Stephen Findeisen is better known as Coffeezilla on YouTube. He interviewed Sam Bankman Fried in late 2022 just weeks before the fraud-prone crypto magnate was arrested and charged.
Many outsiders didn’t know who Findeisen was. But crypto sleuths has been watching him for years. This online community of amateur detectives investigates scams and frauds in this scandal-ridden market, and tries to hold those responsible accountable.
A video titled “I Accidentally Interviewed SBF and He Hated It” shows the self-proclaimed “internet detective” releasing a series conversations with Bankman Fried over Twitter Spaces. These recordings seem to have accelerated the death of the former FTX chief.
Bankman-Fried claimed that he didn’t know that FTX’s customer funds had been wired to Alameda Research. This was his crypto trading arm.
Bankman-Fried stated that “I had many things going on” before he left the space.
Findeisen questioned Bankman Fried’s credibility as an incompetent leader at FTX during the second interview.
Findeisen stated, “Every time it comes down to a difficult point, the answer always seem like, ‘I made a embarrassing mistake.'” It’s difficult to believe that you have made so many embarrassing errors.
Findeisen claimed that he was given the “smoking pistol” by Bankman-Fried when he admitted that FTX’s customer deposit were not treated the same as stated in the Terms of Service. This is an admission of fraud. It spread like wildfire online during the days that led to Bankman-Fried’s arrest.
He was a crypto sleuth before he became a crypto sleuth.
Bankman-Fried is currently being tried on various charges including money laundering, fraud, and illegal use of customer funds. In the meantime, Findeisen has been praised as a citizen journalist in an area that has been plagued by scammers.
Findeisen claims that he witnessed scammers in his own life before he became known as Coffeezilla. In a 2022 interview, Findeisen stated that his mother was sold a scam treatment following her diagnosis of cancer.
When Findeisen was in college at Texas A&M University he was asked by a friend whether he would like to be part of a mysterious business opportunity. Findeisen later discovered that it was a multilevel marketing scheme. Findeisen was hesitant to get involved, but his roommates joined the fray and bought a subscription to success magazine.
“I clearly remember thinking that we have four copies Success magazine, and none of them are successful. He said, “Something is wrong here.”
After graduating in chemical engineering, Findeisen began to create YouTube content while working as a salesperson at a local homebuilder. When he started critiquing financial influences, he found a niche. He now makes videos full-time, and has 2.5 million subscribers after his investigative work.
Interview with CNN in 2017. Findeisen stated that he started investigating NFT and dubious crypto projects last year because the industry was full of bad actors. Illicit crypto transactions reached an all-time high last year, when Findeisen had over a million new subscribers.
He said that he hated the idea of people being scammed by get-rich-quick schemes. “Eventually, I discovered crypto, which is like, some good things are happening, but holy mom of scams there are a lot too.
He is also against the cultural zeitgeist in general.
He told The New Yorker that he always wants to travel where others aren’t. “I believe, if only I was seeing negative crypto stuff, then I would start a procrypto channel. However, I see the opposite.”
The videos of Findeisen have also drawn ire from the influencer community.
After he created a YouTube series in which he exposed Paul’s NFT project, CryptoZoo (which Findeisen called the “biggest fraud”), Findeisen found himself in an awkward situation with Logan Paul.
Paul promoted the project as “fun and profitable game that makes money”. Players could purchase eggs with an in-game currency called Zoo coin. According to the project, the eggs would hatch into animal NFTs and then give out Zoo coins every day that could be used to exchange for fiat money. However, Findeisen stated that there is no way to either hatch the eggs or cash out your holdings.
Paul suggested that he would pursue legal action against Findeisen’s claims and warned of “very real consequences” in a now-destroyed YouTube video.
Insider asked for comment from Paul, but a spokesperson declined. However, has since apologized to the YouTuber and has retracted those threats according to Findeisen’s recent tweet. From the CryptoZoo Discord, Findeisen shared a screenshot showing Paul making amends for the public spat.
Coffee is not the enemy in this war. Actually, I’m thankful he brought it to my attention. Paul wrote, “I will be taking responsibility.”
Insider asked Findeisen for more information on his work but he declined, stating that he was tired of speaking with the media.