The billionaire co-founder of Ethereum has announced he is quitting the world of cryptocurrency because of personal safety concerns.
Anthony Di Iorio, 48 – who has had his own security team since 2017 with guards following him wherever he goes – will sell blockchain firm Decentral Inc, sever ties with other start-ups he’s involved with and focus on philanthropy instead.
The Canadian entrepreneur did not say whether he had been the target of specific security threats but explained he believed he would be ‘safer’ away from crypto.
‘It’s got a risk profile that I am not too enthused about,’ he told Bloomberg.
‘I don’t feel necessarily safe in this space. If I was focused on larger problems, I think I’d be safer.’
Di Iorio founded Ethereum in 2013 and its token, Ether, now has a market value of $225billion.
The tycoon him the headlines headlines in 2018 when he bought one of Canada’s largest and most expensive condos to house Decentral’s offices, after partly paying in digital money.
The $28million apartment in downtown Toronto’s St. Regis Residences (formerly the Trump International Hotel and Tower) has 16,000 square feet of floorspace over the top three storeys and a wrap-around balcony.
Forbes put Di Iorio’s net worth as high as $1billion, but he declined to comment on this or reveal the extent of his crypto holdings.
He plans to sell Toronto-based Decentral for ‘hundreds of millions’ and said he has already talked to potential investors.
Di Iorio – who has previously served as chief digital officer at the Toronto Stock Exchange – now wants to focus on other projects.
This includes, Project Arrow, an initiative to build a zero-emission vehicle run by a high school friend.
‘I want to diversify to not being a crypto guy, but being a guy tackling complex problems,’ Di Iorio said.
‘I will incorporate crypto when needed, but a lot of times, it’s not. It’s really a small percentage of what the world needs.’
Crypto has been linked to a series of security issues, with a boom in kidnappings of wealthy individuals followed by the criminals demanding payment of the ransom in digital money.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, the largest ransomware attack on record breached the systems of US software firm Kaseya, in turn infecting the computers of 1million companies on virtually every continent.
Swedish grocery stores, schools in New Zealand, and two major Dutch IT firms were among the victims of hacking group REvil which launched its attack on July 2.
Kaseya says just a few dozen of its customers were directly affected by the attack, but knock-on effects have brought down firms in 17 countries including US and the UK – with one expert saying the attack is ‘unprecedented’ in its scale and sophistication.
REvil, which was behind the Memorial Day hack of meat processor JBS which saw an $11million ransom paid, has been demanding ransoms of up to $5million from individual firms – but now says for $70million it will unlock all affected networks.
Joe Biden, who last month warned President Putin to take action against hacking groups targeting the US from Russia, said the FBI is investigating the latest hack and he will take action if Moscow is deemed to be responsible.
Analysts said it is no coincidence that the latest attack coincided with the July 4 weekend, when companies would be under-staffed and less able to respond.