Sep 5, 2017

Paris Hilton backs domestic abuser's ICO

AP Photo/Amr Nabil

Gurbaksh Chahal, the charming tech entrepreneur best known for admitting to domestic abuse, may have blocked me on Twitter, but his antics refuse to leave my timeline. The latest is a $100 million crypto offering called Lydian Coin, which is being supported by none other than Paris Hilton, fresh off her return from Burning Man.

Four notes on this thing:

  1. Top line: Lydian Coin is being offered by via Gravity4, the digital marketing company Chahal launched after being booted from RadiumOne. Per its white paper: "100% of the proceeds raised by the sale of Lydian tokens will be held by LydianCoin Pte. (in fiat currency or cryptocurrency, as financial, security, and other considerations may demand) as reserves against the cost of services to be performed for Lydian token holders upon negotiation of the token back to Lydian."
  2. What does that mean? Like many things with Chahal, this is a lot of sound signifying fairly little. In short, it appears that token buyers will (indirectly) purchase technologies and services from Gravity4 — something they could simply do with old-fashioned cash. The only apparent advantage for buyers is that they'll get advance access to "crypto-specific audience targeting" products that Gravity4 is supposedly creating although, if the tech is really effective, it's hard to imagine the company will refuse more traditional customers.
  3. But another way: Chahal knows Gravity4 has little chance of ever going public due to his personal history, so he's leveraging the ICO craze to bolster its balance sheet. And somehow Paris Hilton is on board, because of course she is.
  4. False advertising: HuffingtonPost, where Chahal regularly publishes, is hosting a Lydian-promoting press release that masquerades as a blog post. It notes that TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington "will be personally investing in the token sale," although Arrington told me last night that he has made no such decision.

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Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 32,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 32,000 people around the world — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths, per data from Johns Hopkins.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections, with more than 125,000 by noon on Sunday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. surpassed on Saturday evening.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 685,623 — Total deaths: 32,137 — Total recoveries: 145,706.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 125,313 — Total deaths: 2,197 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week.
  6. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

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Polowczyk speaks at a coronavirus briefing at the White House, March 23. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

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