Founded in Toulouse, France, crypto startup Hush’s services were described as similar to those offered by a “neo-bank” - which aimed to revolutionize the traditional banking industry by creating a participative community of digital currency users.
Hush’s founders had planned to use a decentralized governance model, much in the same way other blockchain-based consensus algorithms before it had done. Leading the company’s development efforts was Éric Charpentier, the former founder of fintech firm, Morning. Those familiar with Morning’s operations would know that the company’s business activities were suspended by regulatory authorities.
Morning’s management team had been accused by French regulators of misappropriating company funds. After a troubling period, Morning was acquired by Edel, a France-based banking institution and subsidiary of E, Leclerc Group, a large cooperative society and hypermarket chain.
Soon after leaving Morning, Charpentier began working on his new startup idea, Hush, which began to get a lot of attention on social media, especially when plans regarding the firm’s initial coin offering (ICO) became public. Hush’s founders wanted to raise approximately $17 million to $23 million from the ICO.
Supporting the launch of Hush’s ICO were a group of well-known advisors and the crypto startup also managed to receive fairly good ratings for its ICO prospects. However, Hush’s fundraising effort was not successful as the ICO only sold 245 USH tokens and raised around $618,000.
In addition to not being able to raise the target amount to help launch the company, Hush’s founders gradually went silent. Charpentier also reportedly deleted many tweets related to the Hush project and deactivated his LinkedIn account. Moreover, Hush’s Telegram and Medium accounts were deleted. French news outlet Mind Fintech published a report on the matter in which it noted that consultants and various other service providers had “not been paid” by Hush’s managers and that “there was no news” from the company’s founder.
Meanwhile, France 3 television station contacted one of Hush’s community managers, Max Massat, who told the media outlet that the reports regarding the startup were “exaggerated.” Massat also told France 3 (in September 2018):
Eric [Charpentier] is now taking the time to manage his projects far from the pressure of his networks. We have decided not to justify ourselves. We work in silence. The real investors in the project know. We leave the fantasies for others.
Notably, Massat has not issued any further comments since September and Charpentier has not issued any statements either regarding Hush. There’s also no recent activity on Hush’s Telegram channel.
A reporter from Venture Beat managed to get a statement from Sébastien Bourguignon, a blockchain consultant and one of Hush’s project advisors. Bourguignon said:
I didn’t have any news from Eric Charpentier since [the middle] of June, he didn’t pay me for the advisory [work]. I am in litigation with him.