Woz wades into murky cryptocurrency waters

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has a growing fascination with cryptocurrency.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has a growing fascination with cryptocurrency.
Photo: Nichollas Harrison/Wikimedia Commons CC

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has lived the risk-to-riches story. He built computers in a garage with a good partner and we all know how that turned out.

But red flags are waving as the Woz takes an interest in cryptocurrency. He’s reportedly hitching his wagon to partners with a dubious track record.

According to The Next Web, Wozniak is “involved” with Equi Capitol, a blockchain startup run by British lingerie mogul Michelle Mone and her billionaire boyfriend. Equi previously ran afoul of investors, and Mone’s  bra company face a fine from a U.K. employment tribunal.

Cryptocurrency is fraught with risk even without questionable partners. It is an electronic medium exchange with no physical form or intrinsic value. It is stored in a decentralized ledger called the blockchain.

There are competing platforms, bitcoin being the most well-known, and cryptocurrency faces implementation challenges and unknown regulatory implications.

Equi Capitol’s troubled history

Equi, headed by Mone and businessman Doug Barrowman, made news in the cyptocurrency community recently after a failed initial coin offering. Investors who committed more than $7 million prior to the ICO were refunded after the coins fell short of sales targets.

Equi then switched to a marketing bounty program that would offer the public coins in exchange for advertising. But the management firm that oversees the bounty program backed away from Equi after announcing it would pay bounty hunters a fraction of what was promised.

In 2014, an employment tribunal ordered Mone’s bra company to pay more than $17,000 to a former employee who quit after discovering she hid a listening device in his office.

Steve Wozniak’s interest in cryptocurrency

“While some have celebrated Wozniak’s enthusiasm for cryptocurrency, it needs to be highlighted just how tarnished Equi’s track record is already,” David Canellis wrote for The Next Web. “When you combine all this with the SEC’s recent judgments that suggest bounty programs like these violate securities law, Wozniak’s choice of cryptocurrency becomes just a little bit unsettling.”

Earlier this year, Wozniak admitted he got scammed out of bitcoin worth $70,000. He says he views his involvement in cryptocurrency as more of an experiment than an investment.

It’s possible Wozniak puts his trust more in the technology than in the people behind it.

In an interview published today with NullTX, a crypto news and resource website, Wozniak said he finds the new space as exciting as the early days of the internet.

“It’s not something you can understand in a day,” he told NullTX at a recent blockchain convention. “It’s based on mathematics. There’s a certain number of bitcoin that can ever exist. Mathematics to me is like nature. It’s much better than human beings. I trust those things of nature more than what man makes up.

“Man makes up currencies, controls them, issues new U.S. dollars every year. Bitcoin was immune to that.”

Source: The Next Web