Aussie official goes after ASIC over failure to warn about $1.3b HypeVerse scam
crypto.news 10 h
Australia’s minister to interrogate the country’s financial regulatory body, questioning why it did not caution consumers about a $1.3 billion crypto scam linked to Australia.
In an interview with The Guardian, Australia’s minister for financial services and assistant treasurer Stephen Jones said he is planning to query the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) about its failure to issue a consumer warning about HyperVerse (also advertised as HyperFund), a crypto scam which was so big that it reached the U.K., New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Hungary, among others, as early as 2021.
Jones emphasized that HyperVerse was peddling “worthless investment products,” resulting in entanglements for numerous Australians. He also openly questioned why a warning wasn’t issued, stating that the operation warranted raised concerns.
“I simply don’t know why a warning wasn’t issued. It seemed pretty clear that there should have been concerns raised about… this operation.”
ASIC, known for its critical stance on cryptocurrency, declared digital assets as being “created out of nothing, out of the ether.” In September 2023, ASIC unveiled a comprehensive four-year strategy aimed at protecting consumers and businesses from digital scams, including those involving cryptocurrencies.
You might also like: Australian exchange CoinSpot reportedly hacked for $2m
While the Aussie official did not elaborate whether ASIC plans to use all available powers to investigate the HyperVerse scheme, he hinted at increased efforts to crackdown on crypto, emphasizing the need to eliminate distribution channels and impose obligations on social media platforms to remove scam and fake investment promotions.
“It’s about removing the distribution channels or locking down the distribution channels and putting obligations on the social media platforms… to pull down scam and fake investment promotions — that is all key.”
HyperVerse was organized by Australian blockchain entrepreneur Sam Lee, who was chairman of the HyperTech group, a parent organization of the scheme. Lee’s business partner Zijing “Ryan” Xu was also listed as the group’s founder, The Guardian reports. Both were also directors of the Australian crypto company Blockchain Global, which faced financial troubles in 2021, owning clients nearly $60 million.
In early 2023, blockchain forensic firm Chainalysis reported that HyperVerse was the largest scam in 2022, raking in nearly $1.3 billion in revenue.