Screenshot via Twitter

He made a cryptocurrency called SCAM. Now he's trying to make it legit

Cryptocurrency crazes make it feel like we're living in the era of funny money. Bitcoin continues to reach new highs; dogecoin has turned people into millionaires despite being intentionally designed to be worthless. Hell, a coin called CumRocket surged over 600% in a single day. Cryptocurrency skeptics would tell you that this is all a scam. Cryptocurrency evangelists — well, it turns out they would buy that, too.

Andre Lewis, better known online as Dre or Dreesus, decided a week ago that he wanted to make his own cryptocurrency. So, through a process that to an outsider feels like internet alchemy, Dre created Simple Cool Automatic Money, or SCAM for short. And while you may think that no one would be foolish enough to invest real money in something that is literally called SCAM, well ... you know where this is going.

Mic reached out to Dre to hear the real story behind his fake coin. He says that creating a coin was his way of better understanding decentralized finance (DeFi), an umbrella term for emerging technology that enables people to make and trade currencies outside of traditional institutions like banks. In particular, he says his initial goal was to explore the Smart Chain, a blockchain platform that is open for developers to create tokens and apps.

So how exactly does one go about making their own cryptocurrency? The same way that we learn to do anything at this point: "I typed in 'how to make a coin' on YouTube," Dre says. While he started out trying to make a coin on the Ethereum blockchain, he says that the computer he was working with wasn't equipped for the task. "I looked up [Smart Chain] 'cause it was way easier." He paid about $400 worth of Binance Coin in order to mint his cryptocurrency, he says. "Then, boom, it was made."

All in all, Dre says, it took him about 30 minutes in total to make SCAM.

Then came the most important part in any cryptocurrency's life: the hype. Dre says he took the coin to Twitter and TikTok to start promoting it, though at first it was all in jest. "It was originally a joke," he says. "I just wanted to make something for myself." But while he was poking fun at other shitcoins — a.k.a. bad investments — people started getting legitimately curious about it. "I told people I made it on Twitter and then they asked about a pool," he says, referring to a liquidity pool, or collection of funds that facilitate trading. Dre says that he made the pool on PancakeSwap, an exchange that lets people trade tokens against a massive pool of user funds.

As soon as he did that, things took off. SCAM skyrocketed to a $70 million market capitalization, a figure that conveys the total value of all coins in circulation. It happened so fast, Dre says, that he didn't even have time to watch it happen. "[There] was a lot going on," Dre says. "People putting me in Discords and Telegrams, making websites."

While the novelty of SCAM blowing up was exciting, Dre says that he was more paranoid than anything: "All these other people that have coins are mostly [anonymous]. I'm public," he says. It didn't take long before Dre realized why so many cryptocurrency creators stay out of the limelight: "People started harassing my family like the next day," he says. The messages came from traders who were apparently upset about SCAM's fluctuating price, which Dre describes as "shit that doesn’t have anything to do with me."

Dre says he hasn't made any money off of SCAM personally, though he has received some donations from people. He suspects very few people have made any money off of the coin, either.

Despite the hassle, and the fact that the whole project started as an experiment and a joke, Dre is looking to capitalize on SCAM's unexpected rise. After all, he already made it, so he might as well actually make something of it. "I want to teach people DeFi with it," Dre says. "I might as well."

It'd be easy for someone in Dre's shoes to get cynical about cryptocurrency, after seeing a joke coin named SCAM that was made in 30 minutes go from zero value to a $70 million market cap in no time at all. It sort of seems beyond parody. But Dre has a much more positive take on it. "The possibilities are endless," he says.

He knows there are people who won't take SCAM seriously. But he also knows what his true intentions are, and he's hoping that others will believe in that vision. "It's a part of doing your due diligence as a smart investor to read everything. SCAM is the ticker, but the name is Simple Cool Automatic Money. That's something people want when they invest," he says. Dre claims that he's been working on a technical analysis and is going to develop SCAM into something with true utility.

"People's cynicism should fade away once they see what I'm trying to do with it," he says. "People are going to hate all day because they didn’t do it or couldn’t fathom doing it," he says, but "I can't focus on that. The only thing I can focus on is making this coin useful."

If he's successful, SCAM might become anything but.