Pub owner convinced ‘hundreds’ in UK village to invest in shitcoin

Hundreds of investors from a small idyllic village in the UK have seen their investments plummet after a pub landlord convinced them to invest in Koda, a crypto project that would supposedly turn them into “millionaires,” according to a BBC documentary

Koda was launched in the summer of 2021 by James Gale, who was soon after known as ‘the Wolf of Crypto.’ The token was pitched as an alternative to fiat currency that Gale promised would “make everyone involved in the project millionaires.”

Koda was publicized by national papers and caught the hearts of the UK village of Winchmore Hill, northeast of Slough. Pete Gilbert, the landlord of the Potters Arms pub, was the first to invest. He told The Sun, “I can smell money from a mile away and this stinks of it more than anything I’ve experienced in my whole life.”

Gilbert convinced friends, family, and pub regulars from the village to buy the crypto. The landlord even set up crypto nights at the pub with members of the Koda team to help locals invest. He said hundreds from the village may have directly or indirectly invested in Koda thanks to him. 

The pub in Winchmore Hill that inspired a whole town to invest in a shitcoin (via Visit Thames).

However, the coin began to crash by November 2021 and dropped 98.6% from its all-time high. It has never recovered. According to the BBC, one tradesman lost roughly £5,000 while others lost tens of thousands of pounds and their entire life savings. 

Another Koda holder committed suicide. The coroner’s report states that his deteriorating mental health was a contributing factor. His wife told the BBC his Koda losses had a huge impact on his emotional wellbeing. “It caused him not to sleep and worry about money,” she said.

James Gale’s red flags 

The BBC reportedly found no evidence that Gale did anything besides run a cryptocurrency that dramatically dropped in price. However, the outlet discovered a checkered history behind Koda’s running. 

For two years since its registration with the UK companies house, no financial documents had been submitted to Koda’s parent company Summit Better Crypto Ltd. Gale told the BBC that the company had never traded in the UK, but rather through his Dubai firm Summit Better Crypto DMCC.

Summit Better Crypto Ltd was dissolved on July 4, 2023. 

Gale also promised to give away three cars in a prize draw but only managed to give away one. Gale also backed out of a football deal halfway through, leaving the club without second-season funding. The crypto founder claimed he wasn’t aware of the club’s financial situation.

Read more: Minnesota’s biggest crypto scam: Man loses $9M to LinkedIn seductress

Gale also admitted to sending abusive messages to a former staff member who criticized Koda on YouTube. He has since apologized to the ex-employee. Other Koda members also claim they have been sent anonymous death threats in relation to Koda. Gale denies sending these.

Gale, however, claims he has been the subject of abusive tweets from Pete Gilbert, the pub landlord in Winchmore Hill. When asked why, Gale refused to comment to the BBC. He stepped down from Koda on July 19. 

According to the BBC, “Gale wholeheartedly denies any allegation that he acted wrongly, misled anyone or tried to wrongly or unfairly incentivise people to invest in Koda.”

As of July 28 the project is now managed by The Crypto Marketing Company.

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