Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to a deepfake video of himself being used to promote a cryptocurrency scam.
The video, which first appeared on YouTube this week, shows a digitally altered Musk introducing a new cryptocurrency platform known as BitVex.
The deepfake is based on footage from an actual interview Musk gave to TED head Christ Anderson in April. Yet the pair’s speech has clearly been orchestrated with synthetic voices as part of the scam.
“Today we are launching an investment platform that is working right now if you see this video,” the deepfake Musk states. “Absolutely everyone can earn. Everything is very simple.”
The AI-generated Musk goes on to promise a 30% return on investment every day within three months for those who deposit their cryptocurrency into BitVex. In reality, those who invest immediately have their digital funds stolen.
Although the original YouTube video has since been removed, the footage has found its way to numerous other social media sites.
Musk even responded to a Twitter user who shared the video, which has racked up over half-a-million views.
“Yikes,” Musk wrote. “Def not me.”
But the scam, according to Bleeping Computer, goes well beyond Musk. Other deepfake videos featuring high-profile individuals in the cryptocurrency industry have also been used to promote BitVex.
Bleeping Computer also noted that it appears as if the scammers have only been able to steal $1,700 in cryptocurrency thus far, although the number could be higher. Following the widespread attention, websites run by BitVex went offline on Thursday. It remains unclear if the sites were pulled down by the scammers or by their host.
The scam is unsurprising given just how much money criminals have been able to earn by hacking and stealing digital assets such as cryptocurrency and NFTs.