Cryptocurrency stunt to climb Mount Everest leads to a man’s death

CoinDesk Director of Research Nolan Bauerle and Dash Core CEO Ryan Taylor on the promotional cryptocurrency stunt that was linked to a Sherpa’s death on Mt. Everest.

A promotional cryptocurrency stunt linked to a Sherpa’s death on Mt. Everest has one expert worried about what could happen to the burgeoning industry’s brand.

“The publicity stunt structured the way that it is, is endangering people’s lives,” Dash Core CEO Ryan Taylor told Liz Claman during a FOX Business interview on Tuesday. “And I think that is an act of stupidity.”

Four Ukrainians, sponsored by the company ASKfm, summited Mt. Everest carrying smart cards loaded with one million of the company’s yet-to-be-released digital currency. As part of a publicity campaign, crypto-enthusiasts were challenged to try to retrieve the currency from the peak.

However, the stunt went awry after the Sherpa guiding the four climbers went missing near the peak summit in mid-May. He is presumed dead.

“Any company that would put forward a promotion that endangers their customers I think just speaks to the lack of business maturity that is inherent in an industry this young,” Taylor said. He warned the promotional tactic could discredit other types of projects in the cryptocurrency space that are doing “amazing things.”

“We work really hard to put forward a professional product and a professional business and to have something like this happen just making headlines, it doesn’t do the rest of the industry any favors,” he said.

In a statement to FOX Business, ASKfm, a global social networking site, wrote that as a sponsor of the expedition, “we are saddened and horrified by this tragic event.”