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| November 15, 2018

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Laura Ingraham: Michelle Obama’s book launch is just another example of someone cashing in on trashing Trump

November 13, 2018 |

Michelle Obama is rolling out her new memoir titled “Becoming” with exactly the sort of fanfare we’ve come to expect from the Obama’s 13-city book tour and touchy-feeling arena interviews by celebrity moderators.
FOX News

Michelle Obama Slams Trump in New Memoir

November 9, 2018 |

MIchelle Obama’s new memoir Becoming looks back at high points in her life, including the “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder” when Barack first kissed her—and low points, including the election of President Trump. In an advance copy seen by the AP , the former first lady writes that…
Newser

Michelle Obama’s new memoir takes Trump to task

November 9, 2018 |

The former first lady tells of reacting with shock the night she learned Donald Trump would succeed President Barack Obama.
FOX News

Michelle Obama on George W: ‘I Love Him to Death’

October 11, 2018 |

Michelle Obama and George W. Bush have long had a special relationship , and at John McCain’s funeral, a video of the former president handing the former first lady a cough drop as they sat next to one another in the crowd went viral. Obama, appearing on TODAY Thursday, explained. “It…
Newser

TMZ

Kanye West Cries as Michelle Obama Hugs Him in Childish Gambino Music Video

September 2, 2018 |

Kanye West has deep regrets about supporting Donald Trump — so much so he dissolved into tears — but Michelle Obama was quick to comfort him with a big hug … at least those are the images Childish Gambino telegraphed in his new, animated music…

TMZ.com

Michelle Mone’s ICO Ends in Disarray as Equi Capital Fiasco Turns Ugly

August 16, 2018 |

Michelle Mone’s ICO Ends in Disarray as Equi Capital Fiasco Turns Ugly

Equi Capital’s ICO has ended in acrimony, with bounty hunters claiming to have been offered a pittance of what they were promised. The project is led by Baroness Michelle Mone, who describes herself as “one of the United Kingdom’s most celebrated entrepreneurs”. The fallout sheds light on the plight of low income workers who toil on behalf of cryptocurrency arrivistes such as Equi Capital’s celebrity co-founder.

Also read: Thanks to Mainstream Media the Public Clueless About Cryptocurrency

Lady Mone, Equi Capital, and the ICO That Never Was

Lady Mone of Mayfair OBE, as she likes to be known, is a familiar face in the UK, popping up at black-tie events and charging up to $ 30,000 for public speaking. (OBE stands for Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, an award she was given by then-Prime Minister David Cameron). Michelle Mone is a controversial figure best known for founding the Ultimo lingerie firm before rising to become a “global entrepreneur” whose “impressive portfolio has led to Lady Mone being firmly cemented as one of the world’s most in-demand public speakers”. Wikipedia states that “Mone ranks among the UK’s most successful businesswomen and her designs can still be found in department stores worldwide,” before finishing with “[citation needed]”.

Michelle Mone’s ICO Ends in Disarray as Equi Capital Fiasco Turns UglyShortly after launching her Equi Capital ICO this year, Lady Mone proclaimed to be “one of the biggest experts in Cryptocurrency & Blockchain”, despite having first tweeted about cryptocurrency only five months earlier. Aided by her her peerage granting lifetime membership of the House of Lords (the UK’s upper parliament), billionaire boyfriend, and retinue of highly paid lawyers and publicists, Lady Mone was confident that Equi Capital would be a success. From the start, however, it was unclear who the prime beneficiary of the project was meant to be: the tech startups Equi Capital would be investing in, token-holders, women, or Michelle Mone and her Equi colleagues, as the message was constantly shifting.

One group that Equi Capital wasn’t designed for was low income workers in countries such as Russia, India, and Indonesia, but over 1,000 of these agreed to promote the ICO nevertheless in exchange for tokens. Shortly thereafter, however, things began to go awry, both for the bounty hunters and for Equi Capital.

The facts of the case run as follows:

  • February 6, 2018: Baroness Mone and billionaire boyfriend Doug Barrowman announce Equi Capital, a venture capital ICO to support startups
  • MSM, UK press especially, unquestioningly publishes Lady Mone’s bold claims, including the assertion that Equi will “encourage women to invest in tech”
  • February 9: News.Bitcoin.com takes a dissenting view, arguing “Whatever her ICO may be, it has nothing do with helping women”
  • March 1: Equi Capital launches its six-week ICO, seeking to raise $ 75 million
  • March 30: Having raised less than 10% of its target, Equi extends its ICO for another six weeks
  • May 6: The community management company hired by Equi Capital to oversee its bounty campaign severs all ties, citing “irreconcilable differences”
  • May 24: Equi launches a new bounty campaign, promising participants 2% of all tokens, valued at $ 2.5m
  • June 30: The extended Equi ICO closes, having failed to meet its target
  • July: ICO investors are refunded
  • August: Acrimony breaks out as bounty hunters are informed they’ll be offered around $ 5 each for months of work – approximately 2% of the original total promised

Mutiny on the Bounty

As alternative UK media outlet Wings reported this week, “Bounty hunters are effectively unpaid marketers, often from developing countries, who help to raise awareness online, particularly among the cryptocurrency community. In return for their efforts, they are remunerated in the form of tokens. Some of the workers posted adverts on social media platforms and others created YouTube videos, while yet more translated Equi marketing materials.”

The global workforce…were left stunned at the outcome of a project led by a woman who some – perhaps not grasping the complexities of the British honours system – had mistakenly believed to be a member of the Royal Family. When Baroness Mone announced the launch of Equi Capital, a series of slick and professional promotional videos had done nothing to dispel the notion…in one YouTube interview she looked directly into the camera and introduced herself saying, “My name is Baroness Mone of Mayfair… I was made a Baroness by Her Majesty the Queen.”

Equi Capital’s 1,000+ bounty hunters, having been offered 2% of the funds raised, would have been entitled to $ 140,000 of the $ 7 million that was ultimately raised. Instead, they were offered just $ 5,500 in total, which was eventually rounded up to $ 10,000. (This equates to approximately $ 10 per head, or $ 2 for every month spent promoting the aborted project.) Bounty hunters were quick to make their feelings known on social media:

Michelle Mone’s ICO Ends in Disarray as Equi Capital Fiasco Turns Ugly

“Our Founder is a Baroness and She Doesn’t Lie”

Michelle Mone’s ICO Ends in Disarray as Equi Capital Fiasco Turns UglyOn Telegram, meanwhile, things were turning ugly. Any sign of dissent in the Equi Telegram channel resulted in chats being deleted and protesters banned. The account admin also deleted a separate Telegram group for bounty participants, and then entered a spin-off channel set up by disgruntled bounty hunters to berate them. “Our founder is a Baroness,” wrote the Equi Capital admin “and I can assure you she doesn’t lie”. And: “Our lawyers will show you who is legally wrong here. It’s [sic] certainly isn’t our high profile entrepreneurs”.

On the Bitcointalk forum, bounty hunters created a thread to fight for what they believed was rightfully theirs. Others found solace

Meanwhile, Baroness Mone and her team jetted off to Silicon Valley to prepare a relaunch of Equi Capital, this time operating under the name of Equi Global. The whole experience has stuck in the craw of bounty hunters, who claim to have been used as free labor and then dispensed with when it was no longer expedient to utilize their services.

Michelle Mone’s ICO Ends in Disarray as Equi Capital Fiasco Turns Ugly

Power, Prestige and the Press

News.Bitcoin.com reached out to Equi Capital three days ago ago seeking comment for this story but failed to receive a response. We then contacted the PR agency that represents Lady Mone, Egg Media. The company, which specializes in crisis management, was founded in 2012 by Ian Edmondson, “an award winning journalist with nearly twenty years experience in working for national newspapers including the News of the World”.

Despite repeated requests for a statement from Equi Capital or its co-founder, Lady Mone, Egg Media refused, asserting that any attempts to document this story would be “highly defamatory, libellous and actionable”. Mr Edmondson’s unfamiliarity with media law can be traced back to his imprisonment for phone hacking while at News of the World, a crime which he oversaw on 344 occasions. “On 7 November 2014,” notes Wikipedia, “Mr Justice Saunders jailed Edmondson for eight months, saying that he only had himself to blame”.

Easy Come, Easy Go

Michelle Mone’s ICO Ends in Disarray as Equi Capital Fiasco Turns Ugly
Michelle Mone, depicted on Equi.Capital

UK media outlet Wings concludes: “Doug Barrowman described Equi Capital as a way to “give everyone an opportunity to play in my world”. Those who still await any recompense for their time and effort may wish they hadn’t played at all.” In a previous interview, the Equi founder opined, “So many of these ICOs have no purpose…You basically buy a token, or a coin if it’s a brand new currency, which actually has no real value at the moment in the real world.”

From a legal perspective, Equi Capital is likely to be on firm ground in dismissing its bounty hunters with a fraction of their dues. From a moral one, however, there would appear to be a prima facie case. “We’re not in it for money,” Baroness Mone told the Sunday Times back in March. “We’re doing this because we’re passionate about the cryptocurrency community.” Upon relaunching as Equi Global, the Baroness may be forced to proceed without the support of the cryptocurrency community and its army of bounty hunters.

Do you think ICOs should be legally bound to keep their promises to bounty hunters? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Telegram, Equi.Capital, and Twitter.


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The post Michelle Mone’s ICO Ends in Disarray as Equi Capital Fiasco Turns Ugly appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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TMZ

Barack and Michelle Obama Dance at Beyonce, Jay-Z Concert

July 29, 2018 |

Barack and Michelle Obama were feelin’ it Saturday night in Landover, Maryland … standing up and showing some moves! The former Prez and First Lady were in a box at the FedExField, where the Redskins play. They weren’t really noticed at first,…

TMZ.com

Michelle Williams Reveals Mental Health Treatment

July 18, 2018 |

Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child has sought treatment for mental health struggles, the singer revealed on Instagram Tuesday. “For years I have dedicated myself to increasing awareness of mental health and empowering people to recognize when it’s time to seek help, support and guidance from those that love and care…
Newser

TMZ

Destiny’s Child Michelle Williams Checks into Mental Health Facility for Depression

July 18, 2018 |

Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child has checked herself into a mental health facility to seek help for her struggle with depression … TMZ has learned. Sources tell us Williams is getting treated in a facility just outside of Los Angeles and has…

TMZ.com

TMZ

Michelle and Sasha Obama Attend Beyonce and Jay-Z Concert in Paris

July 16, 2018 |

Beyonce and Jay-Z’s close relationship with the Obamas is still going strong, now in full flex across the pond … with Michelle and Sasha crashing the couple’s concert in France. The former First Lady and kid were spotted in the stands Sunday at…

TMZ.com