The HyperVerse crypto fund has come under scrutiny following a Guardian Australia investigation revealing substantial investor losses.
Promoted by Australian entrepreneur Sam Lee and his business partner Ryan Xu, founders of the collapsed bitcoin company Blockchain Global, HyperVerse has been flagged by international regulators as a pyramid scheme.
At the center of the controversy is Steven Reece Lewis, who was introduced as the CEO of HyperVerse at an online launch event. Despite claims of impressive academic and professional credentials, Guardian Australia revealed several discrepancies and false claims about Lewis’s background.
Neither the University of Leeds nor the University of Cambridge has records of an individual named Steven Reece Lewis. Furthermore, no records exist of him at Companies House in the UK or in the SEC filings in the US. Additionally, major companies like Adobe and Goldman Sachs have no record of his employment.
Lewis’s online presence appears limited to his involvement with HyperVerse, with a Twitter account created just a month before the HyperVerse launch and becoming inactive six months later. This lack of verifiable background raises serious doubts about his claimed qualifications and role in the HyperVerse scheme.
Adding to the scheme’s credibility, promotional videos were released featuring endorsements from celebrities like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, actor Chuck Norris, comedian Jim Norton, and singer Lance Bass. These endorsements were likely obtained through the website Cameo, a platform where celebrities can be paid to deliver personalized messages.
Sam Lee, despite being initially linked to HyperVerse, has denied involvement in the scheme, particularly with its evolution into HyperNation. His role in the establishment and operation of HyperFund and HyperVerse remains unclear, as he has not responded to inquiries for clarification.
Blockchain Global, co-founded by Sam Lee and Ryan Xu, owes $58 million to creditors, and its liquidation has led to a regulator audit by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Despite this, the Aussies watchdog said it currently has no plans for action. This lack of regulatory action comes despite HyperVerse, an investment scheme linked to Blockchain Global, being flagged by overseas regulators as a potential “scam” or “suspected pyramid scheme.”
The HyperVerse crypto scheme was presented as an innovative digital metaverse during its launch event, positioning itself as a competitor to Facebook’s virtual world. The promotional materials claimed that HyperVerse would be a groundbreaking platform, altering the way people live, interact globally, and how businesses operate.
HyperVerse offered its investors “memberships” promising significant returns – a minimum of 0.5% per day, amounting to a 300% return over 600 days. The scheme also provided incentives for recruiting new members, a common feature in multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes.
Despite these promises, Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis estimated losses to HyperVerse in 2022 were around $1.3 billion.