YouTuber Ben Phillips made $12M from SafeMoon crypto pump and dump scheme

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British YouTuber Ben Phillips has been exposed in a video by fellow YouTuber CoffeeZilla for running a $12 million SafeMoon pump and dump scheme to his millions of followers.

On April 12 last year, Phillips shared his wallet address in a Tweet requesting fans pay for his Starbucks. This gave internet detective Coffeezilla the chance to follow up on a tip he’d received as part of a wider investigation into the controversial ponzi game token SafeMoon.

According to CoffeeZilla’s calculations, Phillips bought SafeMoon on PancakeSwap for $4 million between March and December last year and sold for $16 million in the same time period — leaving a tidy $12 million profit.

In a series of now-deleted tweets pumping the coin, the British YouTuber conveyed to his followers he would hold onto his bags. “Well I’m HOLDING,” Phillips posted on April 6, as well as another saying “I feel bad for anyone who sold AGAIN!” That day, he cashed out around $721,000 in tokens.

Phillips rose to fame on now-deceased social platform Vine and then on YouTube with his staged “Sorry Bro” series where he’d play tricks on his brother. He currently has 4.61 million subscribers on the video streaming site and almost 750,000 followers on Twitter.

Phillips is the latest YouTuber to be busted by CoffeZilla.

Read more: FBI ties and Ponzi games — here’s what SafeMoon doesn’t want you to know

CoffeeZilla, or Stephen Findeisen, is known for uncovering the shady crypto dealings of celebrities such as Post Malone and The Weeknd and members of popular esports brand FaZe, among others.

Findeisen revealed in his video and corresponding document that Phillips was handed trillions of SafeMoon tokens for his work as part of the shitcoin’s marketing team. Phillips shilled the shitcoin to his millions of followers but never disclosed that he was getting paid to do so. He reportedly received a total of 5.2 trillion tokens for his work.

As Protos reported, former SafeMoon chief operating officer Jack Haines-Davies also managed Phillips from November 2017 until March 2021. Haines-Davies resigned from the project in September 2021, citing the need to remove himself from toxic environments.

Some influencers lost out with SafeMoon

SafeMoon practically reached meme coin status last year. The Binance smart chain token was sold with the promise of a self-generating liquidity pool; investors would receive more tokens for staking.

The team behind the crypto has recruited many influencers to shill it such as YouTuber Jake Paul, rapper Soulja Boy, and Barstool Sport’s Dave Portnoy. 

However, Portnoy hasn’t managed his SafeMoon holdings as profitably as Phillips. Just this week he held an “emergency press conference” about how he lost 90% on his $40,000 investment.

Read more: FaZe talent manager took 20% cut for brokering crypto pump and dumps

Indeed, SafeMoon has suffered a fall from grace. Shortly after listing, it reached a $4 billion market cap. Today, it’s more like $300 million.

The coin reached its peak in April last year at just over a millionth of a penny ($0.000011). Right now, it’s sitting at less than a billionth of a penny.

As for its two million holders, according to CoinMarketCap around 656,000 wallets are currently holding SafeMoon.

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Out now: the first four episodes of our ongoing investigative podcast series Innovated: Blockchain City.

Edit 10:08 UTC, Apr 16: Corrected number of wallets holding SafeMoon in final paragraph.