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As can be seen on this site, Andrei Jikh was a leading YouTube finance influencer. It should thus come as no surprise that many of his millions of followers were taken aback when he was shown to have played an active role in the recent FTX scandal. The question is, how much can and should Jikh and his fellow influencers be held to account?

The Role of the Influencer

Influencers on YouTube and other media sites often work with sponsors. These site users leverage the size of their audiences and how engaged they are with their followers to gain sponsorships from related brands. In this case, it only makes sense that Jikh and others of his ilk would be sponsored by fintech companies.

The problem isn’t with the idea of sponsorships itself. It’s with the lack of due diligence performed by Jikh and other fintech influencers. Influencers agreeing to sponsorships know that they are becoming active ambassadors for the companies that pay them to talk or write about their brands. They should feel a moral responsibility to vet those sponsors before signing on the dotted line.

Responsibilities to Followers

In an ideal world, influential people would consider the responsibilities they hold implicitly towards those who respect them and take their advice, not just in the fintech industry but more generally. However, that’s rarely the case.

The primary goal of most influencers is to make money off of brand sponsorships, not to help their audiences make savvy financial choices. Fans see Jikh and others like him as internet celebrities, but in reality, he makes money off of sponsorships by marketing products and services to those same fans.

Respected online personalities have a responsibility to their followers, or at least they should. If they plan on making money off of recommendations, especially presented as genuine financial advice, fintech influencers should perform their due diligence.

The cryptocurrency market is incredibly volatile, and hyping any crypto exchange could be viewed as irresponsible. FTX was certainly not the first crypto company to fall from grace, but thanks to its relationship with influencers, the company’s fall was one of the most spectacular.

Apologies and Accountability

The creators associated with the FTX scandal were quick to post apology videos to their accounts, but the question remains as to how much those apologies are really worth to their followers. Many people lost their entire life savings as a result of taking the advice proffered by Jikh and others as it was ostensibly being offered by respected industry experts.

The influencers, themselves, lost nothing more than some face. They made a killing on working with FTX and supporting its brand and were not impacted by the same material losses affecting their audiences. Given those facts, it’s difficult to take the apologies at face value and believe that they can be equated with taking genuine accountability for the role these influencers played in the FTX scandal.

A Lesson Learned?

Hopefully, crypto investors and fintech enthusiasts, more generally, have learned a lesson, albeit a difficult and expensive one. In the future, it would be wise for anyone following fintech influences to perform their own due diligence before taking any financial advice. After all, it’s clear at this point that not all popular YouTube personalities in the industry are taking their own responsibilities when it comes to brand vetting as seriously as they should.

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