How Trump Coins became an internet sensation

Ms Mirchandani had also discovered the archived page along with a mention of Stone Force Media on a partner portal for Tactical Home Defense, an e-book on intruder protection.

These details firmly placed Stone Force at the center of the mystery, with ties to Raw Conservative Opinions, Conservative Affiliates, the ClickBank list, and many other political and conspiracy-related products made online, including the coin itself.

Stone Force is an internet marketing company that specializes in “audience acquisition and monetization,” according to its Facebook page and online job postings. The company’s co-founders include Vlad Bolovan, who says on his Instagram profile that he lives in Bucharest, and Brandon Kelly, who says on his Facebook profile that he’s from California and lives in Romania.

Stone Force has been operating out of Bucharest since 2016 with eight employees and reported sales of $1.07 million in 2019, according to business analysis firm Dun & Bradstreet. The listing on D&B, which also showed earnings for 2020, was taken offline after The Times contacted Stone Force about this article.

When contacted about the coin, a Stone Force spokesperson confirmed that the company was the seller of the coin, but declined to comment further. He later forwarded an email from late 2021 showing that Stone had warned Force Partners against marketing the coins as a type of cryptocurrency. As recently as January, many ads on Telegram were promoting the coin in this way.

Mr Bolovan and Mr Kelly also declined to comment.

Speaking at an affiliate marketing conference in 2021, Mr. Bolovan said the United States presidential election prompted tech companies to crack down on unethical and deceptive advertising, known in the industry as “black hat” marketing.

“I have bad news for the folks at Black Hat because the AI ​​is just going to get better and better in it,” he warned, adding that in the past Stone Force “didn’t care much about compliance” because it was advertising were generally approved. It is now considering hiring a dedicated compliance person to keep up with advertising rules, he said.

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