In a recent investigation by The Guardian, alarming details have emerged regarding a crypto project, HyperVerse, that allegedly lost $1.3 billion of investors’ funds.
The report reveals that the chief executive officer promoted by the project, supposedly backed by celebrity endorsements including Chuck Norris, appears to be absent.
Investigation Exposes HyperVerse Crypto Scam
HyperVerse, promoted by Australian entrepreneur Sam Lee and his business partner Ryan Xu, founders of the now-collapsed Australian Bitcoin (BTC) company Blockchain Global, has been scrutinized for its deceptive practices. The project attracted thousands of investors, who ultimately lost millions of dollars.
The investigation raises concerns about the legitimacy of HyperVerse’s CEO, as the qualifications and credentials attributed to the supposed chief executive, Steven Reece Lewis, have no basis.
Promotional material released for HyperVerse claimed that Lewis graduated from the University of Leeds and held a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge. However, neither institution has any record of his existence.
Furthermore, there are no records of Lewis on the UK companies register, Companies House, or the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Interestingly, Adobe, a publicly listed company, also has no record of any acquisition involving a company owned by “Steven Reece Lewis.”
The report indicates that HyperVerse managed to secure celebrity endorsements, including video messages of support from Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, and actor Chuck Norris.
However, it is unclear how these messages were obtained, as all four celebrities mentioned in the report are available for hire through Cameo, where individuals can pay to have high-profile individuals read scripted messages.
Australian Authorities Under Fire
The investigation also highlights regulatory concerns, as HyperVerse operated without significant scrutiny in Australia despite being flagged by regulators overseas as a possible scam or suspected pyramid scheme.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has been referred to the case but has not yet taken action.
Investors in HyperVerse were lured with promises of substantial returns and the opportunity to explore a new digital metaverse similar to Facebook. However, the scheme ultimately resulted in significant losses for investors, estimated at $1.3 billion in 2022, according to blockchain analysts Chainalysis.
The Guardian’s findings shed light on the deceptive practices employed by HyperVerse and raise questions about the responsibilities of regulators in overseeing such projects.
As the aftermath of this cryptocurrency scandal unfolds, investors and authorities alike are left grappling with the consequences of a scheme that capitalized on false claims and celebrity endorsements to defraud unsuspecting individuals.
Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com
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