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Who Are These Crypto Gurus, Anyway? YouTube’s Blockchain Influencers

YouTube’s most successful cryptocurrency gurus get millions of views and make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. But what are their actual qualifications?

Read on to find out more about YouTube’s most popular cryptocurrency pundits, from how they earn money to how many followers they have and more.

How YouTube’s Crypto Influencers Earn Money

YouTubers with large followings have multiple avenues for generating revenue. Some of their monetization techniques are legitimate, but others are problematic. Here’s a quick rundown of all the major ways that YouTube influencers make money.

YouTube’s ad program

YouTube pays its content creators for displaying ads. Each time a YouTube user clicks an ad, content creators earn a profit. They also receive a smaller commission for ad impressions. SocialBlade and similar analytical tools provide ballpark estimates of how much YouTubers earn via this method.

Affiliate partnerships

Another way that YouTube creators can make money is by promoting various products and services. Amazon and other retailers provide their affiliates with special links and promo codes. When a YouTube user clicks a creator’s affiliate link or uses their promo code to buy something, the creator earns a small percentage of the resulting profits.

Patreon

YouTubers can also earn revenue through Patreon. Patreon supporters often get special perks like additional content or access to guides and other educational materials.

Murky behind-the-scenes deals

Blockchain companies often pay influencers and celebrities to help generate buzz around their coins. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that– unless the company doesn’t actually intend to accomplish the plan they outlined in their white paper. If an exit scam is in the making, once an ICO is over, the scammers quickly sell off all their coins. After that, the price of the asset plunges. Those in the know walk away with a profit, while outsiders are left holding the bag.

Who Are These Crypto Gurus, Anyway?

If you’ve ever searched for cryptocurrency information on YouTube, you’ve probably encountered content that was created by the influencers listed below. Here’s a quick look at some of the major players.

Christopher Greene of AMTV

Christopher Greene borrows heavily from Alex Jones, Glen Beck and similar over-the-top alternative media pundits. His channel’s slogan sums up his aggressive approach: “Hard hitting and in your face!” Greene is especially good at crafting sensational titles and eye-catching thumbnails. Since 2007, the channel has accumulated over 11,000,0000 views.

According to SocialBlade, Green runs one of the most profitable cryptocurrency-related channels on YouTube. He apparently earns anywhere from €523 to €8,400 each month from YouTube ads alone. In addition, Green sells courses, ebooks and other information products on his website, BitcoinRich.com.

Greene has been making YouTube content since 2007. Source: CoinIQ

Education, background and experience

According to Greene’s LinkedIn page, Greene has been running Alternative Media Television since 2009. Before that, he studied finance at Arizona State University.

Most popular video

The title of Greene’s most successful video to date is: “MAN CUTS CHECK FOR $100,000,000 BITCOIN!!” It’s an emotional rant that takes place in front of a storage space.

Nicholas Merten of DataDash

Even though DataDash is only about a year old, the channel already has more views than AMTV.

The most popular videos on DataDash cater to cryptocurrency newbies. DataDash tutorials explain real-time charts, how to use a crypto exchange and other topics. In addition to tutorials, there are also a number of sketchy altcoin reviews.

In August of 2017, DataDash founder Nicholas Merten gave an altcoin called Substratum a positive review despite the many troubling questions surrounding the coin at the time. Perhaps the most glaring red flag was that Florida police had arrested Substratum’s CEO Justin Tabb in 2001 for “burglary w/assault or battery.”

From the looks of things today, Substratum seems to be just another a dead-end coin project that will never deliver on its promises. A flurry of trading activity briefly shot Substratum up to $3 at the beginning of the year, but now the coin is only worth ten cents. Several months ago, Substratum tweeted that CNN would be producing a documentary about the coin. That documentary never happened.

Though Merten failed to predict that Substratum would go nowhere, he did point out red flags around BitConnect in August of 2017. At the time, BitConnect was still trading for around $100. The notorious scam coin attracted widespread media attention and spawned some memorable memes when it tanked last February.

DataDash’s stats are impressive, especially considering that the account is only about a year old. Source: CoinIQ

Education, background and experience

Before starting DataDash, Merten worked in sales. He spent one year studying finance at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Most popular video

The title of Merten’s most popular video is “How To Build A Crypto Portfolio With Only $500!”

Michael Gu of Box Mining

Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency guru Michael Gu is another YouTuber who has found massive success. His channel has accumulated over 12 million views since February of last year.

Gu does accept money in return for reviewing ICOs. His sponsored reviews contain the following disclaimer:

“This is a sponsored review. I have reserved the rights to give my personal opinion. This is not financial advice. Please do your thorough independent research.”

Gu is one of the few crypto influencers that takes money in exchange for talking about ICOs. Source: CoinIQ

Education, background and experience

According to his LinkedIn profile, Gu attended Imperial College London.  In addition to making cryptocurrency videos for BoxMining, Gu is an advisor for a decentralized gaming ecosystem called Plar.

Most popular video

Gu’s most popular YouTube video to date is a review of the Ledger Nano S hardware wallet:

Omar Bham of Crypt0

Another popular cryptocurrency blogger is Omar Bham of Crypt0. His channel has accumulated over 9 million views since 2011. Bham’s sizable following has given him the opportunity to interview bitcoin investor Roger Ver, Cardano co-creator Charles Hoskinson and a number of other prominent cryptocurrency movers and shakers. However, Bham’s most popular videos are recordings of live streams in which he discusses various cryptocurrency-related news stories with his followers.

Last year, Bham sparked controversy when he interviewed Veritaseum CEO Reggie Middleton ahead of the Veritaseum ICO. A few months after the ICO was over, the Veritaseum project was allegedly hacked– but the details around the incident were never explained.

Middleton told CoinDesk that a supplier of the company was compromised. However, he declined to offer the name the company that was responsible for the incident or to explain exactly how the hackers pulled off the exploit. Eight million dollars’ worth of Veritaseum was stolen during the alleged theft.

According to the Crypt0’s profile page, Bham does not accept money from ICOs:

“We DO NOT accept money from ICOs, nor do paid promotional material for crypto tokens. We strive to remain bias free, and always educate ourselves to give you the best information we can, so that you have an honest source for your crypto content.”

Most Crypt0 videos are news recaps, but Bham also does interviews from time to time. Source: CoinIQ

Education, background and experience

According to his LinkedIn page, Bham has a BFA in Theatre Performance from Florida International University. Prior to starting Crypt0, Bham was an actor, singer and pianist.

Most popular video

The Crypt0 video with the most views is a recording of a live stream from last year.

Carter Thomas of Coin Mastery

Carter Thomas started Coin Mastery in the summer of 2017, when skyrocketing prices drew attention to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Most of his most popular videos are tutorials and reactions to bitcoin price movements. The channel has accumulated over 6 million views so far.

When the price of bitcoin spikes up or falls off the cliff, Thomas reacts with a video. Source: CoinIQ

Education, background and experience

In addition to creating cryptocurrency videos, Thomas owns a digital marketing company. His LinkedIn page indicates that he’s a Bowdoin College alumni.

Most popular video

Thomas’s most popular video is entitled “How to Stop Paying Coinbase Fees.” In it, he explains how Coinbase’s sister site GDAX (now called Coinbase Pro) is much less expensive to use:

Doug Polk of Doug Polk Crypto

Most of Doug Polk’s videos call out other YouTubers that create cryptocurrency videos for lying, making incorrect claims and attempting to set up scams. YouTubers that Polk has criticized include Ryan Hildreth and JR Business. His channel has racked up over 8 million views since 2016.

Polk specializes in mocking YouTube’s lesser-known crypto influencers. Source: CoinIQ

Education, background and experience

According to Polk’s LinkedIn page, he’s a professional poker player. In addition to creating videos about cryptocurrency, he runs a poker tutorial site called Upswing Poker.  

Most popular video

Polk’s most popular YouTube video is entitled “Idiots Making Cryptocurrency Vids– IT’S TIME TO STOP.”

Crypto Investor

Despite the fact that whoever is behind Crypto Investor has decided to remain anonymous, the channel has performed quite well. Over seven million people have tuned in since Crypto Investor’s inception in August of last year.

The most popular videos on the channel are predictions about the future price of bitcoin. Other topics include reflections on CryptoKitties, criticisms of the Bitfinex-backed stablecoin Tether and reviews of various altcoins.

Crypto Investor has gained over 140,000 followers since last August. Source: CoinIQ

Education, background and experience

In his YouTube profile, Crypto Investor claims to have a “finance background.” However, he doesn’t get very specific:

“I hope to bring my due diligence coming from a more traditional field and hope to reduce the level of emotional decisions made in your investing.”

In addition to creating YouTube videos, Crypto Investor’s anonymous owner also contributes to the crowd-sourced finance blog Seeking Alpha.

Most popular video

The video with the most views on Crypto Investor is entitled “How the Bitcoin Bubble Will Pop.”

Chris Dunn

Though Chris Dunn doesn’t post as frequently as the cryptocurrency influencers mentioned above, his channel has still racked up millions of views over the years. Since 2009, over seven million people have watched his videos.

Dunn isn’t as popular as other crypto influencers, but the small amount of content that he has produced has performed well. Source: CoinIQ

In the description section of his YouTube profile, Dunn makes the following claim:

“I do NOT do paid ICO promotions.”

A look at his content shows that he seems to have stayed true to his word. Though Dunn has discussed altcoin trading in general, he’s never attempted to spotlight, review or comment about any specific coin project or ICO.

Education, background and experience

In 2015, Dunn started a blog called Skill Incubator– a “community for people wanting to develop skills that can help them thrive in today’s economy.” In the same year, he helped start a venture capital fund called NextGen Angels.

Most popular video

Dunn’s most popular video at the moment is “My 2 Best Altcoin Trading Strategies.”

Final Thoughts

Though all the crypto gurus listed above use different styles to get their messages across, they all have one thing in common: they seem to have learned most of whatever they know about cryptocurrency on their own.

YouTube’s crypto experts aren’t developers or professional stock brokers. Rather, most of them seem to have backgrounds in sales and marketing. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everything they say is necessarily wrong. In fact, many of their videos are helpful– especially for people that are totally new to crypto.

If you want to learn about general trading strategies or how to read a candlestick chart, watching a video is not a bad way to get started. However, it’s probably a good idea to take any type of prediction or endorsement with a grain of salt.

Before you make any kind of cryptocurrency investment decision, you should check a wide range of sources first. Forbes, CNBC, CoinDesk are reliable sources of factual information. If you aren’t willing or able to check those sites and others on a regular basis, CoinIQ’s own free State of Cryptocurrency newsletter will give you a high-level view of what’s going on each week. Click here to learn more and sign up today.

Alex Munkachy

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