It was a stunt designed to play on one of cryptocurrencies most resilient memes: “to the moon” — the idea that prices will skyrocket, leaving currency holders rich in the process. But it was a stunt that left one Sherpa presumed dead on Mount Everest.
ASKfm, one of the world’s top 10 social media networks, was about to release a brand new(ICO), giving early investors the chance to pre-buy some of its cryptocurrency before its launch. To promote the ICO ASKfm sent four “crypto enthusiasts” on an expedition to Mount Everest.
The plan: bury $50,000 worth of ASKT, ASKfm’s cryptocurrency, in a nano ledger at the top of the mountain.
The team of four made it to the top on May 14, and got back relatively safely. Taris Pozdnii, the man in the video above, suffered multiple instances of frost bite on his fingers and feet, but recovered.
In a statement on its Medium page, ASKfm explained the reasons for the trip.
The statement here is that ASKfm is not at all afraid to rise to challenges. They’re conquering Everest because it’s out there to conquer. By doing so they claim: if they’re bold enough to do it, they’re bold enough to turn a social network into a blockchain ecosystem, and they’re definitely bold enough to overturn the market with their new product.
Later it explained the expedition in terms of the “to the moon” crypto meme.
While others try sophisticated marketing techniques, these guys went out there and put themselves right on top of the highest mountain on the planet. An elegant way to boast ideological superiority to every other crypto. A way quite strangely unexplored before. Even memes-wise, think about the closest starting point to reach the moon. It seems so obvious, yet no one has done it.
But the Medium statement didn’t mention Lam Babu Sherpa, a man who helped the ASKfm’s four-man team get to the top of Mount Everest. According to extensive reports by the Financial Times and climbing site Rock and Ice, Lam Babu Sherpa was left behind during the descent from Mount Everest and is now presumed dead. Lam Babu Sherpa was a veteran of three Mount Everest summits.
In a statement to the Financial Times, ASKfm’s CEO Max Tsaryk said they had later been made “aware” that someone had gone missing on the trip, that “the condition and location of the missing Sherpa was unknown” and it was not their place to “make public statements which could’ve resulted in false information being circulated”.
ASKfm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The buried Nano Ledger containing ASKfm’s cryptocurrency is still on the mountain.
“500,000 ASKT will stay on the peak of Mt. Everest,” said ASKfm in its celebratory Medium post, “for someone who is brave enough to climb the mountain.”
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