Australian Treasury to Question Regulator Over HyperVerse Crypto Scheme: Report

"It seemed pretty clear that there should have been concerns raised about… this operation,” Stephen Jones said.

AccessTimeIconJan 5, 2024 at 8:45 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 7:23 p.m. UTC

Australia's Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones has said he would be asking the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) why it didn't warn consumers about the HyperVerse crypto scheme like other nations did, according to the Guardian.

The United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Hungary, among others, issued warnings about the scheme as early as 2021, the report said.

“This type of scheme works by convincing innocent people to invest their money into a product that might not exist, with the only source of income being money from new investors,” Jones reportedly said. "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.”

The HyperVerse crypto scheme resulted in thousands of people losing millions of dollars, according to an investigation by Guardian Australia last month. The scheme was run by an entity called HyperTech and was promoted and run by CEO Steven Reece Lewis who does not appear to exist.

The founders of HyperTech, Australian entrepreneur Sam Lee and his business partner Ryan Xu, also founded the collapsed Australian bitcoin company Blockchain Global which owes creditors $58m. The liquidators alerted ASIC about Lee and Xu for breaking the law but the regulator said it does not intend to take action at this time, the Guardian reported.

ASIC did not immediately respond to a CoinDesk request for comment. HyperTech could not be reached for comment.

Edited by Oliver Knight.


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Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is a CoinDesk reporter.