French Crypto Banking Start-Up Vanishes After Failed ICO

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Hush, a France-based crypto start-up that aimed to revolutionize banking services, has disappeared amidst the prolonged crypto winter.


2017 was the year that saw the rise of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as a popular method for blockchain and cryptocurrency start-ups to raise funds. While 2018 was overall a lousy year for cryptocurrencies, the ICO trend continued with more funds raised compared to the previous year.

However, not all projects in 2018 were able to run a successful ICO, and many were forced to wind up silently in contrast to the hype with which they were launched. One such story of failure is that of Hush, a French start-up based in Toulouse.

Hush aimed at launching a “neo-bank” that would change banking by leveraging cryptocurrencies and tokens. The project wanted to create a decentralized governance model managed by a participative community.

Hush was supposed to operate as a "neo-bank" but has disappeared.

The Initial Hype

The firm was founded by Éric Charpentier, who earlier established banking start-up Morning. The project gained credibility due to Charpentier’s involvement.

Charpentier, however, has had a past embroiled in controversy. French regulators had suspended Morning’s operations two years ago as the firm was accused of mishandling funds. The firm was eventually taken over by French bank Edel.

Hush was launched by Charpentier amidst a lot of buzz for the planned ICO. The firm intended to raise between $17 million and $23 million. The project, reportedly, was successful in getting reputed advisors on board and managed good ratings for its ICO.

However, the firm managed to raise only over $618,000, which happened before the major plunge of 2018.

The Vanishing Act

The project was scheduled for a launch in September. As the go-live date approached, the project team mysteriously went silent. The website of the firm now just displays a sentence that reads “Hush is coming back soon.”

Toulouse, France

French online media platform Mind Fintech raised concerns in September about vendors and consultants not having been paid and having no contact with the founder. Soon after that, Charpentier deleted his tweets from his Twitter handle and his LinkedIn account.

The company, which also had an active Telegram group, went silent. The firm’s Medium account also has been removed.

A local TV channel managed to contact the community manager, Max Massat, in September. Massat said:

Eric is now taking the time to manage his projects far from the pressure of his networks. We have decided not to justify ourselves. We work in silence. The real investors in the project know. We leave the fantasies for others.

Further attempts to contact Charpentier or Massat have not borne fruit. The project, like many other similar ones, will perhaps go down in history as a cautionary tale of the cryptocurrency shakeout of 2018.

Do you think we will see more such cases of failed crypto start-ups? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay.

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