Former Australian international cricket captain, Michael Clarke, has become embroiled in a spot of controversy after he publicly endorsed an ICO for Global Tech, a new Australian cryptocurrency exchange. Since he posted the tweet on August 8, 2018, several displeased fans have responded negatively, with a notable hedge fund manager referencing a recent Australian cricket cheating controversy as something that would be less injurious to Clarke’s reputation than an ICO.
Australia Distrusts ICOs?
According to a Business Insider report on the story, ICOs are viewed in Australia as the new-age iteration of Ostrich farming: a niche, a somewhat opaque activity that suddenly gained runaway popularity and became something of a fad in the country some years back, after a few people become fabulously wealthy from it.
Indeed the Australia Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) raised concerns earlier in the year about ICO fundraising and introduced regulations designed to protect investors against putting their money into a project based on misleading or wrong information. This move resulted in the cancellation and restructuring of some ICOs that planned to launch in 2018.
Global Tech Seeks to Bring Legitimacy to Blockchain and Crypto
The regulatory consensus in Australia is that ICOs are a high-risk investment activity and should be regulated as such. Global Tech, based in Brisbane, says that it intends to change this status quo by legitimizing the industry in Australia. Founded just over a year ago by Andrew Mclean and Marlon Donaire, the platform is currently in the process of putting together its offering which has a hard cap of $50 million.
According to the company, while many “fantastic” blockchain and cryptocurrency companies exist, there are also many “scams and illegitimate companies,” a problem that it intends to tackle by creating an “education-based trading and exchange platform,” which will bring some much-needed legitimacy to the industry.
A statement provided by Global Tech to the media reads in part:
“The Global Tech Trading Platform and Exchange combines premium education, important industry updates and a social platform, which is sure to revolutionise the way we invest and live. Our mission is to develop, advance and modernise the industry, making it more accessible, transparent and forward-thinking.”
Clarke Tweets and Australia Responds
Clarke posted a statement on his Twitter account that read:
“I am really excited to be involved with Global Tech. Their ambition and drive is something that I resonated with straight away and I can’t wait to learn more about blockchain technologies.”
Fans, however, were not having any of it. The tweet attracted several responses and replies, most of them negative in Twitter’s renowned tradition. The pithiest response came from Bronte Capital founder John Hempton, who compared Clarke’s endorsement of Global Tech to former cricket international Steve Smith’s sandpaper cheating scandal that effectively ended his Australian captaincy earlier in the year.
ffs, ex Australian cricket captain in an ICO.
Suggest Mr Clarke you just buy sandpaper.
It will do less damage to your reputation…
— John_Hempton (@John_Hempton) August 8, 2018
Going further in a subsequent blogpost, Hempton accused Clarke of “squandering his reputation on an initial coin offering,” implying that the cricketer could even potentially be in breach of Australian law under ASIC regulations.