The crypto industry, rich in excesses, has been enriched by a human catastrophe. For a PR stunt of an ICO launch, a carrier of a crypto expedition died on Mount Everest. His death raises the question of how little a human life is worth between a search for sensation and an interest in profit.
When mountaineer George Mallory was asked in the 1920s why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he replied, “Because he’s there. This is also a good answer to the question why one should deal with crypto currencies. The combination of the hunt for ever more exciting crypto PR and the real danger of the so-called death zone of the highest mountain in the world has now claimed a human life.
Bitcoin loophole: The main thing is to generate attention
The Ukrainian social media platform ask.fm undertook the highest PR stunt in the world. The company is currently preparing to launch its own Bitcoin loophole crypto currency. To ensure the necessary attention, the platform sent four Ukrainian crypto enthusiasts to Mount Everest. They were to bury a hardware wallet with ask.fms’ own tokens at the summit.
The company’s own advertising video explains why this was absolutely necessary:
“Crypto projects have to change the rules of the game. Accepting challenges. Conquer heights. Be ready for the highest token, literally.”
Later, a bearded Ukrainian can be seen in the video in bad weather. “We are now at the highest point on earth,” he says, holding a hardware wallet in his camera. Tokens worth 50,000 US dollars are now buried at the summit. The Financial Times then asked ask.fm where the money came from. The answer: the tokens after the ICO could be worth that. Real value at this point: zero.
The efforts were gigantic, as the press release from ask.fm showed:
“Two guys were stuck at a height of over 7,000 meters, without reserve oxygen. Under extreme temperatures and unable to descend, they had to call a helicopter squad to the rescue on the second day. Now they are both safe and being treated. And strong to have taken such a step.”
One in over 100 Sherpas does not return
In a Facebook post, Taras Pozdnii, one of the mountaineers, holds his connected hand in the camera, smiles and writes about the frostbite and how he lost 10 kilos. The mail was sent from the capital Kathmandu. This was at a time when Sherpa Lam Babu, a member of the ask.fm troop, had already disappeared at over 8,000 meters between the summit and Camp IV. Lam was an experienced mountaineer. But it is clear to every connoisseur that one is not “lost” at this altitude without being in absolute danger of death.
As the Financial Times researched, team members were already talking about Lam’s death when ask.fm still wrote that one of over 100 Sherpas had not turned up yet and you had no information. While the ask.fm team was flying to Kathmandu by helicopter, Everest chronologist Alan Arnette asked in his blog why nobody came to Lam’s aid.
Jemima Kelly of the Financial Times noted: “The company is still encouraging climbers to look for digital tokens that have no verifiable value, even though a person has already lost his life for them. By the time Lam died on Mount Everest, more than 500 climbers had reached the summit in the young season and three more had lost their lives.