After keeping his mouth shut for roughly two weeks, Logan Paul has finally opened up about his blockchain NFT “game,” CryptoZoo, in a response video to investigative YouTuber Stephen “Coffeezilla” Findeisen. However, if you were hoping for some sort of explanation of what went wrong with the project, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Instead, Paul spends his time trying to discredit Coffeezilla’s sources and reporting, all while admitting that, yeah, many people on the project were “bad actors” and saying that his only mistake was trusting them. I take it back: He’s not on his redemption arc.
Let me catch you up real quick. Coffeezilla, a YouTuber known for investigating fraudsters and scammers in the crypto space, spent a year looking into Logan Paul and his “really fun game that makes you money,” CryptoZoo. This “game” was set up to generate passive income for players. You purchase the game’s currency, zoo coins, to spend on egg NFTs that hatch into animals. You can breed these animals to make hybrids, with rarer ones yielding more zoo coins which can then be cashed out into IRL money. It sounded enticing in theory but was an apparent rug pull in practice, as members of Paul’s team (though not Paul himself) sold their coins early to make millions while Paul’s ardent fans and early investors lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Coffeezilla’s reporting. Based on his three-part series, CryptoZoo seemed to be a sham.
Logan Paul opted to remain silent during much of Coffeezilla’s reporting and posting, but not anymore! On January 3, Paul uploaded his response to Coffeezilla’s investigation on YouTube, saying he would “defend himself with facts” while hurling cutting insults like saying that Coffeezilla is continuing “to morph from an investigator to a gossip channel” and calling him the “Keemstar of crypto in finance.” Oof, that one stings.
Anyway, in his response video, Paul focuses on what he calls three “discrepancies” in Coffeezilla’s reports. The first point was about the CryptoZoo developer who fled to Switzerland with the game’s source code and held it hostage for $US1 ($1) million dollars. Paul drags Coffeezilla for having kept the individual anonymous and calling him “Z” in his reports. Turns out this developer’s name is Zach Kelling and, according to Paul, he has “multiple felonies” related to armed robbery and obstructing the legal process.
In his video, Paul displays papers purporting to be official documents from the Johnson County Court in Kansas referencing Kelling’s alleged criminal charges. (Kotaku couldn’t independently verify these facts and the Johnson County District Court rep for the Records Office said that “there were no public records” for Zach Kelling.) Paul brings this up to cast aspersions on Kelling’s character and to insinuate that the things Kelling said in Coffeezilla’s videos — that he had 30 engineers working under him and was burning $US50,000 ($69,410) a week on the CryptoZoo project — are completely false. According to Paul, he only had three engineers, not 30.
Paul then admits that, yep, he sure did work with this “unsavoury individual,” but frames the error as one of being too trusting, saying “I guess that’s what I get for trusting the team that I relied on to vet and manage” the hiring process. He describes former CryptoZoo lead developer Eddie Ibanez as a “con man who fooled billionaires, the Mormon Church, the owner of the New York Yankees, and now me.”
He then casts aspersions on yet another one of Coffeezilla’s sources, a man named Emilio who Coffeezilla interviewed for his reports. Paul suggests that Coffeezilla should have been aware that Emilio was an untrustworthy individual who was previously involved in two rug pulls, and thus a poor source for his reporting. Paul also takes a moment to challenge Coffeezilla’s claim that eggs in CryptoZoo cannot be hatched, saying “one second of research” would have proven otherwise and showing footage of the game’s eggs “hatching” to reveal pictures of elephants, ducks, and other animals.
Finally, Paul hones in on a recorded phone call Coffeezilla had with Paul’s manager, Jeffrey Levin, parts of which were then used in Coffeezilla’s reports, supposedly without Levin’s permission. According to California laws under the invasion of privacy, it is illegal to record a conversation without all parties’ consent because it’s a two-party consent state. This is the stickiest point in Paul’s litigious threat if they find themselves in court.
“Although you didn’t verify any backgrounds, substantiate any evidence, took multiple criminals’ words as truth, and broke laws, you still published the defamation,” Paul says before asserting that multiple “bad actors” have been removed from the project, and that he and his manager Jeff “made no money and will never make any money on CryptoZoo. In fact, we only lost money trying to pick up the pieces.”
Logan Paul ends his video by assuring viewers that CryptoZoo is still coming, in defiance of Coffeezilla’s claims that it’s not actually being made. He also threatens Coffeezilla with legal action for the “defamation,” saying he will need a good lawyer. However, Paul’s still open to having Coffeezilla appear on his podcast, Impaulsive.
Kotaku reached out to Paul for comment.
In a brief email exchange with Kotaku, Coffeezilla reiterated what he said on Twitter about Paul’s response. He said a full reply is coming “when I organise my thoughts” while trading blows with Paul online over the minutiae of the year-long investigation.
“The fact Logan is suing me instead of the criminals and con men he hired says it all,” Coffeezilla said. “He took zero accountability. Zero apologies. He just wants to save his own reputation.”
As for Zach Kelling, Coffeezilla said he just learned of Kelling’s supposed past legal battles.
“Those ‘legal battles’ were from the early 2000’s (2001 I think?),” he said. “If Logan’s standard of character is to dig back years to judge people by their lowest moment, I don’t think that’s a battle he’ll win. Regardless, I have no stake in whether Zach Kelling is good or bad. I didn’t hire him. My job as a journalist is to reach out to all parties. Logan had accused Zach of stealing his code. I reached out to Zach and got his story and then reached back out to Logan and his manager in response. Logan and his manager chose to not comment and then get upset when I quote the guy they hired.”
Logan Paul’s response to Coffeezilla completely exposing his crypto currency scam has to be one of the funniest attempts at salvation I’ve ever seen.
His entire argument is basically that the people he worked with are actually way worse than CZ said so…checkmate? pic.twitter.com/3EwqLbGVnJ
— The Serfs (@theserfstv) January 4, 2023
As for how Paul’s response is being received, some online are mocking his tactic of pointing out that, whether intentionally or not, he hired fraudsters and scammers to work on CryptoZoo. In a reaction video, Twitch streamer Hasan Piker pauses amidst Paul’s claims to say, “Not a single person thinks that any of the people involved in this situation are good people. You hired ‘em, ya fuckin’ idiot!” Piker goes on to call Paul’s claims in the video “compounding the Ls.” Yeah, that’s definitely one way to look at it.
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