Two influential conspiracy theorists affiliated with QAnon allegedly caused millions of dollars in losses to their followers by operating a crypto-dumping scheme.
The pair reportedly persuaded thousands of their followers to invest in a cryptocurrency wallet, providing a misleading mix of conspiratorial and real content along with allegations about institutions backing the tokens to generate hype and drive up the wallet’s price.
The allegations were included in an investigation by a group of data scientists and developers. It stated that the two influencers who run the Telegram channels WhipLash347 and the Quantum Stellar Initiative (QSI) coordinated to promote Stellar altcoin listings (XLM) that have been flagged as fraudulent by the Stellar Network.
WhipLash347 is a Telegram group with 277,000 followers and a QSI that has 35,000. They reportedly told their followers that cryptocurrency would work based on their inside knowledge, claiming they had access to secret military intelligence.
The post said the conspiratorial content and disinformation were intended to target those who distrust the mainstream financial and media institutions to give credence to the cryptocurrencies they are promoting. Losses are believed to be in the millions and it was logically claimed that one man committed suicide after losing $100,000 in the scheme.
A user known as PatriotQakes leads QSI’s main channel, which has multiple regional branches. It is believed that the ownership of the WhipLash347 account has recently changed due to the behavior change.
Rocky Morningside, a former director of the QSI Group, logically told that he believed “without a doubt that WhipLash347, PatriotQakes and QSI are scam artists,” who were promoting “pumps and waste.”
Cointelegraph has requested a response to the allegations from PatriotQakes, an account that appears to belong to the person behind Whiplash347 and the QSI regional group official regarding the allegations, but had not received a response by press time.
Neither group has publicly acknowledged or responded to the allegations.
A former investor in a scheme using the name Cutter now runs a Twitter account that aims to expose WhipLash347. He told Cointelegraph that he is a member of a Telegram group with 3,000 other disgruntled investors and said of the person behind WhipLash347:
“He created a huge list of cryptocurrencies with now-dead domains, as well as fake white papers claiming to be from real companies. We talked to so many real coin creators that he imitates them with fake assets who have to constantly tell people that WhipLash is full of shit “.
Cutter says WhipLash creates trust with its followers by sharing similar political views, and perpetuates the scheme by claiming that “upcoming events” will lead to asset value appreciation.
According to Cutter, WhipLash responded to the allegations by saying that all information is subject to nondisclosure agreements, and no one belonging to the assets is allowed to speak until the “event”:
“There is always a timeline, but when dates go by and nothing happens, it creates new timelines. They never end.”
He also appears to have claimed to have been in touch with figures like Elon Musk and said that the crypto-friendly billionaire supports WhipLash’s cryptocurrency.
Cutter said that anyone who asks questions is kicked out of the group:
Anyone who questions his account is removed from his Telegram group, and he continues to rinse and repeat among his followers. When people go out, new people join. It must stop.”