Despite YouTube’s many aggressive actions against cryptocurrency-related content, the world’s most popular video-hosting website is apparently having trouble discovering a major scam account involving crypto.
On March 23, the crypto community spotted a bogus YouTube account impersonating Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of major blockchain company Ripple, in order to promote a fake airdrop scam.
The apparent scam account has around 277,000 subscribers and contains only one video, which promotes a fake giveaway in the third-biggest cryptocurrency, XRP. Uploaded on YouTube on March 19, the video description promotes a nonexistent airdrop of 50 million XRP tokens and has amassed over 85,000 views as of press time.
While the video itself is not fake and is a real interview that Garlinghouse gave in February 2020, the scam lies in the video description. The Ripple exec hasn’t yet reacted to the scam alert on Twitter so far despite reports mentioning him.
Specifically, the video description presents users with a bogus airdrop contest taking place from March 20 till March 25, according to the video description. The YouTube scammer asks users to send between 2,000 XRP to 500,000 XRP in order to “participate” in exchange for immediate airdrop of 20,000 to 5 million XRP. For example, the fraudster promises to send 2.5 million XRP back in exchange for sending 250,000 XRP ($40,000) to his/her crypto address. As of press time, the address has 5,135 XRP ($800).
A co-founder of crypto podcast SPQR Media, who first reported on the YouTube scam on his Twitter account on March 23, emphasized in a recent tweet that the scam channel is still up and running and is receiving funding for promotion on YouTube. Twitter user @Andy_SPQR told that he noticed the scam page last night as an ad popped up on his YouTube feed.
The SPQR co-founder highlighted that he immediately tweeted to report on the apparent scam as the YouTube account had a “huge number of subs but only one video,” while the description promised a free XRP airdrop scam. According to the executive, the reason for the scam is that YouTube allows users to purchase channels from each other. He said:
“In my opinion I think what’s happening is these scammers are purchasing YouTube channels with large numbers of subscribers and then deleting all content and uploading that video. I think that’s how they are able to maintain a presence on YouTube.”
The news comes on the heels of YouTube continuing its apparent war against crypto content makers on the platform.
YouTube deleted another batch of crypto-related videos from two separate crypto channels. In late 2019, YouTube was also aggressively deleting crypto content from some of the biggest players in the industry. YouTube subsequently admitted that some of its deletions were a mistake, while a lot of crypto YouTubers expressed intention to move to blockchain-based video hosting platforms to share their content.