The list of deaths in the cryptocurrency world continues to grow, leading to a rising trend of fear and paranoia among industry leaders and the community. Is the crypto universe turning into a vast Wild West, where heads are being hunted? After generating fortunes and enriching many investors, the virtual economy is now plagued by paranoia. Stories of fake deaths, mysterious connections to the mafia, and obscure links have made participants in this volatile and elusive economy wary of trusting anyone. The golden rule in this world is to never trust anyone, ever.
Fernando Pérez Algaba” – A Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Expert
Recently, an Argentine businessman known as “Lettuce” and a prominent investor in cryptocurrencies, Fernando Pérez Algaba, was found dismembered in a suitcase. This adds to a growing list of similar incidents. Algaba had a significant following on social media, with nearly 926,000 Instagram followers, where he provided crypto advice. However, he had questionable connections with unsavory individuals. Investigators discovered that Algaba was heavily indebted and had been threatened by a local gangster. Authorities later reported that “professional hitmen” had executed him. According to the BBC, criminals worldwide see cryptocurrency as an excellent method for money laundering, and it appears that cartels view it as a gold rush opportunity.
John Forsyth” – An Expert in the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry
Another tragic fate has made headlines. John Forsyth, an emergency physician and co-founder of the crypto project Onfo, disappeared on May 21st. He was last seen in Missouri before his body was found several days later in a lake in northwest Arkansas. The body showed visible gunshot wounds.
Bob Lee” -> “The Rise and Fall of Bob Lee: Insights into the Cryptocurrency Industry
Earlier this year, in April, Bob Lee, the founder of CashApp and a leader in the cryptocurrency company MobileCoin, was fatally stabbed in San Francisco. According to Mission Local, an altercation occurred in a car before Lee stumbled out. The Wall Street Journal conducted an investigation into the extraordinary life of the Silicon Valley “shadow genius” and shed light on the incident, gathering testimonies from close associates. The core of the story revolves around a relationship between Lee and Khazar Momeni, the sister of Nima Momeni, who is accused of the murder. The case is currently in court, and if found guilty, the assailant faces 26 years to life in prison, as reported by the American press.
Nikolai Mushegian” – A Look into the Recent Losses of Industry Leaders
When Nikolai Mushegian, co-founder of MakerDAO, was found unconscious on a Puerto Rican beach in October 2022, the crypto ecosystem was shaken. The circumstances surrounding his death had all the ingredients of a conspiracy, with Mushegian tweeting just hours before his demise that the CIA and Mossad were after him. The police initially did not treat his death as a homicide, leaving the mystery surrounding Mushegian’s fate. Fellow crypto billionaire Brock Pierce commented on the tragedy, stating that it may never be resolved. Mushegian believed that the world would be better off if central banks couldn’t print money and fund wars.
Park Mo: A Closer Look at Recent Losses in the Cryptocurrency Industry
In late 2022, South Korean Park Mo was found dead under mysterious circumstances. The 30-year-old vice president of Vidente was discovered lifeless outside his home on the morning of December 30th. It has been reported that Park Mo was facing an investigation conducted by the prosecutor’s office in the southern district of Seoul. The weight of allegations of corruption and price manipulation may have become too much for him to bear, leading to a probable suicide, according to specialized website Cointelegraph. Following Park Mo’s death, online crypto communities have engaged in various speculative theories, including the idea that cryptocurrency billionaires are faking their deaths to live under assumed identities. Similar to Algaba, links to organized crime could be one of the reasons behind this brutal attack. As per the findings of different investigations, the deceased individuals may have fallen victim to revenge in connection with illegal activities.
Vyacheslav Taran: A Leader in the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry
On November 25, 2022, another cryptocurrency billionaire met a tragic fate. This time it was a 53-year-old Russian named Vyacheslav Taran, who was found dead under mysterious circumstances – his helicopter crashed near Monaco. Taran, the founder of Libertex, a cryptocurrency value chain company, was not well-regarded in his own country. According to the pro-Russian media outlet Life, his company, Forex Club, had its license revoked in Russia in 2018 for allegedly defrauding investors. This maneuver reportedly angered certain clients and fueled a vendetta against Taran. However, there are still many unanswered questions surrounding his death, which further contribute to the already prevalent paranoia in the crypto industry. Despite being initially portrayed as close to the Kremlin and a source for Russian intelligence services, Taran’s family has denied any connection to Moscow.
Tiantian Kullander” – A Closer Look at the Recent Losses of Industry Leaders
On November 22, 2022, Tiantian Kullander, a Hong Kong-based businessman and co-founder of Amber Group, died suddenly in his sleep at the age of 30. Kullander was known as a crypto guru and was included in Forbes’ prestigious “30 Under 30” list. His company had some connection with the controversial FTX, which has faced bankruptcy. Some individuals in the cryptocurrency community have speculated about his death, suggesting links to the mafia and even the possibility of a fake death. However, Kullander kept his personal life private and his existence remains somewhat of a mystery. The fragility of the cryptocurrency economy has also been highlighted by recent events, including the arrest of Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of FTX, which led to a significant decline in cyptocurrency values.
Biosca, Mellon, Cotton, and Netflix: Recent Losses in the Industry
Other confirmed suicide cases have also emerged, such as that of Javier Biosca (53 years old), who jumped from the fifth floor of his hotel in Estepona, at the end of November 2022. Matthew Mellon, addicted to opioids, also died after ingesting an ayahuasca drink, which caused a heart attack and a one-way trip to the morgue. Netflix even tackled the phenomenon through another suspicious death case, which resulted in a documentary titled “Crypto-paranoia: Investigation on the borders of the virtual.” The controversial Gerry Cotten, who died suddenly in 2018 during his honeymoon in Jaipur, India, is at the center of the film. It is strange that his wife, Jennifer Robertson, waited more than a month before announcing the tragic news. Later, she admitted that lawyers and coworkers managed the communication around Gerry’s death. The 30-year-old Canadian died from complications related to Crohn’s disease and maintained a mysterious veil over his company. At his disappearance, he took to the grave the password that allowed access to the $250 million fund of his clients – approximately 110,000 people were affected. According to a thorough investigation by the Globe & Mail, he concealed the fact that he was building a Ponzi scheme, creating fake Quadriga accounts (the name of Cotten’s company), using fake funds, and conducting real transactions, betting on the cryptocurrency value while injecting the clients’ money (which the company did not have). Since Cotten’s death, numerous far-fetched theories have emerged, mixing many ideas about his alleged fake disappearance. Add to that his misspelled name on his death certificate and the fact that no autopsy was requested, and it was enough for conspiracy theorists. Especially since Cotten, by a stroke of luck, wrote his will only four days before leaving for India. Professor V. Gerard Comizio of the Washington College of Law believes that the arrival of such a still very (too) young economy, which investors do not fully understand, is linked to these disappearances and their misinterpretation: “We can say that crypto is inspired by conspiracy theories because crypto and its related industries are still relatively new and poorly understood, even by crypto investors.” It is a dense and opaque environment, the workings of which seem difficult to grasp. According to Claire Balva, who was interviewed in an Arte investigation on the secrets of Bitcoin, the world’s most popular virtual currency is “the result of decades of reflection by enthusiasts and, above all, a libertarian ideological movement” shrouded in mystery. As proof, the creator of Bitcoin is still unknown today, an entity, a pseudonym: Satoshi Nakamoto. The person behind this name has remained silent since 2011, fueling a host of far-fetched speculations.