As the bitcoin market matures and digital assets generate interest, widespread pump and dump tactics proliferate. One example is Safemoon.
In such schemes, well-known individuals utilize their prominence to promote a cryptocurrency and so boost its price, while simultaneously planning a big sell-off of their remaining supply of the coin at the “inflated” price.
Ben Phillips, a former Safemoon influencer, has been charged with orchestrating a $12 million pump and dump fraud. He is accused of promoting Safemoon through his influence while concurrently selling millions of tokens.
SafeMoon has been embroiled in additional controversy as YouTuber Stephen Findeisen, a.k.a. “Coffeezilla,” makes the charges against Phillips, the company’s former chief marketing officer.
Making Millions Of Bucks On Safemoon
Ben Phillips, a UK-based influencer best known for his prank videos, has over 4 million YouTube subscribers and, like many other influencers, has been deeply immersed in the worlds of cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
Phillips has frequently shared and spoken about Safemoon — an altcoin project on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) — but this could be the source of all the complications.
Phillips was constantly selling his Safemoon for millions of dollars, according to Coffeezilla’s probe, after pumping it through his social media networks and watching the price climb.
BTC total market cap at $761.15 billion on the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com
Blowing His Cover
Phillips published his wallet information with supporters in a Tweet on April 12 last year, asking that they pay for his Starbucks. This allowed internet sleuth Coffeezilla to investigate a tip he’d received as part of a larger inquiry into the infamous fraudulent investment game token SafeMoon.
Additionally, the YouTuber included images of all tweets in which Phillips made similar remarks, arranged chronologically, as well as specific information about his dumps and even important BscScan URLs that track his transactions.
Phillips purchased SafeMoon on PancakeSwap for $4 million in March and sold it for $16 million in December, according to CoffeeZilla’s calculations – netting him a handsome $12 million profit.
Not So Safe
SafeMoon launched in March 2021 and immediately gained tens of thousands of percent. However, in December 2021, the team launched a Version 2 contract at a different contract address, thereby terminating the Version 1 contract.
Meanwhile, Phillips has removed the majority of his posts and his Twitter handle now appears to be as new as a daisy. He has generally used harsh language in his tweets, including one in July last year in which he wished a Safemoon whale would “be hit by a bus.”
Featured image from Watcher Guru, chart from TradingView.com