Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder and electronics engineer, is reportedly working closely on a blockchain project with controversial crypto firm Equi Capital. Although Wozniak’s previous statements regarding cryptocurrencies have been fairly reasonable, his recent involvement in Equi Capital’s investment token initiative is being questioned by those familiar with the blockchain startup.
Notably, Equity Capital was founded by Baroness Michelle Mone who claims to be “the United Kingdom’s most celebrated entrepreneurs.” Mone also considers herself to be “one of the biggest experts in cryptocurrency and blockchain”, however, her track record clearly does not reflect this.
Secretly Installing Listening Devices, Failed ICO
Before entering the crypto business, Lady Mone worked as a lingerie designer at a company she founded called MJM International. In 2014, the firm lost a court case in which it was found guilty of secretly installing listening devices in its employees’ offices.
Now, it also appears that Lady Mone’s crypto venture has turned into somewhat of a scandal. Her firm, Equi Capital, was launched in February, 2018 with support from her billionaire boyfriend Doug Barrowman. The blockchain startup’s Equi tokens were then marketed as an initiative to “encourage women to invest in tech.”
In March, Equi Capital launched its initial coin offering (ICO), aiming to raise $75 million within a span of six weeks. After only being able to raise 10% of the target amount, the company extended its ICO for an additional six weeks. This effort also failed to meet the firm’s fundraising target.
Bounty Hunters To Receive $5 For 6 Months Of Work
Although Equi Capital’s investors were reportedly refunded in July, the ICO’s bounty hunters were told that they’d only receive $5 in compensation for their nearly 6 months worth of work. Understandably, this led to numerous complaints from the firm’s bounty hunters located in China, the Middle East, Turkey, Russia, South Korea, and several other countries throughout the world.
As described by Scottish news outlet Wings:
Bounty hunters are effectively unpaid marketers, often from developing countries, who help to raise awareness online, particularly among the cryptocurrency community. In return for their efforts, they are remunerated in the form of tokens. Some of the workers posted adverts on social media platforms and others created YouTube videos, while yet more translated Equi marketing materials.
What started out as a seemingly innovative venture capital crypto investment initiative quickly turned into what many have now referred to a huge scam. Equi token holders had been told that Equi Capital would aggressively look to invest in lucrative blockchain projects and that all capital would be raised through the sale of Equi tokens.
Investors were also told that Equi tokens were a good long-term investment as their value would appreciate over time. Despite Equi Capital failing in its attempts so far, Wozniak praised the company at a recent Las Vegas blockchain event by noting,
“This company is doing investment by investors with huge track records in good investments in things like apartment buildings in Dubai. We have one person in our group who has listed out a whole apartment building for Bitcoin. We might be starting up in Malta around the time of their blockchain conference.”
The Apple co-founder also told news outlet NullTX that
“I’m involved with, very soon, my first time being involved in a blockchain company….called Equi. 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.”