Cryptocurrency stunt to climb Mount Everest reportedly turns deadly

Finance news

A publicity stunt encouraging “crypto enthusiasts” to climb Mount Everest and bury a hard drive holding $50,000 worth of cryptocurrency reportedly indirectly led to a man’s death, the Financial Times said Friday.

Ukrainian social network ASKfm, which is planning to raise money through an initial coin offering, or ICO, sponsored four people to climb Everest and bury the hard drive holding its digital tokens, which at this point have no proven value.

In the process, one of the local Nepalese Sherpas accompanying the group died, according to a blog of Alan Arnette, a Colorado climber who covers Everest events each season. He mentioned the Ukrainian group under the subhead: “Preventable Deaths”.

The value of that cryptocurrency, which the company said is now buried in the snow on Everest, is based on an “estimate of their value once the pre-sale and ICO launch,” a spokesperson told the FT.

One of the four climbers who had recently returned to Ukraine from Nepal, Taras Pozdnii, told the news outlet they “lost track of the Sherpa after he accompanied them to the summit, and that he didn’t know how the man died.”

In a promo for the stunt posted earlier in May, the company encouraged crypto enthusiasts to go and search for the digital tokens, “if [they’re] brave enough”.

ASKfm did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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