Fortean Times


NOEL ROONEY finds that being a cryptocurr­ency tycoon has become a hazardous business of late, with three high-profile deaths in just a few days...



The attrition rate for cryptocurr­ency tycoons has recently spiked somewhat, and the news has set antennae quivering in the Conspirasp­here. This lethal uptick cannot easily be put down to the law of large numbers; crypto-tycoons are mortal, just like the rest of us, of course, but since the current population of cryptobill­ionaires is (according to Forbes) a mere 19, the deaths of three high-profile figures in a few days is perhaps cause for concern. At the very least, it might suggest (as per the gleeful Metro headline: “The Curse of Crypto”) that cryptomini­ng has it own rather specific health hazards.

Our first victim was not personally a billionair­e, but the company he helped to found was recently valued at three billion dollars. Tiantian Kullander apparently died in his sleep on 23 November. At 30 years old, he wasn’t the most obvious contender for cot death, or its senescent equivalent, and in any case, currently all sudden deaths have only one obvious cause in the C-sphere: the evil vaccine. So the unfortunat­e Mr Kullander has to go down as an odd sort of casualty: implicated in one conspiracy theory but killed by another.

Vyacheslav Taran was very definitely a crypto-billionair­e; he lived in Monaco and travelled by helicopter to prove it. Helicopter­s, as regular observers of the C-sphere will know, are a terminally risky mode of transport for a certain type of person; a person, say, who has fallen foul of The Powers That Be, for instance. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Taran met his maker in a helicopter crash; or that the circumstan­ces of the crash are seen by many (including mainstream media outlets) as suspicious.

Reports immediatel­y after the crash claimed that another passenger had been booked on the flight but cancelled at the last minute; and a lastminute cancellati­on before a crash is a trope that just begs for a theory. The crash also allegedly happened in clear weather – another dog whistle for enquiring minds. And there’s more, according to the Daily Mail: a Ukrainian news agency, UNIAN, claimed (without any evidence, as the Mail is quick to point out) that Taran had links with Russian intelligen­ce and laundered funds for them via crypto accounts.

Pots, kettles and dark hues might come to mind for those who have alleged that Sam Bankman Fried – an ex-crypto billionair­e who seems to have escaped with his life, for now – used his company to launder funds for the Ukrainian government, or the personal and ill-gotten fortune of President Zelenskyy, as others have preferred it. But hey, in the strange confluence of dodgy financial streams that dominates the world of contempora­ry money, it’s perhaps no shock that some of the more singular currents should find themselves

“They are going to frame me... They will torture me to death”

mixing on occasion.

And then there was Nikolai Mushegian. The 29-yearold Mushegian was found, drowned, in the waters off the coast of Puerto Rico, a country that has become something of a haven for folks in the crypto community. In the days leading up to his death on 28 October, he posted some passing strange tweets. Just hours before his body was found, he tweeted, “CIA and Mossad and pedo [sic] 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 who was a spy. They will torture me to death.”

Shades of John McAfee, one might think; except poor Mr Mushegian didn’t have time to get a tattoo. Instead, he was found less than five hours later, fully dressed, wallet still in pocket (I assume this is the traditiona­l analogue, noncrypto type of wallet), floating in an area of water well-known for its dangerous riptides. The Puerto Rican crypto folk were divided on the circumstan­ces of his death; some thought it an obvious suicide, but others were convinced that foul play was involved. There was no such division in the C-sphere; the unanimous verdict was death by Deep State.

Multiple deaths in a single category (say, pop stars at age 27) are not new. They represent what some observers (Loren Coleman prominent among them) call a ‘cluster phenomenon’; a numerical coincidenc­e with a subtle tinge of strangenes­s. For conspiraci­sts, however, the word (and concept) ‘coincidenc­e’ is anathema; a flaky cop-out at best, a weapon of mass distractio­n at worst. They are dots and they need to be joined.

And coming, as they did, hot on the heels of the FTX debacle, these

deaths, all with

Paranoid crypto ‘visionary’ Nikolai Mushegian, dead at 29.

just enough uncertaint­y about them to allow space for speculatio­n, have focused a lot of conspiraci­st minds on the world of crypto. Is there some larger conspiracy afoot? Is it relevant that several countries have recently launched digital currencies? Did that gambit necessitat­e the removal of a few top honchos in the world of crypto, a currency untethered to any state, just to concentrat­e a few minds and prepare the ground for a grand takeover?

Mushegian certainly spoke to this broader conspiracy theory. He regularly tweeted about the “central banking cartel”, which uses, he claimed, “debt and blackmail” to achieve its nefarious ends. In this respect, his fatal trajectory followed that of McAfee, and perhaps that is enough to suggest that his death, perhaps more than the others, might have something suspicious about it. On the other hand, his welldocume­nted mental health problems, and the prodigious amount of weed that he apparently smoked, might suggest another story, equally tragic but less appealing to a particular frame of mind.

The curse of crypto may yet turn out to be a thing; elite paedophili­a, high finance, CIA, Mossad – and helicopter­s – make for a heady brew. And jesting Pilate may be the arbiter. newslondon/crypto-co-foundertia­ntian-kullander-founddead-in-his-sleep-aged-30/ ar-AA14EIPj; www.dailymail. Russian-billionair­e-53-killedheli­copter-crash-near-Monacolate­st-crypto-mystery-death. html; https://nypost. com/2022/11/09/drowningde­ath-of-crypto-visionary-fuelsconsp­iracy-theories/

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