UK Member of Parliament Resigns as Blockchain Startup Advisor

A UK MP has resigned from the board of a cryptocurrency project after it was revealed that he was secretly getting paid for his services.

Aug 1, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:14 a.m. UTC

A UK Member of Parliament (MP) has resigned from the advisory board of a cryptocurrency project after it was revealed that he was secretly getting paid for his services, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

Conservative MP Grant Shapps resigned from OpenBrix – and stood down as co-chair of a parliamentary blockchain group he co-founded – after the Financial Times' Alphaville discovered a secret deal between the MP and the blockchain company. While Shapps claimed in public filings that he was not being paid for his work, it appears that OpenBrix was to pay him in crypto tokens.

OpenBrix is a blockchain-based property platform which provides a decentralized system for real estate owners and participants to trade properties.  The company is set to launch an ICO in December, according to the report.

Founder and CEO Shahad Choudhury told Alphaville that Shapps had signed on to serve on the advisory board as chair of governance for the company, and the MP had also signed a consultancy contract with OpenBrix. As part of this contract, Shapps wrote an article about the potential of the blockchain for the property market and attended an OpenBrix event.

The contract signed by Shapps hadn't required any further commitments until the ICO closes in December, according to Choudhury.

"To be honest, [Shapps] had nothing to do until after the [ICO] ... His main role was the governance role after we've got the money. He could have quite happily not done anything and he'd still be governance chair," he said.

The company would have paid Shapps and four other advisors a total of 8 million BRIX tokens, which would have been worth roughly 2.8 million pounds or $3.7 million. It is unclear how many Shapps would specifically have received, but he has reportedly declined to accept any tokens as of press time.

Grant Shapps image via Chris McAndrew / Wikimedia Commons

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