Business

Dan Taylor

After prison, ex-Enron CEO sets sights on blockchain space

The former CEO of Enron is reported to be planning his next move in the blockchain space, a little over a month since his release from prison, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Jeffrey Skilling was jailed for 14 years for his part in the Enron affair, one of the largest corporate scandals ever, after his initial 24-year sentence was reduced by a decade.

The disgraced executive allegedly came up with the idea for his new business venture in 2015 while in custody in Alabama, and was reportedly concerned that someone else would think of the same idea prior to his release.

Little information is available about the specifics of Skilling’s idea, though it is known to revolve around the energy sector, thought to be a platform for matching investors with energy projects.

Skilling was convicted of fraud, insider trading and conspiracy, over the collapse of the company once heralded as “America’s most innovative.”

Since his release, Skilling has reportedly met with other former Enron executives, as well as experts in the blockchain and cryptocurrency fields. These include former Enron chief Lou Pai, who pocketed $270 million by selling shares in Enron immediately before the firm collapsed.

Despite the massive accounting scandal that began the demise of Enron, Skilling was considered an innovative leader, responsible for launching the EnronOnline trading platform which went on to handle some $880 billion in transactions in just two years of trading.

The platform earned the firm the ‘Boldest Successful Investment Decision’ award from the Financial Times, before falling victim to the wider accounting scandal plaguing the firm.

Understandably, news of Skilling’s plan has been met with skepticism from within the blockchain community. Matt Levine at Bloomberg summed up the feelings of many commentators in sarcastically labelling it the “perfect business plan.”

He wrote, “Imagine getting out of prison and not immediately launching a blockchain startup. Gah, the thing is, I have no criticisms, it is a perfect business plan, there has never been a better combination of person and idea and timing than this.”

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