Winter Olympics gold medalist, Apolo Ohno, who retired from active short-track speed skating in 2013, has found a new passion in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Transforming the Economy
These days quite a number of sports personalities have caught the crypto bug, and Ohno is just the latest Olympian to announce his blockchain project.
“This sphere is really interesting to me because of the strength it has to really transform the economy,” the retired athlete declared.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist in collaboration with some crypto enthusiasts are creating a revolutionary all-in-one cryptocurrency trading platform called HybridBlock.
Having invested a “substantial amount” of money already in the project, Ohno and his team are looking to raise $50 million via an initial coin offering (ICO) exercise.
“We are being very unique about our investments, Ohno said, adding that “We’re not accepting any U.S. money into our ICO.”
The super athlete revealed to FOX Business that he caught the crypto fever shortly after he retired from sports. Ohno continued:
“I started just like anyone else did, really participating at the very core level. Now, I’m looking at building out products to help to facilitate that trade.”
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been hunting down ICO projects that fall short of its regulatory standards. This exposure explains why the HybridBlock project and many other ICO projects are not open to U.S participants.
The SEC chairman Jay Clayton has always been a staunch critic of ICOs for their non-compliance with the commission’s guidelines. Back in January 2018, when the securities watchdog was laying down rules for firms interested in doing business in the U.S crypto industry, Clayton said that:
“Market professionals, especially gatekeepers, need to act responsibly and hold themselves to high standards. To be blunt, from what I have seen recently, particularly in the initial coin offering space, they can do better. [First], and most disturbing to me, there are ICOs where the lawyers involved appear to be, on the one hand, assisting promoters in structuring offerings of products that have many of the key features of a securities offering but call it an ‘ICO.’”
Clayton has made it clear that he’s carefully monitoring ICOs. Clayton warned that he worries “in particular about people who see things that look like a New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ listing for ICOS or cryptocurrencies and think that I’m getting the same protection for my token that I would be getting for a share of stock that trades on an exchange. They’re not.”
The Game Changer
Ohno is not oblivious of the criticisms surrounding ICOs, and he firmly believes HybridBlock will give crypto investors a breath of fresh air.
“The goal is how do we educate the everyday retail market and crypto assets enthusiasts so they are more informed and better equipped to make the right type of decision in terms of participating in this space,” he said.
The athlete-turned entrepreneur hinted that the project would cater to both the expert investors and the ‘crypto-greenhorn.’
“It’s for people that heard about cryptos and want to participate but don’t know where and how to do it,” he said, adding that most people fail because of lack of adequate knowledge of how the digital currencies industry work.
Ohno is determined to make his HybridBlock project a huge success, no matter the challenges he and his team may encounter along the way. “I was designed to figure out ways to win every year, every four years, so I’m very used to adapting,” he said.