The video is almost convincing: it shows Anatoly Yakovenko, Solana's co-founder, announcing a “historic day” for Solana. He thanks the “SOL” community and is offering a giveaway through a QR code and website. Sure, he sounds a bit robotic — his voice is monotone and unusual for him — and he barely makes eye contact with the camera, but it's video, and seeing is believing, right?
It's fake, of course. It was shown on YouTube for one day. Not only that, at least One netizen says they saw it as an advertisement. This is not limited to YouTube only. The fake video appears in ads on the platform formerly known as Twitter, which Elon Musk prefers to call X.
“There has been a significant increase in deepfakes and other AI-generated content recently,” says Austin Videra, chief strategy officer at Solana Foundation. (Note that this is not just a cryptocurrency issue.) He told me that Solana takes these counterfeits seriously and reports them as soon as possible. But Solana is not responsible for removing counterfeits. It's up to platforms like YouTube and X. And they're concerned about it – Solana reported this video to YouTube last night.
Google, YouTube's parent company, did not respond to a request for comment. Shortly after this article was published, YouTube terminated the account associated with the video.
Cryptocurrency industry participants have complained to me for years that major tech platforms don't act quickly enough to remove scams. But deepfakes are getting better, scams are becoming more convincing, and quick takedowns are becoming increasingly important.
This is a moderation problem, of course, but one with real consequences, especially as the possibility of a Bitcoin ETF looms on the horizon. One advantage of this type of financial product is that they are handled by financial sector professionals – making them appear relatively safer. These participants, after all, are less likely to fall for this type of fake video.
Updated January 3, 5:25 PM ET: He adds that the video was withdrawn after the article was published.