HyperVerse, an allegedly fraudulent crypto fund, prominently featured a supposed CEO named Steven Reece Lewis during its launch, leveraging his impressive credentials to promote the project. However, an investigation has uncovered that Mr Lewis and his qualifications are likely an elaborate fabrication used to scam investors.
The now-collapsed HyperVerse crypto fund promised lucrative returns to investors. But a Guardian Australia investigation revealed that the project prevented thousands of investors from withdrawing their ‘deposits’. Multiple comments underneath the project’s launch video appear to confirm the story.
A later Guardian investigation has revealed that its CEO likely does not exist.
During its 2021 online launch event and in promotional materials, Mr Lewis touted his degrees from Cambridge and Leeds and experience at Goldman Sachs and selling a company to Adobe. His glittering resume served to validate the scheme that ultimately cost investors $1.3 billion. In the video , the man labelled Steven Reece Lewis appears to be reading from a script.
But extensive searches uncovered zero records of Mr Lewis’s existence. The prestigious universities have no trace of him in their databases, and neither Adobe’s SEC filings nor Companies House in the UK corroborate his corporate experience. The apparently highly-credentialed CEO also has no social media presence.
In a bizarre twist, major celebrities like Steve Wozniak and Chuck Norris recorded video testimonials endorsing HyperVerse and Mr Lewis’s leadership. Norris’ endorsement said: “Under the leadership of CEO Steven, HyperVerse will be the leader of metaverse space.”.
Wozniak said: “I’m here to support Steven and HyperVerse” and “I can’t wait for the HyperVerse”. This is not the first time that the Apple co-founder has aligned himself with dubious crypto projects.
The phantom CEO caps off a checkered history for HyperVerse and its parent “group” HyperTech and its founders Sam Lee and Ryan Xu. Their previous venture, Blockchain Global, collapsed owing creditors $58 million. Xu and Lee now face potential legal repercussions.
Yet HyperVerse and follow up scheme HyperNation, escaped regulator scrutiny in Australia. An oversight that is now causing trouble for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
Regulators in Canada, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have raised alarms, labeling the projects likely scams and pyramid schemes. Now, Australia’s assistant treasurer, Stephen Jones, is probing the watchdog on why it didn’t issue a consumer warning like its foreign counterparts.
Guardian Australia first exposed the loss and missing CEO, and later confronted Lee. While denying direct ties to HyperNation, he admitted handling funds and technology. When investors themselves asked about the CEO in January 2023, Lee claimed no involvement and distanced himself from decisions. He rebuffed the paper’s request for clarity on his precise role across the Hyper schemes.
He said: “People on the internet continues [sic] to make things up.”
CCN attempted to contact the HyperVerse and related projects, but the web addresses provided by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority were no longer active. CCN have been unable to approach any of them for comment.