Hall of Flame – Cointelegraph Magazine
Name: Tiffany Fong
Twitter followers: 51.7K
Known for: Breaking leaked info on Celsius and interviewing Sam Bankman-Fried after the FTX collapse
Who is Tiffany Fong anyway?
Tiffany Fong is 28 years old, has a background in marketing, and describes herself as a “reluctant crypto content creator” who developed a following after $100,000 worth of her crypto assets were locked up by bankrupt crypto lender Celsius.
She’s posted more than 20 critical videos about the company since June 2022 and has been blocked by Celsius, founder Alex Mashinsky and his wife, Krissy.
“I had no plans to be an influencer or citizen journalist or anything. I just personally lost a bunch of money to Celsius Network, and I was just mad and wanted somewhere to vent.”
“So, I started posting on YouTube and Twitter about it after Celsius went down, and then it kind of snowballed into more,” she adds. Fong says she got into crypto back in 2010 as one of her relatives was mining Bitcoin. Scooping up a bunch of BTC and some other assets early on, Fong said she hodled and remained on the periphery of the space until the Celsius disaster.
How did she get popular on Twitter?
Fong attributes most of the growth of her Twitter following to her reporting on leaks from Celsius insiders and her interactions with FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) — not to mention some good old-fashioned shitposting.
“I started getting leaks from Celsius employees. [From that] I think I gained a little bit more newsworthy attention,” she says. “So, I think that grew my audience a bit bigger. And that’s when Sam [Bankman-Fried] started following me.”
Her famous follower would become a massive opportunity down the road. Amid the chaos of the FTX bankruptcy, Fong reached out to SBF on multiple occasions and managed to score a series of interviews and private conversations with him, and even visited him twice recently during his house arrest in Palo Alto.
As such, she has drawn a lot of attention from the media, and even U.S. politicians.
One phone interview, in particular, was also featured in a collaborative YouTube video between Fong and Coffeezilla, which now has 1.8 million views. She copped criticism online from those who questioned her lack of finger-wagging at SBF, especially given Coffeezilla’s highly critical tone.
“I definitely dealt with a lot of pushback when I initially started posting about my conversations with SBF. Like to me, even if I don’t believe what the person is saying, I’m kind of personally interested in hearing their claims,” she said, adding that:
“Even if I think that they’re lying, to me, more information is better because they’ll end up hanging themselves with their own words. Like I think SBF has done multiple times.”
What you can expect on her Twitter?
When not posting scoops, she’s most likely shitposting. Sometimes literally.
There is no better example of this than her Twitter posts concerning her visit to the White House back in December.
Sharing a photo of her standing next to President Joe Biden via Twitter on Dec. 17, she captioned the photo: “I let @Potus [Biden] smell my hair.”
It’s a reference to a popular meme about Biden apparently invading women’s personal space by whiffing their hair.
Adding context on how the hell she managed to score an invite to the White House, Fong said that one of her followers worked for the secret service and lined up an invitation for her.
“I made him send me a photo of him holding his government ID with three fingers up like it was a whole thing. But, like, I’m not going to turn down a visit to the White House for free — I’m not an important person. And there’s no other way I’m gonna be able to go to the White House,” she said.
“Yeah, that turned into a huge conspiracy theory on Twitter that I’m like a fed that’s like working with Biden or something like that. I’m not even political whatsoever.”
Mild beef: BitBoy Crypto
Crypto YouTuber Ben Armstrong traveled to the Bahamas in late November to confront SBF.
Knowing Fong had a direct line to SBF, Armstrong DMed her for a connection, but after she ignored him, he started flaming her. “He apparently claimed that I was jealous of him being in the Bahamas, and I was like, ‘Why would I be jealous at all that you flew internationally to unsuccessfully attempt to interview SBF?’” she says.
Medium rare beef: the Daily Mail and the New York Post
Reporting on Fong’s interactions with SBF in December, the Daily Mail and the New York Post both used bikini pics, called her a “sexy crypto influencer” and suggested that Fong could be dating SBF. She slammed them on Twitter for their slimy clickbait.
This led to a spat with the Daily Mail journalist who wrote the article and the publication removing her bikini pictures in their article thumbnails. The New York Post did not follow suit.
“It’s definitely annoying,” she says, pointing out that she got admissions out of SBF about “donating to the Republican Party and admissions about the Bahamian withdrawals.”
“But I feel like all of that is overlooked. And then they pretty much just pulled like old bikini photos to make that the central focus of the fact that I spoke with SBF.”
Top quality beef: Krissy Mashinsky
Alex Mashinsky’s wife, Krissy, has taken aim at Fong, claiming she is part of SBF’s inner circle.
Fong’s header photo on her Twitter page displays a tweet from Krissy Mashinsky claiming that she hacked into Celsius Zoom calls.
The two had numerous spats on Twitter (before the blocking), and Fong does not mince her words: “She’s done a lot of stuff that’s insane. She posts videos of their multi-million-dollar penthouse in Manhattan after they’ve ruined the lives of 1000s of people. So, I think she’s just absolutely deranged.”
Twitter likes and dislikes
“It’s fun having a community. And I guess it’s nice to some degree to have a voice that some people are interested in listening to,” she says about the positives.
“What do I not like? I mean, things can become inflammatory really quickly and, obviously, taken out of context. And I don’t know — Twitter can become an echo chamber where everyone just wants to hear the same thing,” she said.
Fong says she has no idea where her social media fame will take her. “I never had a plan about any of this. I was just posting, initially just upset about Celsius,” she says.
“And it snowballed into this. So, I feel like I’m just taking it day by day and just in whatever direction the wind blows me. So, I don’t have a career plan with this. And I didn’t plan on becoming an influencer or citizen journalist.”
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