It was the Instagram Story heard ’round the internet. A British regulator called it “the financial promotion with the single biggest audience reach in history.” A Morning Consult survey found that up to 21 percent of all American adults and nearly half of all cryptocurrency owners had seen this ad for a risky financial instrument. By all measures the post—likely sponsored for hundreds of thousands of dollars—was a glittering success.

Only one person has this kind of power over the doomscrolling masses: Kim Kardashian, who over the summer posted a Story promoting a new, almost completely unknown cryptocurrency called Ethereum Max. “Are you guys into crypto????” the post read. “This is not financial advice but sharing what my friends just told me about the Ethereum Max token! A few minutes ago Ethereum Max burned 400 trillion tokens—literally 50% of their admin wallet, giving back to the entire e-max community. Swipe up to join the e-max community.” At the very end, a small #ad hashtag made clear that the Story had been paid for.

Screenshot via Instagram

The post was an immediate sensation, and a touch controversial. Ethereum Max was only a month old, few had heard of it, and it wasn’t even obvious how the “token” was supposed to work. More than that, Kardashian was urging her 251 million Instagram followers to get involved in a highly volatile,…

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