Whether you love or hate polarizing Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report founder Elon Musk, one thing is for sure: when he talks, people listen.

Many believe strongly in Musk’s vision of technology, as evidenced by not only his 95 million Twitter followers, but those clamoring to buy Tesla vehicles, both those already manufactured and those far from it.

Musk’s bid to buy Twitter has also excited many that believe the billionaire could transform the social media platform into something better, despite many stop and go moments along the way — his most recent being a pledge of $6.25 billion in equity towards the purchase.

People also watch Musk for his thoughts on bitcoin and NFTs. 

He’s long embraced Dogecoin, and changing his profile picture to a Bored Ape collage in mid-May triggered waves of curiosity about whether he’s changing his tone on NFTs as well.

But if you’ve seen the recent video of Musk talking about his involvement in a new cryptocurrency trading platform, be warned: it’s a fake.

The Danger of Deepfakes

On May 24, a Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Twitter, Inc. Report user named DogeDesigner posted a video they claimed was a deepfake, tagging Musk. 

A deepfake is a video made using deep learning technology, which can create a moving, talking image of a person that appears identical to the real person.

In the video, Musk claims to own BitVex, a fake cryptocurrency platform that claims to offer a 30% return on crypto deposits.

Musk was quick to reply in the comments of the tweet, saying “Yikes. Def not me.” 

Scroll to Continue

Several other well-known figures were featured in deepfakes promoting BitVex as well, including Cathie Wood, Brad Garlinghouse, Michael Saylor, and Charles Hoskinson. 

As with Musk, original interviews were used and then doctored to use a different script performed by threat actors.

While some deepfakes are indiscernible, it is easy to see that the speech and mouth movements in the video above do not sync up.

This is not Musk’s first time having his likeness used in a way he didn’t grant permission for, either. 

He recently also was contacted by a Chinese fan who claims to look exactly like him, but is likely also using deepfake technology.

Celebrity Crypto Endorsements

Celebrity promotion of cryptocurrency has already raised some issues about validity. 

After Kim Kardashian posted a message about EthereumMax (EMAX) on her Instagram in June 2021 with the hashtag #ad, many realized that celebrities were being paid to promote crypto. 

Boxer Floyd Mayweather was another celeb paid to promote it.

This resulted in a lawsuit against both parties, as well as athlete Paul Pierce, filed in January 2022 in Los Angeles, which alleges that the defendants promoted the crypto as a way to gain investor trust while offloading their own assets in a “pump and dump” scheme.

Crypto rug pulls, which mean attracting investors to a new crypto project and then abandoning it, have become more common in 2022, leaving many investors unsure what’s real and what’s not. 

A recent report from Chainalysis stating that hackers have stolen $14 billion in 2022 so far.