I’m a consulting editor for The Block now and I wanted to share one of the coolest stories I’ve edited in a while. Enjoy!
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Two identities, one man: the story of $800 million hedge fund fraudster Boaz Manor who led the alleged $31 million Blockchain Terminal ICO
BCT looked good on paper.
It had an all-star team, a product that promised to give Bloomberg a run for its money – the aptly-named Blockchain Terminal, and funding to run a massive ICO campaign. The founder, a mysteriously well-capitalized investor, was zealously dedicated and he had gathered a community of investors that were champing at the bit to grab a piece of future riches.
It was the perfect product for the next generation of traders. Geeky enough for gearheads and familiar enough for Wall Streeters, the BCT was supposed to bridge the gap between enthusiasts on an exchange and hard-charging professionals. And it almost did.
In reality, many ex-employees said, BCT was a scam and that founding investor, a bearded Canadian with a quiet demeanor, was not who he claimed to be. In fact, they said, he was a known financial criminal. Those employees requested to speak anonymously, citing fear of reputation risk and physical danger.
Riding the initial coin offering wave, which took financial markets and media by storm at the end of 2017, this founder convinced large investors in Asia and Australia to pour millions into a token sale aimed at building out their terminal device. The firm shipped out dozens of the terminals to well-known crypto hedge funds. But the product itself, like the company, was a facade, according to former employees and investors.
At the heart of the venture is a man once jailed for running one of the most notable financial frauds in Canadian history: Boaz Manor. Working under the pseudonym Shaun MacDonald, Manor tricked BCT employees, investors, and potential customers and, in the process, created the definitive grift of this nascent crypto tech bubble.