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What happens when you combine a dubious crypto project, a rekt investor, and a wealthy founder enjoying his profits? A fight in an upscale shopping center, of course.
Prominent Venezuelan crypto influencer Newman Perez was earlier this month confronted at a Colombian shopping center by a man who accused him of stealing his funds. The confrontation, caught on camera, was uploaded to TikTok, shared on Twitter, and has since gone viral.
"Did you not steal from me? What do you call that? A scam," said the man, who then addressed the crowd to share his opinions about Perez. "I present to you Colombia’s number one scammer."
Encararon a Newman Pérez en un restaurante y estaba cagadisimo pic.twitter.com/v0fDm2jPIm
— Whitezuelans (@whitezuelans) February 9, 2023
Perez is actually Venezuelan, though currently lives in Colombia because he is wanted in Venezuela on charges of “continuous aggravated fraud, threats against a public official, alteration of goods, and private violence,” according to local media Caraota Digital.
The influencer, who has an Instagram following of more than 668,000, has launched several businesses in the past. One of his oldest and best-known initiatives is the website Apreciodepana.com, which, according to Perez, was backed by Google Ventures. Decrypt has not been able to verify this claim, and representatives for Google Ventures have not replied to requests for comment.
Perez’s other businesses include MacStore Venezuela, DivisasToGo, and several trading and financial coaching courses. Among his more questionable ventures was the illegal renting of Zelle accounts, which led to his Twitter account being banned.
Days after the viral video was uploaded, Perez said on his Instagram account that it was all a “social experiment”—perhaps as a way to save face—and then redirected his followers to a press release published in Forbes, promoting his latest crypto project BNB Beats.
BNB Beats controversy
BNB Beats, a crypto app on the BNB Chain, claims that it generates daily returns of 1% and 3% per day on any amount invested by its users. Its white paper doesn’t explain what it does but says it focuses on “increasing the quality of life of people” through education, trust, and innovation.
Recently, DappBay—an app hub created by Binance in July 2022—issued a red alert notice on Perez’s BNB Beats. That essentially means it’s been flagged as a scam. "The contract executes differently from what the project owners announced, and that inequality (between what was announced and what was actually executed) will lead to unexpected results," said DappBay.
Perez criticized DappBay's audit and directed his followers to instead read an audit from HazeCrypto, a competitor to DappBay. "Do you want to see a real audit??? Well, look at HazeCrypto's," he said in his Telegram group.
HazeCrypto’s audit says the BNB Beats smart contract has no vulnerabilities. However, the audit warns that deposited funds cannot be withdrawn and that dividends are paid from new users' deposits—the textbook definition of a Ponzi scheme.
At the moment, BNB Beats V3 alone has 3,673 users and just over 544 BNB (roughly $164,000) in total value locked, according to HazeCrypto metrics —not counting his other projects. The BNB Beats’ whitepaper estimates a 333,233% return-on-investment between January 2023 and April 2025.