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Who Is ZachXBT, the Crypto Sleuth Exposing Scams?

13 mins
Fact Checked
by May Woods
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ZachXBT is a revered name in the crypto community. The anonymous user is famous for using his X (formerly Twitter) platform to unmask hacks, scams, and unethical practices in the cryptocurrency sector. Regarded as a crypto digital detective, ZachXBT has exposed several bad actors and scams. His role in uncovering crypto scams led to him being entangled in a defamation lawsuit with Jeffrey Huang, also known as the NFT Trader MachiBigBrother.

This guide offers an overview of who ZachXBT is, the scams he unearthed, and what the ZachXBT Coin ($ZACH) really is.

Who is ZachXBT?

ZachXBT is a revered pseudonymous on-chain detective who is well-known for his extensive on-chain analysis of suspicious influencer rug pulls and NFT projects. To date, nobody really knows who ZachXBT is. The little information known about him is that his name is Zachary, according to a photo tweet shared on his X feed on June 16, 2023.

In the photo shown in the tweet below, we can see that the document issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin, refers to him, the defendant, Zachary, as part of the defamation lawsuit filed against him by the MachiBig Brother. 

However, despite not knowing the real identity of ZachXBT, his work unmasking alleged blockchain and crypto scams and other criminal activities in the crypto sphere precedes him. Many major media outlets have published articles about ZachXBT and the work he has done trying to keep the crypto community safe from potential scams. 

Who are his followers?

With a following of over 430,000 followers on X (Twitter) and a bio that reads “Rug pull survivor turned 2D detective,” some of his followers include leading names in the crypto and web3 sector, like best-selling NFT artist Beeple, Binance’s Co-Founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, and Tron’s CEO Justin Sun. 

Did you know? ZachXBT — the crypto sleuth exposing scams — has exposed over 100 crypto and NFT scams since January 2022!

What does ZachXBT do?

ZACH XBT

ZachXBT’s work involves conducting on-chain analysis and investigating possible misconduct and scams within the crypto sector. He first joined Twitter (now X) in February 2015. 

However, it wasn’t until May 2021 that he began his detective work by spotting the first NFT project scam. Since then, he has built a reputation as a crypto sleuth, unearths bad actors’ actions and suspicious crypto projects.

How does he carry out his work?

ZachXBT uses his X account to expose hacks; rug pulls, and scams in the crypto sector. His exposes, usually shared as threads, contain details about who the scammers are, with each accusation backed by evidence. He also exposes questionable influencer antics, all while staying anonymous.

Articles published by various media outlets have featured his cutting-edge research that traces the trail of funds. His goal is to protect the blockchain and crypto space from bad actors and dishonesty and provide a safe sphere where all stakeholders can engage. In fact, when he tweeted about being sued, Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal tweeted:

Although his work has saved many crypto novices and experts, it hasn’t been a walk in the park. In June 2023, Machi Big Brother sued ZachXBT. While tweeting about the lawsuit, ZachXBT said that it was baseless and an attempt to stifle free speech. He later went ahead to crowdfund to cover his legal fees.

Scams unearthed by ZachXBT

ZachXBT has been able to unearth many scams, some leading to arrests of bad actors. Below are some notable crypto and NFT scams that ZachXBT has been able to unearth in the last few years and weeks.

The NFT Machine Scam

This scam, freshly unveiled by ZachXBT, involves multiple touchpoints but one uniform character — Tyler Gaye. Tyler Gaye is the alleged person behind NFT Machine, a Twitter (X) account that raised $55,000 from investors to create an NFT marketplace. However, Gaye was accused of using the funds for his own NFT indulgences., adding items from the famous MoonCats collection.

exposing nft machine
Exposing NFT Machine: Telegram

ZachXBT, in his Telegram channel, revealed that X-user “scaredofboobs” is indeed Tyler Gaye, the alleged scammer.

The hypothesis behind the connection

ZachXBT conducted a series of investigations to establish the connection between “scaredofboobs” and Tyler Gaye. This included pattern analysis, public or even leaked information, tweeting habits, and even transaction tracking.

ZachXBT alleges that Gaye didn’t repay the investors the $275K+ despite the court order. He mentions that while his previous scam was Ethereum-based, he has now moved to Solana as people there are less familiar with his unscrupulous ways.

Well, here’s a twist:

The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) phishing scam

The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) phishing scam is an NFT scam that saw some BAYC NFT owners lose their NFTs. ZachXBT unearthed the phishing scam in August 2022 in a blog post dubbed Scammers in Paris

Following ZachXBT’s provided scam trail, the French National Cyber Unit arrested five individuals connected to the phishing scam.

How did the BAYC NFT phishing scam happen?

According to the French Police, the five culprits involved had created a network that unscrupulously advertised a service that would create an animated model of any user’s BAYC NFT. The scammers ran their scheme within BAYC’s official Discord channel and were actually verified members of the channel. 

The BAYC NFT scam required interested BAYC NFT owners to click on the link shared by the verified member to generate the animated version of their own NFT and approve a transaction on a website. However, instead of receiving animated apes, the users noticed the service stole their BAYC NFTs and into the hands of the scammers. 

scammers in paris
Scammers In Paris: investigations by zachxbt

Dilly Dilly is one such user who fell for the phishing scam and had his BAYC #237 stolen in December 2021. The scammers sold the NFT on the same day for 47 ETH, which was roughly $178K back then. And Dilly Dilly wasn’t his only victim. The scammers also phished two MAYC and one Doodle from three other victims. 

In January 2022, the same scammer struck again and phished BAYC #6166 from a Twitter user known as Tumolo. As detailed by ZachXBT, the scammers were able to steal more than $2.5 million. He also traced the online movement of crypto funds, leading to the discovery and subsequent arrest of the scammers Camille and Mathys.

zachxbt
Scammers in Paris: Investigations by zachxbt

The Blue Crypto Drainer scam

The Blue Crypto Drainer scam is another scam that ZachXBT helped to unmask via a series of tweets in July of this year. In his thread, ZachXBT accused Blue, a YouTuber with over 120,000 subscribers, of participating in crypto scams that resulted in a $1.5 million crypto loss.

As usual, the online sleuth provided several screenshots to back his allegations. ZachXBT stated that Blue worked with Monkey Drainer and other drainer services to loot over $1.5 million. Monkey Drainer is a prominent cryptocurrency and NFT scammer dubbed ‘Scam as a Service.’  

Who is Blue?

Jack Butcher, known as Blue on Twitter and the owner of the YouTube channel JB’s Adventures, is thought to have shifted from YouTubing to scamming. His channel initially focused on trolling and gaming videos, which saw it experience massive growth in 2020. 

Additionally, Blue operates a Discord server, which he uses to discuss the acquisition of a BAYC NFT and alleged scams. 

Blue’s involvement in crypto scams, as per ZachXBT’s tweets, dates back to 2021. He then used the funds made from scamming NFT owners to purchase a car, luxury watch, Roblox items, shoes, and gambling on Stake. 

ZachXBT revealed on his X thread that a leaked Snapchat post from Blue’s personal account showed the cool-breeze.eth ENS address that bought BAYC 8668 back in October 2022. According to ZachXBT, this is where things got interesting as he observed inflows to the ENS address of over 85 ETH that represented a third of the stolen funds, tracing back to addresses linked with Monkey Drainer scams. 

Pixelmon

The Pixelmon NFT project is another scam project that ZachXBT exposed back in February 2022. Syber introduced Pixelmon as a high-utility NFT collection tied to an upcoming game.

The project developers built excitement by pledging fully interactive 3D character NFTs. This excitement saw Pixelmon generate over $70 million with 3 ETH per mint. The grand reveal happened shortly after, and it diverged significantly from the advertised content.

They were going downhill

The team apologized to collectors and pledged $2 million to redesign the Pixelmon NFTs. Hence, the project became one of the most well-known memes in the history of NFTs. 

pixelmon rug crypto scam
Pixelmon rug: ZachXBT Twitter

In February 2022, ZachXBT, in a Twitter thread, detailed how the Pixelmon NFT project collectors were rugged. He tracked the funds to a Multi Signature (MultiSig) wallet. After the mint, hundreds of ETH were then transferred to different addresses. Additionally, the project’s dev address spent 400 ETH on blue-chip NFTs like Azuki and Bored Ape Yacht Club.

pixelmon
Pixelmon rug: Twitter

SolChicks

In December 2021, ZachXBT hit again, exposing the SolChicks scam. SolChicks is a web3 Player vs. Player (PvP) game launched in 2022 with an NFT collection of breedable ‘SolChicks’ on the Solana blockchain. Before its launch, the project was hyped as one of the best things to happen on Solana. However, things quickly changed when the team’s documents leaked on social media.

The documents, shared by ZachXBT, exposed how the team bought Discord bots, fake Reddit reviews, and fake Twitter followers and even blacklisted a venture capital (VC) firm that they had taken money from.

 One of many leaked  SolChicks internal documents: Twitter
One of many leaked SolChicks internal documents: Twitter

The Soup Phishing scam

In July this year, ZachXBT exposed the Soup Phishing Scam. Soup, also known as Dan, stole millions of dollars in crypto assets using urbane phishing schemes to attack Pika Protocol and Orbiter Finance DeFi projects. 

According to ZachXBT’s X thread, Soup carried out his scam by posing as Luke Hamlton, Decrypt’s employee. They lured members of various crypto project teams into a fake Decrypt (a crypto media outlet) Discord server through impersonation. Also, they deceived them into yielding KYC information as part of a fake application and interview process. They later embedded a phishing attack to steal their Discord token.

They stole $220,000 in digital assets from the Pika Protocol Discord server and another $760,000 from Orbiter Finance. Soup would later spend the money ill gotten from his crimes to purchase exclusive Roblox items. 

The $13.3 million SIM swap scams

On Aug. 23, 2023, ZachXBT shared how over $13.3 million had been stolen due to 54 SIM swaps that targeted people in the crypto space. 

ZachXBT warned that scammers typically induce urgency when an account is compromised to seize a user’s assets. He recommended his followers use a security key or authenticator app for account security instead of 2FA.

ZachXBT vs. Tai Lopez

In March 2022, ZachXBT exposed Tai Lopez on X as an alleged scammer following the launch of Lopez’s NFT collection dubbed the Orginal Garage Social Club. The NFT collection, available in three tiers, aimed to provide collectors with access to giveaways, courses like ‘Bitcoin Crypto Mastermind,’ and other experiences from its creator, Lopez.

Each of the collections would cost anywhere between 1ETH and 10 ETH. The issue, however, as ZachXBT detailed in his X thread, was that Lopez had a history of alleged scams. 

One of the screenshots shared by the crypto sleuth showed how Lopez announced a winner for a giveaway he ran and even announced the winner but never reached out to the winner to give him his reward. In addition, most of the courses he sold only provided basic information about cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Following the exposure by ZachXBT, Lopez deleted a couple of incriminating posts. 

ZachXBT vs. BitBoy

Ben Armstrong, famously known as BitBoy Crypto, is one of the biggest crypto influencers unearthed by ZachXBT. According to the crypto sleuth, BitBoy Crypto made between $2,500 – $40,000 per ad for promoting multiple NFT scams projects. 

Although the crypto influencer said he would thoroughly vet all the paid promotions he took, ZachXBT’s revelations proved otherwise. In a Twitter thread in January 2022, ZachXBT revealed seven rug pulls that BitBoy Crypto promoted.

BitBoy Crypto was warned by the crypto community regarding some of the projects he promoted, such as $MYX. Once the projects went under, the crypto influencers went ahead and deleted the associated ads. However, as they say, the internet never forgets. In his exposé, ZachXBT was able to share each scam with evidence to back his allegations. 

ZachXBT vs. Logan Paul

In May 2022, ZachXBT exposed Logan Paul, who, by his X profile, is an artist, boxer, entrepreneur, wrestler, and podcast host. In his exposé, ZachXBT accused Paul of endorsing various pump-and-dump NFT projects. According to the crypto sleuth, Paul promoted fishy projects or tokens by engaging in sham practices just days before the projects vanished with investor money. 

ZachXBT revealed how Paul moved the funds through a network of addresses to and from his own public address. One of the fraudulent projects Paul supported was the $F**KELON, DinkDoink, and Elongate projects. 

Defamation lawsuit with NFT trader Jeffrey Huang

While ZachXBT has exposed many scams that have either ended up with the accused confronting him or blocking him, the case wasn’t the same with Huang, aka Machi Big Brother, who filed a defamation lawsuit against the crypto sleuth.

Huang is an entrepreneur, an ex-band member of the L.A. Boyz band, and a BAYC NFT whale who, in June 2023, got exposed by ZachXBT for engagements that resulted in “sketchy projects with shadowy team members, questionable ethics, and rote pump and dump practices.” 

In a well-detailed exposé published on Medium, Zach XBT walked readers through Huang’s sketchy crypto projects dating back to 2017. Out of all the allegations made by ZachXBT, Formosa Financial, a blockchain treasury management platform, is the most noteworthy. As per his investigation, there were two withdrawals of 11,000 ETH each (~$17+ million) from the project’s treasury wallet. 

What happened?

The withdrawals were made by George Hsieh, Huang’s Co-Founder, without the knowledge of other investors. ZachXBT tracked the transactions and shared evidence that showed that Machi Big Brother was actually involved in the fraudulent transfers. Following the expose, Huang replied to the allegations, stating they were misinformation and threatening to sue ZachXBT for defamation.

On June 16, 2023, he pushed through with his threats and sued ZachXBT. Following the legal lawsuit, the crypto sleuth created a donation address to raise funds to cover the legal costs. He received over $1 million 48 hours after appealing for donations. 

Shortly after, on Aug. 15, 2023, both ZachXBT and Huang, in separate tweets, announced that the lawsuit had been dropped. ZachXBT, on his part, tweeted that while he believed the case shouldn’t have gone down the legal route, he had made amendments to the article to include Huang’s feedback.

On the other hand, Huang commended ZachXBT’s work via a tweet where he noted that the crypto sleuth has been of “great service to the crypto community and pursuing legal action against him was a last resort but not the right path.” Following the withdrawal of the case, ZachXBT said he was working on returning any unused funds raised to cater to the legal costs. 

What is ZachXBT ($ZACH) token?

The ZachXBT token, also known as $ZACH, is a new memecoin that was launched on the Ethereum blockchain to help raise funds for ZachXBT’s ongoing legal lawsuit against Machi Big Brother before Huang opted to withdraw the case. 

The sell mechanism of $ZACH is quite different from that of other cryptocurrencies, as a portion of the profits from the sale of each token went directly to ZachXBT’s assigned legal wallet fund. This made it possible for ZachXBT supporters to contribute towards his legal costs directly. 

Despite the $ZACH coin being new in the highly volatile crypto market, the coin rapidly gained traction. Following its deployment, the $ZACH coin achieved a market capitalization of over $2 million in approximately five hours. The coin’s support was a clear indication of the strong support that ZachXBT has from the crypto community. 

zachxbt toekn
ZachXBT: CoinMarketCap

But there remains a twist to the tale:

ZachXBT goes AWOL!

If you are still fixating on $ZACH, you need to read carefully into what ZachXBT mentioned on December 24, 2023, while addressing the Telegram family of account deactivation. He warned against meme token purchases linked to his name and even mentioned he wouldn’t ever launch a coin.

ZachXBT leaving Twitter: Telegram

This post came days before the “scaredofboobs” expose, showcasing his fluctuating online presence. However, he didn’t go off without an explanation. When Crypto Twitter saw his X profile in action, there were speculations about his return. He then doused all speculations on December 27, 2023, stating “Entitled DMs” as one of the reasons for his indefinite X exodus.

ZachXBT explaining deactivation: Telegram channel

Despite the monumental efforts, ZachXBT felt his efforts were often underappreciated.

Here is an example of how the efforts were thanked for:

What lies ahead?

There’s no denying ZachXBT’s impact on the crypto industry. His on-chain analysis of crypto phishing scams and the exposure of the same continues to help protect many investors from falling prey to crypto scams. 

The success of the meme token created to help the crypto sleuth raise fees for his legal suit demonstrated the resilience of the crypto community and how invested they are in standing against market manipulations and crypto scams. Following the withdrawal of the defamation lawsuit, ZachXBT has pledged to refund the unused funds to users. As for the future, with the crypto space still marred by malicious actors, the anonymous character will likely continue to fight the good fight and expose wrongdoers within decentralized environments.

Frequently asked questions

What is ZachXBT’s real name?

What are some common red flags of a crypto scam?

Top crypto projects in the US | June 2024
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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