US social media personality Trevon James runs a medium-size YouTube channel that is mostly dedicated to crypto news.
A quick check wouldn’t bring up much suspicion, but he has erased 39 videos promoting the now-defunct Bitconnect lending platform over the past year.
Trevon James, real name Trevon Brown, has been named in a class-action lawsuit by BitConnect users who claim the company has stolen over $770,000.
Brown was a vocal promoter of the platform, which popped up a month after he made his YouTube account in January 2016. His content regularly has affiliate links, and Bitconnect was heavily featured on his channel.
Trevon James and Bitconnect
Bitconnect allowed users to convert Bitcoin into a token (BitConnect Coin). Users received interest on their BCC, and the service guaranteed up to 40% in monthly returns. It was unsustainable, and BCC eventually crashed in January 2018.
This was after a meteoric growth, which saw the BCC coin value exceed $400 as people tried to get in on the action.
Promoters like Brown showed off their Bitconnect “profits” to viewers, but most of this money had come from affiliate links instead of investing.
The FBI is actively ‘seeking potential victims’ as part of an ongoing investigation into the Ponzi-type nature of BCC, but what does that have to do with Trevon James?
The Youtuber admits that he didn’t know what he was talking about when he first got started in crypto, but argues that “the world’s money is in marketing. It sounds evil but it’s not. Everyone’s doing it.”
This attitude caused him to have no qualms about touting BCC to his viewers, including advising them to hold onto the token as the value dropped by 94%.
He was open about his lack of knowledge, and he was able to cultivate a wide audience as he seemed trustworthy to the average viewer. He’s a disarming individual, which is why so many people trusted in his advice.
James grew a large following through the use of giveaways. As a promoter, he made money from anyone who signed up with one of his affiliate links, which is why he’s named in the lawsuit that was filed by six victims.
The lawsuit alleges that James solicited “hundreds if not thousands of Bitconnect investors in the United States and abroad through social media sites such as Youtube and Facebook”.
The plaintiffs “seek compensatory and equitable relief rescinding their investments in BitConnect and restoring them the assets and funds they were fraudulently induced into investing.”
Trevon James maintains his innocence, and it’s unlikely that investors will see any returns. He resides in North Carolina according to his Facebook profile, so he could face problems in the US if the lawsuit is successful.
The Bitconnect Fallout
James’ most recent video talks about how he’s ‘going broke’, and that he’s thinking about getting into real estate investment after being burned by crypto. While his subscriber count is slowly falling, he clearly understands the power of social media.
The story of Bitconnect should be seen as a valuable lesson to anyone that is considering investing in cryptocurrencies. It is crucial to do your own research whenever investing. Blindly following a seemingly successful investor should make you question his or her intentions. If you found a golden goose, would you share the news with everyone you meet?
Trevon James released a video called “My Final BitConnect rant!” that was deleted a few days later. (It can be found mirrored on YouTube,) He talks about how a follower lost their $30,000 life savings when the service collapsed:
“Everyone! Listen up! You didn’t lose your money! You have your…[sigh] technically… You kind of lost your money…kinda “.
He obviously profited from the venture, and he had an estimated account value of over $1million in 2018. Trevon James is still active on YouTube and still uses the platform as a tool for affiliate marketing.