Ex-boss of Russian cryonics firm behind $14M ICO allegedly flees with stolen brain
KrioRus, a cryonics company that led a $14 million initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017, is in crisis after its ousted co-founder allegedly led a raid to steal frozen body parts and hi-tech equipment.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Valeriya Udalova founded the Moscow-based business with her futurologist husband Danila Medvedev in 2006.
KrioRus offers to freeze clients (or their pets) with liquid nitrogen. The company says it will do everything to reanimate bodies if and when the technology becomes available in the future — but makes it clear there’s no promises.
Despite its disclaimer, KrioRus (the first cryonics firm outside of the US) enjoyed 15 successful years and became the third-largest company of its type in the world.
But the couple is now divorced, sparking a bitter feud over ownership of KrioRus’s stiff client list.
KrioRus’s roster reportedly boasts 74 human cadavers (including the doctor who invented the chemical process used in the preservation process), as well as 42 frozen animals (cats, dogs, birds, and one lucky chinchilla).
The situation came to a head last week when employees of Udalova’s new company Open Cryonics stormed a KrioRus facility and forcibly removed equipment and organs.
According to the Daily Mail, witnesses saw Open Cryonics staff hack through a fence before making off with dewars (large tanks for holding frozen remains) and loading them onto trucks.
Speaking about the raid, Aleksey Potapov, a KrioRus expert said: “While attempting to steal our dewars most of the nitrogen was poured onto the ground.”
Police intercepted the trucks but it’s unknown whether the pilfered remains will be salvageable.
However, authorities were unable to apprehend Udalova who, according to her ex-husband, was last seen making off with a particularly gruesome trophy.
“The police did not catch Valeria. She left, taking someone’s brain from the cryo-storage,” Medvedev told Russian television (our emphasis). There’s currently no word on whose brain it was.
KrioRus wanted to take cryonics mainstream
During 2017’s peak-ICO mania, KrioRus raised $14 million via a four-stage sale for its native CryoGen (CRYO) token.
The plan was to spend those funds on the so-called Project CryoGen, an initiative aimed at “the large-scale development of cryonics.”
Specifically, the company planned to build a facility in Switzerland and:
- pioneer reversible organ freezing,
- build a “huge” storage and research facility in Russia,
- develop technology to allow astronauts to travel into deep space.
Speaking about the ICO, Udalova said: “in general, the community of cryonics supporters is somewhat conservative at the moment.”
“There are many elderly people – the first enthusiasts, who are already old. But now more and more young people understand the correctness of cryonics, sign agreements for themselves, for old parents.”
KrioRus promised investors they could exchange CRYO (worth $1 each at the time of the ICO) for cryonics-related services and discounts.
These included DNA retention (800 CRYO), neuro-cryopreservation (13,500 CRYO), full-body cryopreservation (32,400 CRYO), and cryopreservation of animals (32,400 CRYO).
It’s not known how many people have used their tokens — or if they’re still valid. Customers can no longer buy CRYO or book services through KrioRus’ website.
The project also hasn’t updated its social media feeds for years. CoinGecko lists CRYO as inactive.
Hal Finney is one of many Bitcoiners waiting to be thawed
Cryptocurrency and cryonics have history that stretches back long before KrioRus’s token experiment.
In 2014, the body of renowned Bitcoin OG Hal Finney was cryogenically frozen after his untimely passing.
Finney famously received the first ever Bitcoin payment from the crypto’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
Finney is currently stored at -320 degrees Fahrenheit in a 10-ft tank maintained by US-based Alcor Life Extension Foundation.
[Read more: Bitcoin visionary Hal Finney ‘predicted’ booming NFT market — in 1993]
In a 2014 interview with Wired, Alcor director Max More said about Finney’s new home:
“That’s where he’ll remain until such time as we have technologies to repair the problems he had such as ALS and the aging process.”
“Then we can bring Hal back happy and whole again.”
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