- The crypto industry has witnessed the unfortunate loss of key players in quick succession;
- The deaths of Mushegian, Kullander, and Taran have sparked a wave of suspicion,
- Are the deaths recorded among top crypto players linked in anyway?
A certain brand of rumor has been making the rounds in the crypto community lately. It’s more of a conspiracy theory than anything, to be honest, and has to do with the oddly-timed deaths of top crypto players. These conspiratorial claims and narratives were fueled even further by the deaths of two major crypto CEOs in the same week.
The crypto CEOs in question were Tiantian Kullander and Vyacheslav Taran, who died just a few days apart, leaving billions of dollars in fortunes behind. Despite having no evidence to back the claims that their deaths were the result of foul play or orchestration, narratives about a targeted attack on these men continue to make waves across crypto communities on social media.
Cementing this narrative for many conspiracy theorists is the fact that these deaths came only a month after millionaire cryptocurrency developer Nikolai Mushegian reportedly died after drowning in Puerto Rico.
Due to the nature of cryptocurrency as a decentralized alternative to traditional banking systems and fiat (and its propensity to be used in money laundering), there has always been the belief that many things in the industry are shrouded in mystery. As such, reports of the deaths of top industry players are bound to act as reinforcing news for conspiratorially minded individuals or groups.
Let’s take a look at the events surrounding these deaths.
Nikolai Mushegian: October 28, 2022
Image Source: Google Images
The first of the group of notable crypto entrepreneurs who died this year was Nikolai Mushegian, who reportedly drowned in October.
Nikolai Mushegian was the first of the renowned crypto entrepreneurs to pass away this year. Mushegian was one of the original developers of MakerDAO, which has been described as “the largest decentralized finance protocol”—a sort of financial technology used to eliminate middlemen and centralized institutions from financial operations.
An article published by a Puerto Rican newspaper on the day Mushegian passed reported that the crypto developer had been “swept away by sea currents” on the Condado beach in San Juan.
“According to a police report, the incident was reported at 9:15 a.m. when authorities were alerted that the man, identified as Nicolai Arcadie Muchgian [sic], had been dragged,” reads a translation of the article. It further noted:
“Rescue personnel managed to rescue his body that no longer showed vital signs, it was reported.”
Things get more sinister as earlier that day, Mushegian posted a tweet alleging that his life was in danger, a sort of cry for help. His last tweet that day read:
“CIA and Mossad and pedo elite are running some kind of sex trafficking entrapment blackmail ring out of Puerto Rico and caribbean islands. They are going to frame me with a laptop planted by my ex gf who was a spy. They will torture me to death.”
While death has not been ruled as a homicide, many believe it was the doing of some unseen power. To be fair to the conspiracy theorists, his distress message on the day of the unfortunate event leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
Tiantian Kullander: November 23, 2022
Image Source: Google Images
Tiantian Kullander, a co-founder of the digital asset firm Amber Group, passed away on November 23, 2022, during the same week as Taran. His business was reportedly valued at $3 billion, according to a press release from Amber Group.
An official statement from the company read: “It is with the deepest sadness and a heavy heart that we inform you of the passing of our friend and co-founder, Tiantian Kullander, who passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on November 23, 2022.”
However, conspiracy theorists believe that “Big Brother” killed Taran, Mushegian, and Kullander and are treating his death as suspicious. Once again, these claims were made without any evidence backing them
Again, there is no evidence to support the accusations of wrongdoing. Indeed, because his passing was only disclosed, all the material available seems to be conjecture.
Vyacheslav Taran: November 25, 2022
Image Source: Google Images
Vyacheslav Taran, the millionaire founder of Forex Club who had invested in blockchain-related ventures, passed away in a helicopter crash on November 25, 2022, close to his residence in southeast France.
A pilot acquainted with the area was in control of an Airbus H130, a multimillion-dollar touring aircraft regarded as the best in the world, when it crashed on November 25, according to a report by the French public radio station France Bleu.
According to the pro-Kremlin news source Life.ru, Taran “had enemies in Russia” because of his cryptocurrency business, which has gained new significance in the nation as a result of the country’s economy being largely cut off from international markets as a result of international sanctions introduced in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Life.ru, a website notorious for using compromised or leaked information to target dissidents and opposition individuals in Russia and abroad, released an item about the passing.
Citing no sources, the publication claimed that Taran had swindled many of his customers in his business dealings and that the Bank of Russia had revoked the licenses of Taran’s exchanges for “repeated violations of securities laws.”
The article further claimed that Taran’s exchanges owed a lot of money to investors after many Russians pulled money away from the platform, adding that the crypto millionaire had made enemies “who could well get him abroad.”
However, Taran’s family put out a statement after his death, “categorically” denying his involvement with Russian intelligence or authorities in any measure, adding that “these are completely unfounded fabrications and outright lies, which have compounded our grief at this very difficult time.”
The statement also said that there was nothing “mysterious” about his death and that “everyone should wait until the investigation is fully completed before jumping to conclusions or speculating about crazy conspiracy theories.”
While these top crypto players deaths and many others that have happened in the crypto industry are unfortunate, there is no evidence linking any of them together. The fringe media and people attempting to weave a web out of these deaths appear to be doing it out of self-interest or in an attempt to propagate a narrative based on mere suspicion, a common recipe used to promulgate conspiracy theories.