Crypto crisis: the “CEO” of collapsed crypto fund HyperVerse doesn’t exist!

You couldn't make the HyperVerse story up. Though apparently, you can make up a CEO.
31 January 2024

Crypto fund run by the invisible man?

• Crypto fund Hyperverse – run by a “fake human.”
• Actor who gave weight to the lie for the crypto fund seemingly innocent and baffled.
• The latest crypto fund collapse is an unfortunate echo of 2022 and 2023.

Investigations have discovered that the chief executive of collapsed crypto fund HyperVerse (formerly Hyperfund) does not actually exist. Introduced to investors in December 2021 with an exemplary list of “strong credentials” behind him, no one had any doubts about Mr. Stephen Reese Lewis. In fact, the company cited that these credentials were the driving force behind his recruitment. It didn’t take long for doubt to creep in among investors, though, and that led to various organizations looking into the mysterious figure – only to find no record of him anywhere.

Just a month after being introduced to the world as HyperVerse’s Chief executive officer, video messages of support were being posted online from high profile figures like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Crypto fund run by crypto-CEO?

Steven Reece Lewis was said to have been a graduate of the University of Leeds and held a master’s degree from Cambridge University. Both universities have stated that they have no record of anyone by that name on their rolls.

During the global launch of HyperVerse, potential investors were given a summary of Lewis’ career. Prior to joining the HyperTech group to lead HyperVerse, Mr. Lewis was believed to have held positions at Goldman Sachs, founded an IT startup, and successfully sold a web development company to Adobe. Absolutely none of this was true – because of course, he didn’t exist.

During The Guardian’s investigation, its journalists found no trace of Steven on the UK companies register, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, or Companies House. No trace of Mr. Lewis was discovered in Goldman Sachs’ records, and there is no mention in public SEC filings by Adobe of acquiring any company owned by Steven Recce Lewis.

The fact that Mr Lewis has been found not to exist comes as no surprise to many after a Guardian Australia investigation found thousands of individuals lost substantial amounts of money in the HyperVerse cryptocurrency scheme. The initiative was endorsed by Australian entrepreneur Sam Lee and Ryan Xu, his business partner, both of whom were co-founders of Blockchain Global, the now defunct Australian bitcoin company.

According to reports, Blockchain Global is in debt to the tune of $58m and both Lee and Xu have been referred to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for allegedly breaching areas of the Corporations Act.

Steven Reece Lewis unmasked

Like an episode of Scooby-Doo, only significantly more bizarre, Steven Reece Lewis has been unmasked as Steve Harrison (Stevo), a British man living in Thailand. After being tracked down via social media and LinkedIn by US-based YouTuber, Jack Gamble, Mr Harrison came forward and confirmed that he was paid to act as chief executive of HyperVerse. He is believed to have been paid approximately $7,500, or 180,000 Thai baht over a period of nine months. Oh, and he allegedly got a free cashmere suit for his troubles, too. Because, clearly, there should be perks.

Steven Harrison has said he was “shocked” after learning HyperVerse highlighted his fake credentials to promote its scheme. For those who have lost substantial sums of money in the scheme, an amount estimated to be in the region of US$1.3 billion in 2022, Mr Harrison has said, “I am sorry for these people. Because they believed some idea with me at the forefront and believed in what I said, and God knows what these people have lost. And I do feel bad about this.”

He continued, “I just hope that there is some resolution. I know it’s hard to get the money back off these people or whatever, but I just hope there can be some justice served in all of this where they can get to the bottom of this.” Mr Harrison denies any involvement in the loss of money, stating that he had “certainly not pocketed” anything that was lost by investors.

Harrison said that a friend of a friend approached him with this offer from HyperVerse. With experience as a freelance television presenter, he admitted he was new to the industry and was open to work, seeing this as an opportunity to work as a corporate presenter.

“I was told I was acting out a role to represent the business, and many people do this,” Harrison said. Although he says he was initially suspicious because he had little experience with the crypto industry, he was reassured by his agent that everything about HyperVerse was legitimate.

Harrison has confirmed that all the claimed qualifications and work experience cited in his presentation were false, saying that he only has “GCSEs” and is “certainly not on that level.”

The HyperVerse crypto fund took a dive.

If a crypto fund is crashed by a non-existent CEO, do people really lose their money? Yes. Yes, they do.

Harrison may be in the clear for his involvement in this strange chapter of the crypto world, but a HyperVerse promoter, Rodney Burton, also known as “Bitcoin Rodney,” has been arrested and charged for fraud in the US. Sam Lee is believed to be hiding in Dubai, while Ryan Xu has not been seen in public since the crypto firm’s collapse.

Crypto Ponzi schemes are nothing new, but HyperVerse’s tale has been an extraordinary, almost unfathomable one. It is not the first, and it will certainly not be the last.