Business 5 September 2018Gerald Fenech
British baroness caught with pants down as ICO flops
Yet another ICO scam has hit the airwaves of late, and this time it involves an English lingerie baroness who goes by the outlandish title of Lady Mone of Mayfair or Baroness Michelle Mone. Her latest venture with businessman Doug Barrowman, Equi Capital, has been accused by bounty hunters of short changing them by paying them next to nothing to promote her product.
The Financial Times reported that Equi’s goal was to raise around $80 million, but by the end of March 2018, it had not even raised 10% of that total with the end result being just $7 million at the end of June when the pre-sale closed. Equi later announced its plans to abandon the ICO and focus instead on transforming the company into an international business.
In a blog post in late August, the firm said, “We started off as a UK focused business and are now transforming into an International business… The new business will be rebranded EQUI Global.”
Adding to that mystery was that Equi’s new partner was none other Apple legend Steve Wozniak. The Apple co-founder acknowledged his involvement with Equi Capital in an interview.
“I’m involved with, very soon, my first time being involved in a blockchain company called Equi,” said Woz as first reported by Hard Fork. “Our approach is not like a new currency, or something phony where an event will make it go up in value. It’s a share of stock, in a company.”
Besides not meeting its crowdfunding goals, Equi Capital also drew the ire of bounty hunters who had been enlisted to promote its ICO on social media and other online platforms. According to reports, the bounty hunters claimed they only received a small fraction of the money they had been promised. However, Equi Capital told the bounty hunters to discuss the matter with AmaZix, the firm which was hired to manage the bounty program.
In an interview with Herald Scotland, a spokesperson for Mone said, “Lady Mone has been extremely busy in Silicon Valley dealing with our new founder so to be honest she doesn’t have the time to be involved by Bounty people complaining over nothing… If they need to complain they should do this to the agency who hired them in the first place and not Equi.” This outlandish statement reminds one of Queen Marie Antoinette’s statement before the French Revolution where she said that peasants should ‘eat cake’ if they were starving.
This is not the first time Baroness Mone has gotten involved in a crypto-related venture. In September 2017, Mone announced that she would be developing a condo complex in Dubai at a cost of $325 million, claiming the properties would be available for sale in BTC following a partnership with BitPay.
At the time, Mone said, “I wanted to offer the property, tech and blockchain community a unique and exclusive opportunity by merging the property and tech sectors together in a true first for the industry.” To date nothing has come out of the venture.
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Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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