Leaving Crypto Scammers No Place to Hide

This pseudonymous Twitter sleuth’s viral exposés of on-chain fraud and wrongdoing helped lead French authorities to arrest a crime ring that stole $2.5 million in Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. That’s why ZachXBT is one of CoinDesk’s Most Influential 2022.

AccessTimeIconDec 5, 2022 at 12:28 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 28, 2023 at 2:28 p.m. UTC

The nascent crypto industry has often been compared to a digital “Wild West” – a lawless place where fortunes can just as easily be made as broken, and black hat-clad bad guys roam the frontier, unchecked by the law.

That’s not to say there is no law in the crypto markets – there are many government agencies both in the U.S. and elsewhere tasked with overseeing the industry and hunting down crypto criminals. However, as in the Wild West, the regulators are often outnumbered and outgunned by tech-savvy scammers and fraudsters.

That’s where ZachXBT steps in. More like a pro bono bounty hunter or a scam-busting vigilante than a sheriff, the pseudonymous Twitter sleuth has been working to expose crypto scams since May 2021.

ZachXBT does detailed on-chain research – tracking wallets and transactions associated with hacks, phishing scams and other attacks – and shares his knowledge in Twitter threads naming and shaming bad actors.

Twitter users aren’t the only ones taking notice of ZachXBT’s threads – the online sleuth’s research has led to real-world consequences for some scammers, including the alleged phishing scammers who orchestrated the theft of $2.5 million worth of Bored Ape Yacht Club non-fungible tokens (NFT). French authorities arrested five individuals allegedly behind the crime ring and gave ZachXBT a shout-out in their press release in October.

That same month, crypto artist Beeple paid homage to ZachXBT with a digital artwork called “NO PLACE TO HIDE,” depicting the sleuth’s signature four-eyed platypus avatar towering over fleeing rats.


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Cheyenne Ligon

Cheyenne Ligon was a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

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