Mark Cuban is in trouble.
The billionaire entrepreneur has been facing a torrent of criticism for several days linked to a partnership forged with a crypto firm. Indeed, Cuban, an evangelist of the crypto industry in which he has invested, had signed an agreement linking his NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, to the crypto lender Voyager Digital last October.
The contract, signed on October 28, is for five years and has a mission to promote cryptocurrencies by making coins more accessible through educational and digital programs.
$100 Reward When Opening an Account
As part of the partnership, Voyager promised Dallas Mavericks’ fans a $100 reward to trade crypto on Voyager for a limited time if they deposited $100 and traded just $10. The offer had met with great success, so much so that Voyager had been obliged to set up a waiting list.
“We’re going to come up with new ways to introduce Mavs fans to cryptocurrency and help them understand it,” Cuban said at the time during a press conference with Voyager CEO Steve Ehrlich. “You know, there’s a lot of hype, there’s a lot of discussion, but most people don’t understand the fundamentals behind it. We’re going to try to bring that level of education to our fans and to our joint customers.”
The problem is that less than nine months later, Voyager Digital filed for bankruptcy. And for the moment it is difficult to know if his customers will recover their money. Indeed, the firm is one of the collateral victims of the crisis of confidence having wiped out more than $2 trillion from the crypto market since all-time highs were set in November.
Voyager is a cryptocurrency trading platform. The firm also offers loans and staking services, which are a kind of rewards for holding certain coins. It was its lending business that got it into trouble: Voyager appears to have loaned its clients’ funds to crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, also known as 3AC. However, this fund defaulted last month on a loan of $667 million granted to it by Voyager. Three Arrows Capital has been forced by a court in the British Virgin Islands to enter into liquidation. Faced with this disaster, Voyager suspended deposits, withdrawals and loyalty rewards on its platform.
“Customers with crypto in their account(s) will receive in exchange a combination of the crypto in their account(s), proceeds from the 3AC recovery, common shares in the newly reorganized Company, and Voyager tokens,” Ehrlich wrote on Twitter on July 6.
Voyager ‘Is a Good Way to Learn’
On October 28, Voyager Digital shares closed at $14.21. In its last session this week before delisting at the company’s request, Voyager stock was trading at 25 cents per share.
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“You’re spending your money, so always be careful,” Cuban said at the press conference last October when asked what you need to know before the first investment in the crypto sector. “But the other thing, look, there’s investments, things like Shiba Inu and Dogecoin, those aren’t investments. But Voyager … this is a good way to learn and it’s something you can do on your smart phone. You can start getting into this and saving your money and that’s just a unique opportunity.”
Shiba Inu and Dogecoin are two meme coins that were created as a joke.
Cuban’s words and this partnership now come back to haunt him because many retail investors claim to have invested in Voyager or to have gone through the platform for their first investments in the crypto sector after the partnership with the Dallas Mavericks. These investors are expressing their anger on social social media.
“So we got rugged by @mcuban twice?” posted one Twitter user.
“@mcuban @costplusdrugs Don’t trust Cuban. I lost everything in his “partnership” with Voyager,” another user complained. “He says he isn’t in it for the money and only charges 10-15% after costs. That’s 9 figures for every Billion. That’s not someone who “isn’t in it for the money!”I’m ruined thanks to him.”
“@mcuban I made sure to mention that you suggested I use @investvoyager for my crypto exchange. 👍” complained another user.
“@mcuban is full of rugs 👀,” another said.
Cuban, who has a social media presence and has retweeted messages from users praising his efforts to drive down drug costs, has yet to discuss Voyager’s bankruptcy.
A Twitter request for comment from the Dallas Mavericks has so far gone unanswered.
“In stocks and crypto, you will see companies that were sustained by cheap, easy money—but didn’t have valid business prospects—will disappear,” Cuban said in an interview last month with Fortune. “Like [Warren] Buffett says, ‘When the tide goes out, you get to see who is swimming naked.”