When fundraising in 2019, the founder of crypto venture VirtualStax told potential investors his company would bring in $97 billion in revenue in three years. But its tokens and its celebrity endorsers’ digital trading cards have yet to launch.
Like many crypto companies, VirtualStax had a surefire way to generate hype: a roster of celebrities willing to tout its blockchain-based digital trading cards. NFL Superbowl champion Patrick Mahomes, former American Idol judge Randy Jackson, Orlando Magic NBA player Wendell Carter Jnr. — they all endorsed VirtualStax’s cards to their fans. “What I love most about Stax, is that it’s a people-for-people movement,” Mahomes enthused in one video posted to VirtualStax’s YouTube.
VirtualStax executives have claimed the project is valued at $15 billion, and found a captive audience among niche groups including megachurch leaders who have poured money into the venture. In February, CEO and founder Rudolf Markgraaff said he is in talks to raise $70 million to fund a “technological revolution that generates income from the most powerful source of renewable energy in the world: Passionate people and their dreams!”
But that heady valuation is one of several statements made by the company that don’t seem to add up. Markgraaff’s VirtualStax — part of a coterie of companies he runs, including a platform to list the trading cards called TheXchange and another that issues TurnCoin, the token that powers VirtualStax — has not publicly disclosed any notable institutional investors.
The launch of its digital trading card site in October followed years of delays. And the company’s TurnCoin tokens, which it insists are each worth about $15 — “based on the net present value of future cash (yield) projected to be generated by the VirtualStaX ecosystem” — have never been listed on any major exchange.
Some financials are baffling. According to an internal document seen by Forbes and shared with potential investors in 2019, Stax estimated that it would sign more than 8 million athletes and generate $97 billion in revenue in its first three years — a figure that would ostensibly make it the most successful company of all time (Amazon, by comparison, took 22 years to reach $100 billion in annual sales.)