I have mentioned before, runs on terrible and unreliable system architecture.
SBF is finished, along with his depositor/victims. Maybe he really didn’t know what was going on – that doesn’t make what happened excusable. But he’s managed to try and dodge any accountability for it whatsoever and is doing his utmost to try and control the narrative. That’s a huge red flag, too – just the latest in a long line.
I’d point out Mike Novogratz, too, since he hasn’t been ruined by his own greed and ignorance just yet.
And not only is he still out there, acting as a threat to your money, he is also a great example of cult behavior. What behavior? Well, he got a tattoo to celebrate LUNA, an “algorithmic stablecoin.” Then, LUNA collapsed (as all algorithmic stablecoins will).
The fact that he could get that invested in such an unsound concept proves he doesn’t know what he’s doing. At the same time, doing something as over the top as getting a tattoo of a crypto is the exact kind of empty showmanship that’s often a scam red flag.
So before you shell out your hard-earned money, take a hard look at who’s asking. What have they really done? Are they innovating anything real? Have they contributed anything to the technology? Have they owned up to their mistakes? Mistakes aren’t an automatic disqualifier, but trying to cover them up probably is.
The reason these questions are so important is because they’re fundamental to the makeup of a crypto project’s team – one of five critical factors you need to be 100% on before investing in a crypto.