We could one day look back at 2018, the year in which the great dream of cryptocurrency has died. And the case of the bank startup Hush could serve as a warning about the risks that were always inherent in this relatively unregulated sector.
Founded in my courtyard in Toulouse, France, Hush was a "neo-bank" that wanted to revolutionize the banking sector using cryptocurrencies and tokens to create a participatory community service that would favor a decentralized governance model.
The company seemed to be credible because it was founded by Éric Charpentier, who was the founder of the Morning banking startup. Charpentier's past has not been without a touch of controversy, however. Two years ago, Morning's operations were suspended by the financial regulators, which have accused the start of maltreatment funds. Eventually, Morning was acquired by the French bank Edel, which continues to manage it.
Meanwhile, Charpentier launched Hush, which began to spark a lot of enthusiasm as the founders began promoting plans for an initial $ 17 million to $ 23 million chip offer. The company listed a number of well-known consultants and obtained fairly good ratings for its ICO prospects.
But Hush only sold 245 USH tokens, while collecting around $ 618,000. With the cryptocurrency ratings plummeting from the start of 2018, the tide was strongly opposed.
While this was disappointing, what happened next left some confused and worried. As the original date of the September launch of the service approached, the Hush team was silent.
Mind Fintech reported that various suppliers and consultants "have not been paid and have no news from the founder". Charpentier has deleted his tweets from his Twitter account and deleted your LinkedIn account. The company also had an active Telegram account, but it also deleted its account from there. Even the average Hush account has disappeared.
After the Mind Fintech report aroused interest, the France 3 TV station managed to get a statement from the Hush community leader, Max Massat, who said the story was "exaggerated" and said: "Eric is taking time to manage his projects away from the pressure of his networks, we decided not to justify ourselves, we work in silence, the real investors in the project know it, we leave the fantasies to the others. "
It was in September. Neither Massat nor Charpentier replied to my requests for comments. And it seems that there has been no recent activity on the Telegram channel or other public statements.
I managed to reach Sébastien Bourguignon, a blockchain expert who had been a project consultant. He said in a LinkedIn message: "Since then I have not heard from Eric Charpentier [the middle] in June, he did not pay me for advice [work]. I'm in dispute with him. "
It is not clear what, if anything, happened to the committed funds. And it is also uncertain about what could happen next. But for now, Hush seems destined to be emblematic of an era of cryptocurrency that seems to have come to an end.