Fred Schebesta, the crumbling empire that goes by the name of Australia’s Crypto King
Fred Schebesta, founder and former CEO of Australian financial services comparison app Finder, describes himself as “Australia’s Crypto King”. He sold the OTC (OTC) desk to Alameda Research, which was then used for the FTX bank.
Finder is a financial services comparison application that allows users to compare different bank accounts, credit cards or other services. Finder was founded by Schebesta, Frank Restuccia and Jeremy Cabral. Schebesta resigned as CEO of Finder just days before suing the company over its Finder Earn product.
Finder Earn allowed users to deposit their cash, which would then be converted into TrueAUD and then used in an unspecified way to earn a profit.
TrueAUD is not a commonly used stablecoin. The biggest current headliners are FTX, Celsius and Crypto.com, based on blockchain analysis by Protos. Both Celsius and Crypto.com previously offered TrueAUD yield. Finder has not disclosed who it has partnered with to offer this product. Reached out to Protos Finder for clarification and will update if we hear back.
Schebesta and Restuccia are Finder’s current directors based on corporate files reviewed by Protos. John Orrock, who runs Future Now Ventures, was a director. Future Now Ventures is also a shareholder, along with Non Correlated Capital, Restuccia, Schebesta, Cabral, Perpetual Nominees Limited, Lord of W Holdings and Restuccia Holdings.
Lord of W Holdings is wholly owned by Schebesta and Restuccia Holdings is wholly owned by Restuccia.
Finder is also a shareholder in an organization called Hive Empire, of which Schebesta and Restuccia are directors. Hive Empire’s other shareholder is Hive Empire Investments, one of the investment funds associated with Schebesta. Hive Empire was the organization that made some political donations during the 2021-2022 Australian election cycle. Shortly before this round of donations began, Schebesta argued to lawmakers that Australia needed to secure cryptocurrency lending activities.
Read more: Finder Wallet sued by Australian regulators for unlicensing Earn product
In January 2022, Finder polled several people to make a bitcoin price prediction. In the end, he decided to predict a peak value of $93,717 by 2022. Finder later backtracked and quietly edited its announcement article.
Finder’s principal corporate entity is FINDER.COM PTY LTD, formerly Schebesta PTY Limited.
Schebesta is also linked to various investment vehicles, although the full relationship between these entities is difficult to analyze.
Schebesta has previously described himself as the creator of “Hive Empire Capital”, and an archived version of it. website reveals that he invested in Animoca Brands, Iris Energy, HiveEx, “and many others”. In addition, the press let go Balthazar reveals that Hive Empire Capital was also an investor in its token sale.
There are several entities related to these investment activities; it is not always possible to distinguish which one has been used for specific investments. These entities include Hive Empire Investments, formerly Restuccia Investments, which is wholly owned by Finder. Restuccia and Schebesta serve as directors.
Hive Empire Ventures also had Restuccia and Schebesta as directors, and lists Lord of W Holdings and Restuccia Holdings as shareholders. It was canceled in 2022.
Hive Empire Capital was registered in 2021, so it cannot be the ‘Hive Empire Capital’ entity used to invest in Animoca Brands, Iris Energy or HiveEx, as those investments occurred before that entity was incorporated, even if shared. name with its fund. This entity is run by Schebesta and Restuccia and is wholly owned by Finder.
The duo also owns the Finder Ventures entity, formerly Hive Empire Ventures IP, also run by Schebesta and Restuccia and owned by Finder. Previous shareholders were Against the Grain (owned by Cabral), Lord of W Holdings, Restuccia Holdings and Hive Empire Ventures, which also delisted.
This confused history makes it difficult to identify the exact purpose of each entity. The Finder Ventures website its portfolio includes HiveEx and the Finder app. HiveEx was also listed as one of Hive Empire Capital’s investments when the fund was named, and HiveEx corporate documents reveal that the now-defunct Hive Empire Ventures was a HiveEx shareholder. It is not clear how current Finder Ventures came to have HiveEx in its portfolio.
Finder Ventures website incorrectly states that HiveEx was acquired by FTX in August 2020. HiveEx was acquired by Alameda Research. This false claim can also be seen in the archives the versions of the Hive Empire Capital website. Protos has turned to Finder and Schebesta to explain this discrepancy.
The Finder Ventures website also describes investing in an “undisclosed Bitcoin mining operation.” It is likely to be Iris Energy, an entity that Hive Empire Capital invested in and publicized. However, it remains unclear why Hive Empire Capital would disclose the investment while Finder Ventures did not. Protos has contacted Finder and Schebesta for clarification on this matter.
OTC trading and banking
In 2018, Schebesta and Restuccia founded HiveEx, an OTC trading desk that used the corporate entity Hive Empire Trading. The entity was originally owned by Hive Empire Ventures, and is now registered.
Shortly after starting at this desk, Schebesta expanded his ambitions and used Lord of W Holdings to buy a stake in local Australian bank Goldfields Money. HiveEx began touting the ability of other cryptocurrency companies to gain access to the bank.
Read more: From Alameda boss to FTX failures, meet Caroline Ellison
In August 2020, HiveEx was sold to Alameda Research for a mere US$300,000 and Sam Bankman-Fried was immediately appointed director of the entity. FTX would announce a few days later that HiveEx was the new way to deposit and withdraw from FTX. The entity would eventually be sold from Alameda Research to FTX Australia, and is now part of the bankruptcy proceedings of the combined FTX/Alameda Research company.
The FTX failure process was completed to list As one of the banks used by Goldfields Money FTX related entities. The creditor the matrix Includes Finder, HiveEx and Goldfields Money filed for bankruptcy by FTX.
As previously mentioned, Hive Empire Capital was an investor in Balthazar’s token sale. Balthazar’s main product allows users to ‘lease’ NFTs to someone else who will use them to play. Balthazar’s Twitter handle claims to be a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), but it is not clear how decentralized or autonomous it is.
Its website says that if users want to get their NFTs back after they’ve been lent out, they “simply get in touch [their] Balthazar Lend Account Manager, and [Balthazar] will send [their] NFTs will be returned within 48 hours. adding to concerns about true decentralization and autonomy. Protos has turned to Balthazar to clarify whether or not his organization is actually a DAO.
Balthazar lists Schebesta as his co-founder website. Schebesta was a director of the corporate organizations Balthazar Guild and Balthazar Capital, which were established in Australia. Both are now registered.
Balthazar Capital was 51% of Hive Empire Capital, and 49% of Covert Capital, owned by Balthazar CEO John Stefanidis and several other senior Balthazar executives. Balthazar Guild ownership was split evenly between Hive Empire Capital and Covert Capital. As those Australian entities have been deregistered, it is not clear which corporate entity Balthazar is now based on. Protos turns to Balthazar for clarification.
Brad Silver, formerly head of trading at HiveEx, now leads Balthazar’s Partnerships & Investor Relations.
Animoca Brands, one of Hive Empire Capital’s portfolio investments, is listed as an “advisor” to Balthazar on its website, and it was. main investor in its token sale.
Schebesta also uses the entity Schebesta Ventures (with him and Restuccia as directors and Finder as the sole shareholder) for his ‘Go Live!’ book and course. Both promise to teach you how to develop your business idea.
He too He owns a AUD 16 million mansion on the coast of Sydney that he referred to as his ‘Crypto Castle’ renting ~$3,800 per night on Airbnb.
Schebesta is also very active on TikTok with over 100,000 followers. It uses its platform to answer critical cryptocurrency questions: “what would happen if someone bought all the bitcoins?”
Schebesta, who earlier describe Terra as a “beast to be reckoned with” lost $20,000 of his personal fortune in the collapse of the Luna/Terra ecosystem.
The self-proclaimed crypto-king is renting out his castle after stepping down as CEO of the company he founded. His company has been sued by Australian securities regulators, and the OTC desk he sold ended up being used as a banking conduit for an alleged scam.
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