A promotional stunt for a Ukranian startup’s upcoming initial coin offering (ICO) turned tragic after a sherpa reportedly died while helping a group of climbers hide a cryptocurrency wallet at the summit of Mt. Everest.
According to FT Alphaville, social networking startup ASKfm sponsored a promotion to hide a Ledger wallet containing 500,000 ASKfm tokens at the mountain’s summit, which any cryptocurrency enthusiast “brave enough” could claim by scaling Everest and finding it.
The company said that the tokens were worth $50,000, though this estimate was not based on actual market data since the company’s ICO has not yet begun.
Tragically, a Sherpa accompanying the group of climbers appears to have died during the expedition, FT reports, citing data garnered from local news reports and Everest blogger Alan Arnette, as well as an interview with Taras Pozdnii, one of the four climbers who participated in the ASKfm expedition.
When queried about the Sherpa’s death, ASKfm gave conflicting statements, at one point claiming that the Sherpa was assisting a separate group of climbers at the time of his disappearance.
“We have become aware that a Sherpa who successfully assisted one of our sponsored climbers on a part of their journey, prior to assisting other non-related groups of climbers, later became missing,” the company said in its statement to the publication.
This, however, does not line up with statements made by two of the climbers themselves, who said he had gone missing during a portion of the descent when it would have been odd for him to leave the ASKfm group to assist other climbers.
Meanwhile, Arnette, one of the foremost authorities on Everest-related happenings, said that he had serious questions about the events that led to the Sherpa’s disappearance and subsequent death.
“I find it hard to understand how the 45-year-old Sherpa developed snow blindness, was reported to be staggering and no one was able to help him,” he wrote. “I look forward to obtaining more details on this sad event.”