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Who Is Coffeezilla, the YouTube Detective Exposing Crypto Scams?

11 mins
Updated by Artyom Gladkov
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As the global economy remains challenging and uncertain, more and more people are looking for alternative avenues of income. The first place many of them look is online. This has brought self-proclaimed “financial gurus” into the limelight, many of whom promote pump-and-dump schemes at the expense of investors. Stephen Findeisen, best known as Coffeezilla, is one of the most prominent crypto YouTubers investigating scams and fraud in crypto. The influencer exposes pump-and-dump schemes and other types of fraudulent activities within web3.

This article covers everything you need to know about Coffeezilla, including what he does, how he makes money, and the most prominent alleged scams he has exposed or covered.

Introducing: Coffeezilla

who is coffeezilla

Who is Coffeezilla?

Coffeezilla, real name Stephen Findeisen, is a 38-year-old American YouTuber and citizen journalist with over three million subscribers on YouTube. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University. 

Coffeezilla started his YouTube channel in 2018 and didn’t reveal his identity until he was doxxed in 2020. The sites that doxxed him published his full name, old address, and defunct phone number, among other accusations.

What does Coffeezilla do?

Coffeezilla is a YouTube content creator whose platform is based on investigating and exposing scams and fraud by ‘financial gurus’ and companies.

After graduating, he started posting content on his YouTube channel while working for a local builder. His content gradually shifted from short videos on pop science tropes to commentary critiquing individuals and companies promoting multi-level marketing schemes. 

Stephen’s content also focused on exposing fake gurus and their get-rich-quick schemes detrimental to their audiences. As his audience grew, he started tackling bigger online scams in crypto, web3, and decentralized finance (DeFi).

Coffeezilla uses in-depth investigation and analysis of crypto influencers and projects to educate his viewers on potential pitfalls and scams they may encounter. 

He gained a good reputation in the crypto space for exposing how fraudulent crypto projects use traditional and internet celebrities to promote pump-and-dump schemes. His critical approach to investigating these individuals and projects has made him one of the most notable crypto investigators in the industry.

Five years ago search was low because the average person didn’t know what crypto was. Today it’s because the average person does know what crypto is.
Mostly scams, money laundering, and ponzis. (and a few ppl actually trying to build tech.) Until crypto is way safer, the average person is better to stay away

CoffeeZilla: Twitter

Coffeezilla has called out influencers like Dillon Danis, Jake Paul, Logan Paul, entrepreneurs like Eddie Ibanez and Sam Bankman-Fried, and a suite of prominent crypto scams.

What motivated Coffeezilla to start investigating crypto scams?

Coffeezilla told Lex Freidman in a 2022 podcast episode that his interest in scams grew after his mother was diagnosed with cancer. He saw many snake oil salespeople peddle health cures to his mom, leaving him with a distaste for deceptive marketing and “grifters.”

In college, Coffeezilla saw his friends get drawn in by multi-level marketers and subscribe to ineffective financial advice magazines. 

These instances motivated Coffeezila to hunt down scammers and hold them accountable for their actions. When he discovered crypto, he realized the industry had a significant problem with scams and fraudulent projects, but that few people were talking about it. He wanted to go where no one was going and expose unethical practices in the industry.

What are some of the challenges Coffeezilla faced?

Doing videos that expose scams and call out celebrities and entrepreneurs has resulted in backlash for Coffeezilla. The YouTuber has been threatened with legal action and received cease and desist letters. The backlash also comes from “investors” of the projects he tackles who are in denial about the scams. Coffeezilla gets attacked online by these “investors” when he posts his content on Twitter and YouTube.

The worst online attack happened when he was doxxed, and somebody released his details to the public. The doxxing also came with some incriminating rumors that he was a cocaine user and domestic abuser. This led him to make a video to address the situation. Before the doxxing, Stephen had maintained a pseudonymous persona on his YouTube channel.

In an attempt to prevent future lawsuits, Coffeezilla adds a disclaimer to all his videos. These state that the contents of his videos are opinions and are not statements of fact.

Why is Coffeezilla important?

Recent developments in crypto and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have attracted much attention to web3. However, this interest has increased the frequency of scams and hacks in the industry. Independent sleuths like Coffeezilla hope to make web3 safe by uncovering scams and keeping crypto companies accountable.

Coffeezilla and other independent investigators are essential because the industry lacks proper regulation and is mostly left to the community to self-monitor. Moreover, most people can’t do deep-dive research on crypto projects and need guidance from investigators like Stephen. 

Crypto investigators use several techniques and leverage blockchains‘ transparent and immutable nature to uncover scams. Coffeezilla invests a lot of time and resources to track down stolen crypto or NFTs and follow up on projects. This commitment to the cause aims to educate and protect people and make web3 safe and legitimate.

Rather than having an onboarding system that is shaky and riddled with a reputation for scams and fraud, investigators like Coffeezilla can make crypto a more welcoming space for enthusiasts and beginners.

“My sense is that most reporters don’t have the stomach for fraud beats. They can’t imagine another human could be so monstrous to steal from others, and so they soften the story.“

– Coffeezilla: Twitter

How does Coffeezilla make money?

Coffeezilla is likely earning a significant portion of his revenue from his YouTube channel through advertisements. YouTube shares some revenue from the ads displayed on his YouTube video with the content creator. The amount he gets from the platform depends on video engagement, views, and performance. Unlike other YouTubers, Coffeezilla doesn’t accept sponsors.

He also has a Patreon account where his channel members donate $5 monthly to access exclusive content. Another source of revenue for the creator has been through selling merchandise. Many YouTubers create and sell merchandise related to their content and channel, and Coffeezilla has run limited merchandise sales in the past.

Alleged scams uncovered by Coffeezilla

Coffeezilla is one of the most prominent crypto investigators known for his in-depth research and uncovering of crypto scam projects. Let’s look at some of the most notable alleged and confirmed fraud cases in the crypto markets he’s worked on.

CryptoZoo

Logan Paul, a YouTuber and online influencer, first endorsed the CryptoZoo project in August 2021 on his podcast ‘Impaulsive.’ CryptoZoo was designed as a play-to-earn game offering handmade art in the form of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). The project is a Pokémon-inspired game where players can purchase NFT eggs and hatch them to reveal different animals. The players could breed the animals to create hybrid creatures to sell for $ZOO tokens. 

Logan Paul promoted CryptoZoo as a chance for players to generate income within the game and convert the tokens into fiat currency.CryptoZoo launched in September 2021 with 10,000 eggs valued at around 0.285 ETH (approx. $400 today) each. However, when the eggs hatched, they revealed generic stock photos of random animals without a mechanism to yield $ZOO tokens.

A year later, Coffeezilla released a three-part series on CryptoZoo alleging the team engaged in market manipulation. He criticized Logan Paul’s team, which included Eddie Ibanez and Jake Greenbaum (“The Crypto King”), claiming they made millions by cashing out early.

zoo token
Zoo value: CoinMarketCap

Logan Paul initially responded to Coffeezilla by threatening legal action but never filed a lawsuit against the creator. Paul later deleted the video and apologized to Coffeezilla and the people who bought into CryptoZoo, promising refunds from his ETH supply. The $1.3 million reward program was to recoup investors who lost money in the project, and he also promised to burn all his tokens. 

Coffeezilla persistently followed up with Paul about the refunds after exposing the scam, but the influencer has yet to pay back his fans.

A class action lawsuit was filed against Logan Paul and his team for their involvement in CryptoZoo. The suit claimed, “unbeknownst to the customers, the game did not work or never existed, and Defendants manipulated the digital currency market for Zoo Tokens to their advantage.”

Dillon Danis

Dillon Danis is a 30-year-old ex-MMA fighter with a history in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Danis has over 800,000 followers on Twitter and two million followers on Instagram. He has been called out by crypto sleuth ZachXBT on Twitter for promoting obvious scams that were pump-and-dump schemes. 

In February 2023, Coffeezilla released a video titled “I Scammed Dillon Danis,” revealing he paid the influencer $1,000 to promote a fake NFT. In the video, Stephen used an intermediary to approach Dillon with the “weakest facade possible” for the fake project, but the influencer never caught on.

The fake NFT project link Dillon promoted on his Twitter account led to a website with screenshots of all the scam tweets he’d ever posted. Coffeezilla, with the help of ZachXBT, found over 20 projects that Dillon promoted, with many being scams and rug pulls. Dillon promoted the tweet without reading the contract outlining how the NFT project was fake.

Coffeezilla successfully proved that influencers like Dillon Danis don’t do their due diligence nor vet the crypto projects and NFTs they promote. The influencer didn’t even disclose it was an ad to indicate he had been paid to promote the fake project.

Save the Kids crypto scandal

Save the Kids token was launched in June 2021 and was promoted by many influencers as a charity token. Influencers who announced they were the project brand ambassadors included Faze Clan members Kay (Frazier Khattri), Teeqo, Jarvis Nikan (Nikan Nadims), and others.

Coffeezilla investigated the project and found it was a pump-and-dump scheme that used influencers to jack up the price before a massive sell-off. He found all the whales in the coin sold off their shares immediately after the launch, tanking the value of Save the Kids.

Save the Kids token quickly became a failed crypto project, and Coffeezilla posted subsequent videos investigating whether the influencers were also scammed or were part of the scam. 

Some influencers deleted the tweets promoting the project and claimed ignorance of the rug pull. Consequently, Faze Kay was expelled from Faze Clan for his part in the project, and the rest of the members were suspended. Coffeezilla found Kay dumped all of Save the Kids tokens immediately and had a pattern of malicious selling.

SBF

Sam Bankman-Fried was the founder of FTX, a crypto derivatives exchange platform. FTX collapsed and filed for bankruptcy in November 2022. The disgraced founder was arrested and charged with multiple fraud counts after diverting customer funds from FTX to his hedge fund company, Alameda Research. He also allegedly misappropriated funds.

ftx
FTX token: CoinMarketCap

Coffeezilla engaged Sam Bankman-Fried in three interviews months before he was arrested. In one of these interviews, SBF allegedly admitted to co-mingling funds from FTX leading up to the bankruptcy.

SafeMoon

SafeMoon is a token that launched in 2021 on the Binance Smart Chain blockchain. Celebrities like Lil’ Yachty, Nick Carter, and Logan Paul endorsed the token, boosting its popularity. 

SafeMoon has no real utility and is designed to reward long-term holders through transaction fee charges. The token charges a 10% fee to senders, with 5% of the fee distributed to SafeMoon holders and the other half going to liquidity pools. This reward system encouraged long-term investment and disincentivized those who wanted to sell.

safemoon
SafeMoon: CoinMarketCap

In April 2022, Coffeezilla started a series of videos on his investigation and findings on SafeMoon. He quickly discovered that the founder was slowly rug-pulling the project. While the project leaders claimed a rug pull was impossible, the source code used for SafeMoon was from a token that was also rug-pulled.

A class action lawsuit was filed against the creators of SafeMoon and all the influencers who promoted the token. They stand accused of pumping and dumping the coin. The legal case is ongoing.

Independent investigators play an important role in web3

Coffeezilla and other independent sleuths in the crypto space are an important part of the ecosystem. The crypto industry is largely unregulated, and Coffeezilla is one of the few individuals fighting to increase accountability and create awareness of fraudulent schemes. His critical approach to these investigations distinguishes him from other crypto content creators.

Frequently asked questions

What is Coffeezilla’s real name?

How much does Coffeezilla make?

Is Coffeezilla an engineer?

What does Coffeezilla have a degree in?

Is Coffeezilla a real journalist?

What happened between Logan Paul and Coffeezilla?

Where is Coffeezilla based?

What YouTubers are like Coffeezilla?

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Disclaimer

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Alex Lielacher
Alex Lielacher is an experienced figure on the Crypto world. Journalist and founder, an agency that works with a range of bitcoin businesses. He first came across bitcoin in 2011 and has worked full-time in the cryptocurrency industry since 2016. Previously Managing Editor of Bitcoin Market Journal, Alex holds a first-class honors in Investment and Financial Risk Management from Bayes Business School. Today, Alex contributes to leading media publications and works with a range of bitcoin...
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