PM Lee asks for his name, photo to be removed from BitClout crypto platform that monetises Twitter profiles

PM Lee urged Singaporeans to remain vigilant when dealing with cryptocurrency platforms.
PM Lee urged Singaporeans to remain vigilant when dealing with cryptocurrency platforms.PHOTO: LEE HSIEN LOONG/TWITTER

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has asked that his name and photograph be removed from a cryptocurrency platform that used his profile without his knowledge.

The Straits Times spotted what appeared to be the Prime Minister’s profile on the BitClout platform on Wednesday (March 31) and sent his office a query the following day.

BitClout is a new type of blockchain that has its own native cryptocurrency and platform that allows users to buy and sell "creator coins" that are tagged to influential Twitter profiles.

People can buy the BitClout cryptocurrency with Bitcoin to make such trades.

PM Lee said in a Facebook post late on Friday, without naming BitClout: "The site's creators are anonymous, but I have sent an open tweet out to ask that my name and photo be removed from the site immediately, as I have nothing to do with the platform. It is misleading and done without my permission."

He urged Singaporeans to remain vigilant when dealing with cryptocurrency platforms.

"If you deal with entities not regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), remember: You won't be protected by the laws administered by MAS.

"Before making any investment, please ensure that it is genuine and legitimate, so that you will not fall prey to scams."

Checks by ST on Wednesday found that PM Lee’s profile was listed on the platform, alongside national carrier Singapore Airlines and the Olympics.

ST has also asked Singapore Airlines for comment.

A BitClout explainer document found on the site said: “Profiles for the top 15,000 influencers from Twitter have been pre-loaded into the platform, meaning that you can buy and sell their coins even though they’re not on the platform yet.”

This means people can trade coins tagged to these Twitter profiles - including PM Lee’s - regardless of whether they have actually signed up to BitClout or not.

The price of each coin goes up when people buy and goes down when people sell. 

It is also affected by the profile’s activity and popularity online.

“Creator coins are a new type of asset class that is tied to the reputation of an individual, rather than to a company or commodity. They are truly the first tool we have as a society to trade ‘social clout’ as an asset,” the BitClout document said.

“If people understand this, then the value of someone’s coin should be correlated to that person’s standing in society.

“People who believe in someone’s potential can buy their coin and succeed with them financially when that person realises their potential and traders can make money buying and selling the ups and downs.”

The document added that BitClout, like bitcoin, is a fully open-source project and there is no company behind it. 

PM Lee also posted a link on Twitter last night to an earlier news story by Nasdaq, which reported that BitClout’s alleged creator was hit with a cease and desist letter by a prominent crypto law firm.

Separately, ST found that verified profiles on the BitClout platform include that of Mr Tyler Winklevoss, who, along with his twin brother Cameron, was embroiled in a lawsuit against Mr Mark Zuckerberg that began over a decade ago. 

The brothers had claimed the Facebook founder stole their idea for the platform when the trio attended Harvard University.