It’s no mystery that influencers make their money from selling us things. It’s a lucrative method of advertising for companies. You’re more likely to buy a product if you know of and like the person selling it to you. Unlike regular celebrities however, social media influencers are often more relatable, more down-to-earth, more accessible. We form ‘parasocial’ relationships with them, and relate our lives to theirs. So, when they sell us a dream: the ideal luxury lifestyle, we buy it. In come the Cryptocurrency Influencers, and their dodgy crypto advice.

There’s big money in being a Crypto-Influencer

By Cryptocurrency Influencers, I’m referring to influencers who have accumulated a fanbase from their crypto content, or influencers with a pre-existing fanbase who have changed their content to crypto topics. They advise their fans on profiting from the cryptocurrency market, whilst showing off their vast wealth and luxury lifestyles they themselves have supposedly gained from trading cryptocurrencies. But they don’t just make their money from their trades. Some can use referral links from cryptocurrency exchanges to earn a cut from their fans’ trades. Maybe they can be paid to endorse cryptocurrency projects. They can even sell their own crypto-themed merch, or online classes on crypto trading. The important point here is, even if the cryptocurrency market crashes, like it did this summer, it’s their fans that lose out, not them.

They profit from their fans, even if their trades turn out badly

You can’t trust the advice of Crypto Influencers. It’s a market that’s largely unregulated, and these people are often “self-taught”, with no financial education to speak of. I’ll give you some examples of claims from Crypto influencers that didn’t exactly pan out. Last year the YouTuber Carl Runefelt appeared on Fox Business to claim that Bitcoin would reach $300,000. However, after peaking at $60,000, it has since crashed down to 1/3 of that value. Worryingly, he made these claims on a mainstream media source, not a niche YouTube account.

Another example is DistX, a cryptocurrency with the alleged aim to stop scams in cryptocurrency, which then turned out to be a scam itself. YouTuber Ben Armstrong, one of the most viewed crypto influencers on YouTube, was paid to promote the coin and described it as his “most trusted.” When the project team rug pulled, his fans lost a lot of money, whilst he was financially unharmed. His money was made from endorsements, not trading the coin. Accepting dubious sponsorship deals as a crypto influencer is common, and viewers need to consider whether these people have their best interests at heart.

Young people see the lavish lifestyles of crypto influencers and want that too.

Children and Young People are particularly susceptible to Crypto Influencing

Young people are increasingly drawn to trading crypto currencies as a way to make “easy money.” They see the lavish lifestyles of crypto influencers and want that too (unsurprisingly). This is especially true if they are already following an influencer who is famous for something else, like video games or beauty tutorials, who then begins to promote crypto trading. Kids may not generally be interested in finance, but they can be led there.

The problem is, young people may lack the awareness that these are incredibly risky investments, in an extremely unstable market. Cryptocurrency exchanges often have no age restrictions in place, so there’s little stopping children “investing.” It’s exciting and fulfilling when you can earn massive amounts of money from seemingly doing very little, and that’s essentially how gambling addictions start. From a very young age people are already being exposed to gambling-esque features in video games, often enabled by micro transactions of real currency. Trading crypto currencies is just a scaled up version. Crypto currency addiction is already something that’s being treated, for example at Castle Craig in Scotland. I believe as these young people grow up, we’re going to see more and more people seeking treatments like this.

In the Mesaverse we can break away from the Crypto Mania

With this summers crypto crash, and the near complete death of the NFT trend, we’ve seen that the value of cryptocurrency relies heavily on social media. But cryptocurrency is being touted as the currency of the metaverse – a decentralised online currency for a decentralised online world. The two go hand in hand to drag us into a manufactured reality. We can break away though, and dive into the Mesaverse. We can embrace and exist in a deeper and more meaningful reality, outside of social media and the internet. LifeBonder’s goal is to help us all do this, and live in a happier, healthier future.

Polly Cumming

Polly Cumming is a British literary graduate keen on writing about human existence in this moment in time. She's thrilled to see some positive change in the world of social media.