I’m glad you make the connection to crypto because (1) it’s probably the only reason this article showed up in my feed; and (2) the world of influencers and the world of crypto are rife with similarities. I transitioned from the former world (focused on China by the way — which allowed me to understand your reference at the end — hello WeChat), to the latter in 2017. I’ve witnessed time and again how a desire for something that was previously unattainable — whether it’s an influencer’s lifestyle, the influencer him- or herself or the immediate riches offered by cryptocurrency — can be so easily manipulated to make it appear attainable. This in turn is an incredibly powerful driver of irrational behavior (usually involving the spending of money on things that have no hope of ever providing any positive return on investment if any return it all).
What I find most fascinating is how the “west” is becoming more like China every day. Not just in terms of the surveillance state, but culturally as well. The relative importance of “truth” vs. “appearance” has always been one of the main differentiating factors between the two at a cultural level. The increasing acceptance of fraud with no real accountability in both the crypto world and the influencer world in the west signals to me that those factors are becoming less and less important.