Dogecoin creator claims Mark Cuban is running a crypto 'grift:' He seems to have 'drunk the Kool-Aid'

Dogecoin creator claims Mark Cuban is running a crypto 'grift:' He seems to have 'drunk the Kool-Aid'
Jackson Palmer and Mark Cuban, right.David Paul Morris via Getty and Mike Windle via Getty
  • Dogecoin Co-Creator Jackson Palmer said he feels major investors are running a crypto "grift."
  • Palmer originally created Dogecoin as a part of a counter-cultural movement against Wall Street.

Dogecoin Co-Creator Jackson Palmer had some harsh words for crypto enthusiasts like Mark Cuban.

In an interview with Insider, Palmer said Cuban seems to have "drunk the Kool-Aid" when it comes to crypto and NFTs.

"Mark Cuban isn't getting paid as a celebrity to promote this stuff," Palmer said. "He actually has kind of been indoctrinated into believing that these things are the future."

The Adobe engineer accused Cuban and other major investors in and promoters of crypto — including billionaire Marc Andreessen and investor Chris Dixon — of running a "grift."

"They actively see it as an ongoing way to extract profit. It's not like they've been paid once off to promote something — it's that they want to be the ones that are in control or have ownership or a large stake in this kind of extractive, grifty system of cryptocurrency," Palmer claimed.


Cuban dismissed Palmer's charges in a statement to Insider. "Sounds like the same thing that has been said about every new technology I've been involved in," he said.

Andreessen and Dixon did not respond to a request for comment from Insider ahead of publication.

Still, in August, Dixon, who leads the crypto fund at Andreessen Horowitz, said he sees digital currencies as a way to shift the power away from big tech. The fund, which was co-founded by Andreessen, has invested in more than 50 crypto startups. Meanwhile, Andreessen has called crypto skeptics like Palmer an "incredible gift" to his firm in the past.

Earlier this year, Cuban said 80% of his current investments that are not on the ABC program "Shark Tank" are related to crypto. In contrast, despite helping create Dogecoin — which peaked in 2021 and currently has a $7.84 billion market value — Palmer has said he hasn't made a cent off the digital currency, he told the crypto blog Decrypt in 2018. He told Insider he's always seen crypto as more of a "hobby."

Palmer also commented on the role celebrities like Matt Damon and Kim Kardashian have taken in advertising crypto to the masses. Though he said he sees the role of actors and artists in the crypto scheme as more transactional and less of a "grift."


"They promote what they get paid to promote," Palmer said. "I think that the actors don't have a moral compass when it comes to that, but it's their job. That's what they do. It's not surprising to me."

In June, Damon was mocked online as the value of cryptocurrencies plummeted. People took to social media to slam the actor for his Superbowl ad with that told viewers "Fortune favors the brave" just months before cryptocurrencies lost more than $2 trillion in value.

The co-creator of the meme currency has long had a cynical view of crypto as more and more traditional finance types have embraced what was once an alternative to the mainstream financial system.

"Back in 2013 — or even when crypto was first coming out in 2008 — there was a portion of it that was actually a response to Wall Street and the overarching capitalist system," Palmer said.

"What really turned me off was that I quickly realized that the people that were building these systems —building Bitcoin and building all of these cryptocurrencies — didn't necessarily want to replace a corrupt capitalist system. They more so wanted to be the ones in control of an alternative capitalist system. The gripe for most people in crypto isn't that Wall Street bankers were exploitative or had unfair power, it's that they want to be the unfair power in the system and they want to be the ones that are able to extract large profits from people instead of Wall Street bankers," he added.


Read the full interview with Palmer here.