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Opinion
Lionel Laurent

The Lights Are Going Out for Crypto’s Laser-Eyed Grifters

Bitcoin’s latest market rout has quietened influencers on social media. That’s a welcome development.

The Winklevoss twins, appearing soon at a bar near you.

The Winklevoss twins, appearing soon at a bar near you.

Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

There aren’t many silver linings to be found in the cryptocurrency crash. People have lost money, often those who could least afford it. But one welcome casualty is the army of laser-eyed social media “influencers,” toxic promoters in what must surely rank as the one of the most egregious product-placement manias in financial history. What comes next should be a healthier focus on consumer protection in an age of digital investing.

The simple identifier of a pair of laser eyes — a badge of optimism that Bitcoin was headed for $100,000 and beyond — at its peak adorned the avatars of congresswomen, billionaires, sports stars and, of course, hordes of rank-and-file crypto enthusiasts.