Crypto hedge fund CEO may not exist; probe finds no record of identity

Enlarge / A still from a HyperVerse video featuring CEO Steven Reece Lewis.

For years, rumors spread on social media that Steven Reece Lewis, the chief executive officer of a now-shuttered cryptocurrency hedge fund called HyperVerse, was a “fake person” who “doesn’t exist.” After its investigation, The Guardian has confirmed that no organization cited on his resume “can find any record of him.”

According to The Guardian, Reece Lewis’s qualifications all appear to be falsified in an effort to woo investors to sink money into HyperVerse. After HyperVerse collapsed, accused of operating as a pyramid scheme, the company suspended withdrawals. According to blockchain analysts, Chainalysis consumer losses in 2022 were estimated to exceed $1.3 billion. Thousands of consumers lost millions, The Guardian reported.

In a December 2021 video, Reece Lewis was introduced as CEO and touted for making big moves before joining HyperVerse. He supposedly went from working at Goldman Sachs to selling a web development company to Adobe before launching his own IT startup.

Digging into his academic history, The Guardian found that neither of the universities that Reece Lewis allegedly attended— the University of Leeds and the University of Cambridge—had a record of him in their databases.

His career background appeared similarly suspicious. Adobe “has no record of any acquisition of a company owned by a Steven Reece Lewis in any of its public SEC filings,” and “Goldman Sachs could find no record of Reece Lewis having worked for the company,” The Guardian reported.

Fanning out their search, The Guardian uncovered no LinkedIn account for Reece Lewis “or any Internet presence other than HyperVerse promotional material.” It appeared, too, that Reece Lewis’ Twitter account was created just a month before the 2021 video launched.

Celebrities and influencers, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, endorsed Reece Lewis as a strong leader for the HyperVerse. Reece Lewis’ company offered a bold vision that was supposed to compete with Facebook’s Metaverse by creating a “new frontier of a galactic universe” and bringing “to life a complete virtual world,” Reece Lewis’ promo promised. Wozniak said in a video that he supported “Steven,” proclaiming, “I can’t wait for the HyperVerse.”

In 2022, a writer for the British tabloid called The Mirror, Andrew Penman, attempted to raise a red flag, noting that all three of the celebrities (Wozniak, Chuck Norris, and Lance Bass) who endorsed Reece Lewis declined to confirm ever knowing him.

“I suspect that he’s a figment of someone’s imagination, created to give a false sense of security to this sham,” Penman wrote. “I can find no record of such a person other than a Twitter account started last year, and HyperVerse has refused to answer my questions about him or even give me an email address so that I can put questions to him directly.”

The influencers, as well as HyperVerse leaders like Sam Lee and Ryan Xu, remain silent on Reece Lewis’ identity today. None of the famous figures has ever confirmed that they’ve met or spoken to Reece Lewis, the Guardian reported, suggesting that it was possible that all three may have been hired to do the marketing videos through Cameo. Penman suggested in 2022 that the influencers were likely “innocently misled” when agreeing to endorse HyperVerse.

Perhaps more glaringly, however, Lee did not respond to The Guardian’s questions about Reece Lewis. Instead, Lee disputed The Guardian’s alleged “misstatements” about Lee’s involvement as the alleged founder of HyperVerse and claimed that “people on the Internet” continue to “make things up.”

One of the earliest reports alleging that Reece Lewis was not real appeared on Reddit two years ago. A user called “roamingandy” criticized Xu for disappearing and wrote that HyperVerse’s “new CEO Steven Reece Lewis, touted as a business expert, doesn’t exist outside of one video created by HyperVerse. He has no LinkedIn, no Twitter, no mention of him on the board of any previous companies.”

After concluding its investigation, The Guardian agreed that “Reece Lewis’s identity could not be verified.”

On his only known social media account, Reece Lewis stopped tweeting in June 2022, around when HyperVerse was suspending customer withdrawals. While his identity remains in question, his pinned tweet has a link to a promo video for the HyperVerse, with a caption that reads, “where reality ends and imagination begins.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *