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Silicon Valley based SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham says he has lost track of the number of times he has appeared on initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a fake adviser.
“I am well known to be a fake adviser,” said Lingham, adding that one Canadian company recently raised $200-million using his name as an adviser.
Last month Lingham revealed that fellow South African Eran Eyal, who faces fraud charges in the US, “fraudulently misrepresented” him by claiming that he was an adviser to his startup Shopin.
On Monday (1 October) Lingham again commented on what he says is Eyal’s misrepresentation of him on the Shopin’s $42.5-million ICO, which concluded in April.
“The other advisers he had weren’t big names, they weren’t going to attract a lot of attention. He needed my name because of the crypto (association). So, he raised all that money on the back of my name, basically,” said Lingham
I am well known to be a fake adviser says Silicon Valley based SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham
“I am sure he told investors that I was involved, verbally. And I’d love to hear what people say. Because he must’ve sent that (pitch)deck to someone,” he added.
Lingham said it’s why he and has his startup Civic earlier this year unveiled their ID Codes product and service — which conducts an ID verification and allows a user to put snippets of code on their website. He added that while the product is still in the private data stage, “it works” fine.
‘ICOs are not using real money’
He also hit out at the large number of ICOs which commonly flop.
“These companies have no revenue model… and it’s not real money, they’re just raising tokens — it’s an an all-circular economy of printed money, of printed tokens. Meanwhile we’re in a (bitcoin) slump, there are no real businesses out there, very few,” he said.
Lingham said he and his team from Civic were lucky in that they had already cashed out the $33-million that the startup raised in an ICO which concluded in June last year. “We already cashed it out over a year ago. We were holding cash, we weren’t holding crypto,” he added.
He said while he believes the blockchain will make an impact — in things like increasing financial access in Africa — it would be over the next five years and not the next 12 months.
But he believes the current cypto bubble is far from the biggest that we will yet see. Said Lingham: “I am almost certain there will be a bigger bubble than we see today”.