The CEO of Australian crypto outfit HyperVerse is a graduate of Cambridge, an alumnus of Goldman Sachs, and an entrepreneur who sold a company to Adobe. But there’s just one problem: He may not be real.
Steven Reece Lewis was introduced during an online global launch for the company in 2021 and appeared in multiple videos published by HyperVerse, according to an investigation by The Guardian. But after scrutinizing further, the outlet found that Cambridge, Goldman, and Adobe had zero evidence of interacting with Lewis.
Lewis apparently doesn’t have a LinkedIn account, with his online presence limited to HyperVerse marketing materials and a now-inactive X account created one month before he appeared in that 2021 launch video.
Screenshot of Lewis’ X profile
The HyperVerse website featured video endorsements of Lewis from celebrities such as actor and martial artist Chuck Norris, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, and boy band singer Lance Bass, although The Guardian suggests these endorsements may have been purchased on the personalized video website Cameo. Norris, Wozniak, and Bass likely weren’t aware of the company’s intentions when making the videos and are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
HyperVerse collected about $1.3 billion in 2022, the most that year of any alleged crypto scam, according to a report by the blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis.
The company was associated with Australian entrepreneur Sam Lee and his business partner Ryan Xu, who previously founded the failed Australian Bitcoin company Blockchain Global. In 2021, Blockchain Global went into voluntary administration (similar to bankruptcy in the U.S.), owing creditors around $58 million.
Lee has said previously that he is not the founder of HyperVerse, although he maintains it was not a scam. Lee and Xu were referred to Australia’s securities and investments regulator for possible breaches of Australian law, but the agency has said it does not intend to take action against them at this time, The Guardian reported.
After doubt was cast on Lewis’s identity, many people took to social media to poke fun at the company and tout the incident as the latest example of dishonesty within the crypto industry.
I remember a time when anonymity & pseudonymity were touted as virtues in the crypto space. Of course, this was when the assumption was charts will always go up and to the right.
Turns out you want a real neck to choke when things go south not an avatar.https://t.co/FdAOx1gu2w
— Dare Obasanjo🐀 (@Carnage4Life) January 5, 2024
“While his identity remains in question, his pinned tweet has a link to a promo video for the HyperVerse, with a caption that reads, “where reality ends and imagination begins.”” 😂 https://t.co/KcmBbtHFFr
— Dr. Dan Smith (@DJS12321) January 4, 2024
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