For the last week, a handful of UK-based celebrities have been talking about a new startup, called “CryptoEats,” that would compete against UberEats by allowing customers to pay for food delivery in cryptocurrency. The creators mocked up a logo, got TikTok influencers to promote it (and one to wear its swag on a video), apparently threw a party, and announced the EATS token through a press release that went out over a service used often by legitimate companies.
Almost immediately after its launch, CryptoEats vanished from the internet, along with a few hundred thousand dollars in one of the more elaborate shitcoin rug pulls in recent memory.
In the press release, which can still be found on Yahoo Finance, CryptoEats claimed it had raised $8 million in Series A funding. “How could such a low-key idea to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment for your food attract such interest from the cryptocurrency community?” it asked. “Crypto Eats first real step in allowing people’s [sic] to use crypto currency as a form of payment for items in the real world.”
The press release, which was released through a service called GlobeNewswire that is used by a lot of legitimate tech companies (as well as a recent high-profile cryptocurrency scam involving Litecoin and Walmart), went on to claim that its founder, Wade Phillips, had partnered with Nando’s, McDonald’s, and hired an army of delivery drivers that would allow the company to “compete head-on with the likes of Uber eats and Delivaroo thanks to its algorithm based blockchain implemented software.”
The CryptoEats website claimed it had “hundreds of restaurants to choose from” and promised odd-sounding features such as ordering individual items and having a driver pick them up from different restaurants on the way to your place. It promised coffee delivery within five minutes at the press of a button, and promised potential workers a pension contribution and guaranteed salary. Ahead of the token sale, it even got influencers to wear CryptoEats-branded delivery uniforms.
None of this was true, and Wade Phillips seemingly does not exist.
Soon after launching token sales this weekend, blockchain records show, the CryptoEats developer wallet transferred roughly $500,000 in Binance Coin into various wallets and the project completely disappeared off the internet without releasing its promised app. Its Instagram, Telegram, and website are gone. And like many other NFT and BSC token rug pulls, its investors are screwed. An email sent to the address listed on CryptoEats’ press released immediately bounced back.
What makes CryptoEats more interesting than your average rug pull—a type of scam endemic among cryptocurrencies and NFT projects—was the elaborate setup, as well as the speed of its disappearance. Several people who watched it happen in real time suggested that the company disappeared mere minutes after the token sale launch, after a week or so of a concerted, influencer-led hypefest, which was detailed and archived by the YouTuber Scarcity Studios.
“The coin is launching on the 17th of October. All I’m saying is use your brains. They’ve got more money than they know what to do with,” personal trainer Tiktoker hstikkytokky said to his 387,000 followers. “And if you’ve got more money than you know what to do with, and you’re launching something that’s better than other things, it will do well.”
“In a week’s time, in a month’s time, in two months’ time, that business could be the biggest delivery food app in the UK, and it hasn’t been listed yet,” hstikkytokky said.
Promoter Bouncer and DJ Charlie Sloth (who has a million followers on Instagram) promoted the company and its app, according to videos archived by Scarcity Studios. The fake company also hired people to wear hats, shirts, and carry bags branded with “CryptoEats” in videos published to social media and apparently threw a party with CryptoEats branded bikes in London this weekend, according to Bouncer, who claimed he didn’t know anything about the scam.
“Omg CryptoEats Coin turnt out to be a big scam,” Bouncer posted on his Instagram story Monday. “They paid me to make a promo vid for their food app & NOT COIN. Got invited to their event they had all the delivery bikes outside … this is disgusting behavior that people are really scamming others for there [sic] hard earned money.”