“The face of bitcoin” — that’s how one recent article described James Altucher, the self-proclaimed “crypto genius” behind those online advertisements that seem to have stalked you since the first time you typed “Bitcoin” into Google.
Altucher’s ads follow cryptocurrency enthusiasts everywhere. Twitter? Yes. YouTube? You betcha. Facebook? They used to — until the company banned cryptocurrency-related advertising. In fact, there’s a high probability you’ll see one at the bottom of this article.
But just in case you needed a reminder, here’s a standard one:
There’s a good reason that you can’t escape these ads. Altucher’s company, the Baltimore-based Choose Yourself Financial, has spent an estimated $2.7 million in advertising over the past 12 months, according to data from Buzzfeed reporter Jane Lytvynenko.
Most of that money has been spent since October and has risen — and declined — along with the Bitcoin price. More than $2 million of those funds have been directed to Google AdSense, which is why the ads seem to relentlessly follow you from website to website.
In addition to landing Altucher screen time on high-profile news outlets as a so-called cryptocurrency expert, his ads generated a staggering 793 million impressions.
So what exactly is Altucher, a former hedge fund manager who is perhaps best known as a self-help guru, selling?
With all the subtlety of an infomercial, Altucher claims on his website that he has cracked the “crypto code” and can “predict which penny cryptocurrencies are set to jump 800% or more starting in the next 2-3 weeks.”
He’s willing to share that information with you, if you sign up for his $2,000 per year Crypto Trader newsletter — which, he says, is a $3,000 discount off what he really should be charging.
It’s unclear how many subscriptions Choose Yourself Financial has sold, or whether those that have bought are glad they did. If you do decide to listen to the sales pitch, though, pay close attention to his exact words (and better yet, read the transcript).
It was, after all, one of Altucher’s sales pitches that ignited a false rumor that Amazon would begin accepting Bitcoin last October.
Featured screencap from Google images.