Apple co-founder and vocal Bitcoin proponent Steve Wozniak recently revealed that he will soon be embarking on his first blockchain project with controversial investment-focused crypto startup Equi Capital.
Speaking with NullTX at the ChainXchange blockchain convention earlier this month, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak discussed his thoughts about Bitcoin, his adventures in learning about blockchain, and his upcoming first foray into the blockchain space.
Wozniak has long been a supporter of cryptocurrencies, having purchased his first bitcoins back when they were trading at $700. For reference, the last time that Bitcoin was priced at or near $700 was back in October 2016. The Apple co-founder stressed that he did not buy the cryptocurrency as an investor, but rather so that he could “play with bitcoin.”
In his efforts to better understand the mechanics and potential applications of blockchain, Wozniak has become somewhat of a fixture at blockchain conferences around the world. Speaking about his fascination with blockchain, Wozniak said:
At first I kept hearing [about blockchain], and I didn’t understand it. It’s not something you understand in a day. You think about it, read more about it and how it works, and then you see how people actually start to use it, through the mining process and also the verification and, aha! It all adds up!
And now, it seems, Wozniak is ready to take his first steps into the blockchain space, although his choice for his first project has raised eyebrows among the crypto community:
I’m involved with, very soon, my first time being involved in a blockchain company. [It’s] called Equi… Our approach is not like a new currency, or something phony where an event will make it go up in value. It’s a share of stock, in a company.
Wozniak, who has not said what his role will be within the company, noted that Equi Capital – which appears to have been rebranded as Equi Global – could register in Malta in time for the island’s blockchain summit in November. This decision no doubt is due to the country’s blockchain- and cryptocurrency-friendly climate.
Mired in Controversy
Blockchain startup Equi Capital was founded by former lingerie magnate Baroness Michelle Mone – Lady Mone of Mayfair OBE – and her billionaire boyfriend, Doug Barrowman. The company has been touched by controversy since its inception, reports The Next Web, thanks to the questionable business practices engaged in by Mone at her previous company, lingerie firm MJM International.
In 2014, MJM International was sued by former employee Scott Kilday who accused the company of “unfair dismissal” as well as hiding listening devices in his office without his knowledge. The court ultimately decided in Mr. Kilday’s favor and the company was ordered to pay £15,920 – more than $25,000 at February 2014 exchange rates – in compensatory damages.
Equi Capital has been marketing its token as a “direct gateway to VC funding” that, according to its original whitepaper, “allows individuals to combine forces and participate in an investment sector that has traditionally been the preserve of institutions and ultra-high net worth individuals.”
In March of this year, the company launched an ICO for its EQUI token. After an initial surge of interest, during which roughly $7 million was raised at the beginning of the pre-sale, enthusiasm for the project waned. Lack of interest combined with missed targets resulted in the ICO being canceled before the public token sale even began. To Equi’s credit, all pre-sale investors were issued full refunds.
A subsequent bounty campaign was launched that would pay participants EQUI tokens to advertise the project, however, it has been reported that the marketing company brought on to manage the campaign soon left the project, severing all ties with the company. Afterward, claims began to emerge from bounty participants that the promised tokens had never been received.
Turning Over a New Leaf?
Despite its somewhat murky past, perhaps the second time is a charm for Equi Capital – now Equi Global. After all, there must be something to it that attracted the interest of a tech guru like Wozniak, who seemed to speak enthusiastically about the project during the interview:
This company is doing investment by investors with huge track records in good investments in things like apartment buildings in Dubai. We have one person in our group who has listed out a whole apartment building for Bitcoin.
Equi’s original website, equi.capital, now redirects to equiglobal.com. Interestingly, the team includes Barrowman and Mone as founder and co-founder, respectively, as well as a second yet-to-be-named co-founder. Perhaps that role is being reserved for Wozniak.
What do you think about Steve Wozniak’s first blockchain project? Is he making a mistake? Let us know in the comments below.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons