Recently, former Australian reality TV star and adult model Vanessa Sierra saw herself caught in the midst of scam accusations from the cryptocurrency community.
The controversy began when a well-known crypto analyst “NFTHerder” accused the Australian model of “rug pulling” the investments made in her NFT line.
In March of 2022, Sierra along with her partner “ReaganETH” started a new NFT project called “SmolBoyz Land”, a collection of 9,999 unique hand-drawn NFTs, with a plan to buy up all of land in the metaverse.
SmolBoyz appeared to be a success at the time. Shortly after launching it, Sierra and her partner were able to raise 127ETH, which at the time was worth nearly half a million dollars.
Within hours, she had more than 10,000 followers on the project’s Discord, and the project’s sales forecast marked a whopping $4 million.
The adult star continued to promote the project to her 539k Instagram followers. During the promotion project’s whitepaper claimed that “It’s clear statistically and experientially that prices will trend upwards,” while also claiming that more investors will become “priced out” in the future.
“I’m so overwhelmed, I already had somewhat good expectations but I didn’t think it would blow up straight away,” Sierra, told news.com.au in January.
Price Manipulation Accusations Against Vanessa Sierra
However, shortly after, NFTHerder noticed suspicious monetary movements involving the project’s management.
In a Twitter thread, the crypto analyst noticed that nearly 120 ETH was sent to two wallets shortly after a mint. One of these wallets bought 26 SmolBoyz NFT and transferred it to 6 other wallets. Moreover, Sierra’s partner used the leftover ETH to pump prices up, creating fake demand.
The suspicious transactions caused the community to accuse SmolBoyz’s founders of wash-trading the assets in order to artificially inflate the price of the tokens.
The multisig wallet used to trade the assets belonged to Sierra’s partner, “ReaganETH”. This means that only the two founders of the project held control over the transactions on that specific wallet.
According to the thread, from March through May, the remaining assets were either progressively distributed among the founders or cashed out. On May 7th, the founders went all in, withdrawing 120ETH (of the 128 ETH raised).
Reports indicate that Sierra and her partner duped investors and started dividing the assets received a few days later. She transferred 10 ETH to wallets in order to purchase 28 SmolBoyz NFTs and then cashed out another 8 ETH on Binance.
Vanessa Sierra Claimed No One Was Pulling Money Out of SmolBoyz Land
Despite the damning evidence, Sierra continued to promote the project.
After the people that invested in the NFT project began growing concerned after the suspicious transactions, Sierra posted a message on Discord:
“We would like to reiterate that absolutely none of the funding has been taken by founders and is still sitting in the public wallet address provided,” She wrote.
No one really knows what happened to the 120 ETH since the transactions. However, evidence suggests that the assets were not reinvested in the project.
The NFT community then began to openly criticize Sierra for mishandling investors’ money. Since then, the OnlyFans model deleted every page involving the project.
After the well-deserved scrutiny, Vanessa Sierra decided to answer back, by retweeting a post that read:
“Sore losers love to blame others for their bad investment.”
What is a Rug Pull Scheme?
Similar to a pump and dump scheme, “rug pull” in the crypto world is described as when someone influential openly promotes a token, in order to artificially manipulate its value. After the asset gains value due to followers jumping into the investment, the person that promoted liquidates their assets, gaining significant value in their investment.
Ultimately, the promoter of a rug pull scam causes the investors to lose most (if not all) of the money invested. Under U.S. law, these types of schemes categorize as wire fraud and, and can lead to up to 20 years in prison, depending on the severity of the crime.
So far, there are no reports of an investigation against Vanessa Sierra.