Logan Paul still hasn't refunded victims of his crypto videogame scam

Logan Paul at a boxing match.
(Image credit: Christian Petersen via Getty images)

Logan Paul is one of the biggest influencers in the world, and a one-man brand whose tentacles touch everything from wrestling to podcasts to sugar water. He and fellow influencer KSI have recently scored a major mainstream hit with their endorsement of an energy drink called Prime, but this success has overshadowed one of the dodgier elements of Paul's recent past: a crypto-based videogame that promised the Earth (or, at least, that it would exist), made millions, and now looks very much like a scam.

The whole CryptoZoo scam was exposed by investigative journalist CoffeeZilla in January of this year or, as we put it at the time, Logan Paul just did too many shitty things to fit in this headline. That's because, following the detailed report into this scheme, Paul threatened to sue the journalist before having second thoughts (or being persuaded to have them), apologising, and copping to it before promising refunds.

"I deleted my initial response to Coffee’s series," said Paul at the time. "It was rash and misaligned with the true issue at hand, so I called him today and apologized… I’m grateful he brought this to light. I will be taking accountability, apologizing, and coming forward with a plan in the near future".

That plan was a promised $1.8 million of Paul's own money going into refunding CryptoZoo backers, through a scheme where any crypto assets people had bought from the game would be bought back at a guaranteed price. All's well that ends well, right?

Six months on that's not quite how it seems. Paul has moved on to his latest highly profitable ventures, mainly making public appearances to shill Prime, and has just decided to ignore the whole CryptoZoo thing and pretend it didn't happen. The way that rich people do this is, of course, by declaring their good intentions through a legal firm.

Yes! In you-couldn't-make-it-up territory Coffeezilla, the journalist who did the investigation into CryptoZoo and made Paul promise the refunds, has now had another look and, following Paul's plea the last time around that he make direct contact, has done so several times to ask what's going on with those refunds. The first three attempts were ignored before, on the fourth, he received a reply from a legal firm representing Paul in this matter. 

""We represent Logan Paul. Mr. Paul has informed us of your outreach about the status of the CryptoZoo egg buyback. Mr. Paul remains committed to this process. We are working with Mr. Paul to evaluate the best way to achieve this goal."

So: Paul announced a plan for refunds which seems, as far as these things go, relatively straightforward. Buyback schemes are not uncommon, Paul obviously has the money (estimated net worth: anywhere between $50-100 million), and it seems self-evident that the 'vision' for CryptoZoo will never be realised. 

Now, however, it looks like Paul's hoping enough time's passed that he can just move on without the refunds, and get a legal firm to stonewall any annoying questions. I've asked them about the refunds and will update with any response.

Add another to the list of controversies. Paul's success has come despite various scandals that may have ended other careers, in particular a video from 2017 which showed the body of someone who had apparently committed suicide in Japan's Aokigahara forest (Paul later apologised). In fact CrytpoZoo isn't even his first dodgy crypto link, with the influencer having previously promoted the cryptocurrency Dink Doink, which is now just another shitcoin.

The CryptoZoo website remains live but says it is "undergoing upgrades to the core infrastructure of the ecosystem". Any day now I'm sure. Amazingly enough though, given its face seems to want to wash his hands of the whole thing, the marketplace remains live.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."