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Everything You Need to Know About Logan Paul and the CryptoZoo Debacle

Since YouTuber Coffeezilla accused Logan Paul of scamming CryptoZoo gamers, the viral video mogul is passing the blame off to someone else.

Multifaceted entertainer Logan Paul is treading murky waters in the Web3 world after YouTuber Coffeezilla accused Paul’s CryptoZoo gaming project of being a massive scam.

Paul is no stranger to sitting in the hot seat, but this instance feels different. Figures and projects in Web3 are only as strong as the communities that follow and support them. While Paul has shown to be a controversial figure in other industries, that act may not fly in the crypto world.

This situation leaves much room for interpretation, but there does appear to have been wrongdoing. Let’s break down what CryptoZoo is and how we got here.

CryptoZoo Explained

The below descriptor was displayed across CryptoZoo’s website. Amid the accusations, before the site was overhauled:

“An autonomous ecosystem that allows ZooKeepers to buy, sell, and trade exotic animals and hybrids. CryptoZoo incorporates cryptocurrency and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) into a simple, fun game with familiar mechanics.”

Paul began promoting a crypto game called CryptoZoo back in August 2021. He first announced the blockchain-based game on his podcast Impaulsive and said he’s a founder behind it. During the podcast episode, Paul claimed to have invested $1 million in the gaming project to get it off the ground.

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The concept behind the game is actually interesting. CryptoZoo players can purchase an in-game NFT that comes in the form of an egg that hatches into an animal. Players can crossbreed their animals with other animals in the game to create rare breeds. The more rare the animal breed, the more in-game cryptocurrency players can yield via the game’s native token, $ZOO tokens. This is the token players have to purchase in the game before even buying an NFT egg.

The first version of CryptoZoo launched in late 2021, and the game’s roadmap shows that games were slated to launch last year before CryptoZoo entered the metaverse in Q4 2022. It’s safe to say CryptoZoo has veered off-track. Aside from v1 of the game launch, nothing else on the roadmap has been accomplished, including the ability to breed animals, which was a big part of CryptoZoo’s marketing plan. Essentially, breeding would allow players to create their own NFTs that could eventually end up in metaverse environments.

CryptoZoo’s website currently states that the game is “undergoing upgrades to the core infrastructure of the ecosystem.”

Since players were only able to indulge in a few aspects of the game — which involves spending money — many of them feel scammed. Some shared they even spent thousands of dollars buying $ZOO tokens and eggs with hopes of breeding coming soon after.

To make matters worse, CryptoZoo halted its social media presence. The last time the project was active on Twitter was in May 2022.

So, what happened to CryptoZoo? Did development stall? Did Paul run a scam and keep funds spent on $ZOO tokens?

Enter cryptojournalist and YouTuber Stephen Findeisen, aka Coffeezilla.

Coffeezilla’s Investigation

Three weeks ago, Coffeezilla released his first video detailing Paul’s CryptoZoo venture and why he’s calling it a scam. The video has amassed 7.6 million views since he published it. Coffeezilla called attention to issues with the rollout of CryptoZoo, including that players couldn’t withdraw their funds from the project after realizing no progress was being made.

Coffeezilla has released two more videos since his first post and tweeted that he’s prepping another to run soon.

Here is a summary of some of the notable scam allegations that Coffeezilla raised against Paul in his videos:

  • Paul employed multiple con artists to build CryptoZoo, and he was aware of it.
  • A lead developer is holding CryptoZoo’s code hostage, claiming that he and other employees haven’t been paid for their work on CryptoZoo. This is why the project is on ice.
  • The lead developer told Coffeezilla that Paul owes the more than 30-person development team 5% of the native $ZOO token.

Paul finally addressed Coffeezilla’s allegations a week ago in a since-deleted video that dispels the allegations as rumors. He even went as far as to accuse the investigative crypto journalist of using his platform for clout.

“You’ve successfully used my name for views and money,” Paul said in his first response to Coffeezilla. “While your work used to be impartial, your addiction to clicks has clouded your judgment.”

Paul decided to take a more thought-out approach to his response in a recent Impaulsive episode that runs a little over an hour long. The episode has attracted 1.7 million views, well under the audience Coffeezilla pulled in. The YouTube video’s description states that this is Part 1 of Paul’s response to the allegations. Paul, of course, dismissed Coffeezilla’s scam allegations, but he still didn’t directly comment on what’s happening with the funds that players have spent within CryptoZoo.

Coffeezilla has threatened to take legal action against Paul –– who threatened the YouTuber with a lawsuit first –– for defamatory images he shared in his first response. Maybe that’s why Paul took a more holistic approach in his second response. Either way, Paul took a step back, and Coffeezilla’s threat may be why Paul apologized to the internet detective.

“I deleted my initial response to Coffee’s series. It was rash and misaligned with the true issue at hand, so I called him today and apologized…the war is not with Coffee,” Paul said in a Discord message shared on Twitter. “In fact, I’m grateful he brought this to light. I will be taking accountability, apologizing, and coming forward with a plan in the near future.”

The crypto community hopes the plan includes refunding players who invested in the game, but only time will tell to see if Paul makes good on his promise.

Is Coffeezilla right?

It sure seems that way, and Paul all but confirmed it when he named Zach Kelling as the man behind CryptoZoo’s failure. Kelling developed CryptoZoo’s code, and Paul claims he fled to Switzerland and is holding hostage $1 million worth of investments in the project. To support his claim, Paul said that Kelling has a criminal history, which is something he should have considered before hiring him to run an integral department in the project. Paul said Kelling succeeded and was hired by former CryptoZoo lead developer Eddie Ibanez.

Kelling is now apparently working on his own legal case against Paul for revealing his criminal history. He also said he’d received threatening messages and that personal information like his address and phone number had been leaked.

“Firstly, I made mistakes 20 years ago, which I deeply regret, and yes, these gave me a criminal record. I have since been granted an expungement, and have worked very hard to move forward in my life and career,” Kelling said in a LinkedIn post. “I worked really hard on CryptoZoo and we all wished for it to be successful. We quit the project because Logan didn’t pay us for our services rendered.”

While Kelling made claims that Paul defamed his character, he didn’t respond to Paul’s allegation that he is holding CryptoZoo’s funds and code hostage.

Outside of this situation, Paul has built up a seemingly good name for himself across the Web3 industry over the past few years. He’s led an NFT project based on his photography and has become an avid collector across the industry.

There has been some fodder across the crypto gaming community that there is a revamped version of CryptoZoo in the works that could be released sometime this year or in 2024. Still, we’re not sure what’s to come of CryptoZoo and if it’s possible for Paul to recover the blockchain game’s initial code, but as always, we’ll be following the news to see what happens next.

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About The Author
Michelai Graham
Michelai Graham
Michelai Graham is Boardroom's resident tech and crypto reporter. Before joining 35V, she was a freelance reporter with bylines in AfroTech, HubSpot, The Plug, and Lifewire, to name a few. At Boardroom, Michelai covers Web3, NFTs, crypto, tech, and gaming. Off the clock, you can find her producing her crime podcast, The Point of No Return.