The story of Ryan Breslow and his crypto catastrophes •
Ryan Breslow, the founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of Bolt, an online payment platform that last raised at a valuation of $11 billion, has faced a variety of challenges in the crypto ecosystem. These include handing a DAO over to a convicted fraudster and being accused of misrepresenting how Eco, a company he co-founded, made yield.
Breslow stepped down as CEO of Bolt in January 2022, several months before the New York Times (NYT) dropped an investigation that alleges that Bolt and Breslow misrepresented the capabilities of the platform in order to sign new customers.
Before resigning as CEO, Breslow started several cryptocurrency initiatives including Movement DAO, and co-founded a company called Eco which allowed users to earn yield on their funds.
Movement DAO was meant to be a ‘social impact’ DAO that allowed users to contribute their funds in exchange for ‘MOVE’ tokens. They could then vote to decide what the DAO would support.
Breslow reportedly hired convicted fraudster Mark Phillips to develop the DAO, after Phillips convinced them that he’d previously been a developer with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Breslow and the other co-founders reportedly gave Phillips enough keys to control the multi-signature wallet at the heart of the ‘DAO,’ and have since filed a complaint alleging that approximately $16 million in funds they contributed have been stolen.
On March 5, Fintech Business Weekly reported that Breslow’s other cryptocurrency Eco, which represented that it was lending to Goldman Sachs and Fidelity, was actually depositing into BlockFi, Wyre, and DeFi protocols.
Initially, Eco appears to have been earning approximately 8.6% at BlockFi and passing along 2.5-5% to users, allowing it to make a tidy profit. This is despite claiming to Fintech Business Weekly that “Eco did not place user funds with BlockFi.” A spokesperson for Eco said that “Previously, Eco worked with BlockFi to generate yield on our corporate funds, never on user funds. User funds were never placed at BlockFi.”
Read more: FTX and BlockFi bankruptcies spook Visa and Mastercard
Eventually Eco would switch from the now-bankrupt BlockFi to Wyre. Wyre offered its own ‘savings’ service that also involved lending out deposits but also involved deploying them into DeFi protocols. An Eco spokesperson confirmed to Protos that they used Wyre, and said “Eco users’ funds were lent out by our former partner Wyre from late 2020 through May 2022. During that time, Eco users explicitly agreed to Wyre’s rewards program terms of service and opened an account with Wyre to hold their funds, which were then lent out by Wyre.”
- March 2022: Eco notified users that it would be moving funds out of Wyre and into Prime Trust.
- April 2022: Bolt, the other company founded by Breslow, announced that it was acquiring Wyre in a $1.5 billion dollar deal.
- May 2022: Eco finished moving its funds off Wyre and onto Prime Trust.
- September 2022: It was announced that the Bolt-Wyre acquisition wouldn’t be completed.
- October 2022: Eco moved to Zero Hash for its custody needs.
- January 2023: It was reported that Wyre was making layoffs and ‘scaling back.’
It’s not clear what motivated Bolt to attempt to acquire Wyre after Eco had already begun searching for replacement vendors and moving funds.
Eco has also reportedly had to inform customers that it will no longer be able to rely on Signature Bank and Trust. Instead it’s using Piermont Bank and Prime Trust and has been paying user interest out of its own corporate treasury. Reportedly, its solution to make this sustainable is to launch a new token.
Protos reached out to Bolt and was told that the company has no comment to make. We also contacted Wyre, Eco, and Breslow with questions and will update if we hear back.
Update March 6th, 2023 9:40 PM: Added comments from an Eco spokesperson.
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