Facts and misconceptions about Julian Hosp & TenX
Important EDIT 2022: My Ex-Partner Toby Hönisch, who kicked me out of TenX in 2019, ran the company into the ground, and then took off with the money, also seems to be the culprit behind the Ethereum DAO Hack: https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2022/02/22/exclusive-austrian-programmer-and-ex-crypto-ceo-likely-stole-11-billion-of-ether/
The three most important points in advance:
- I verifiably did NOT leave the company voluntarily — I was forced out by my ex-partners, Toby Hönisch and Paul Kitti.
- I verifiably did NOT conduct an Insider Token Dump, as some had initially claimed, which was further propagated by the media.
- I verifiably had NOT and have NOT received any ICO funds.
Oddly enough, some in the industry still associate my name and face with the company TenX, despite the fact that I have no connection with it anymore, and haven’t done in a long time. With this blog post, I don’t just want to end the chapter, I want to close the book on TenX once and for all. I want to share what really happened back then, offer up some clarity and perspective, and provide crystal-clear evidence for every claim that I make — which you can find at the end of this piece. I also did a video interview on the topic, which you can find embedded below, as well as a full transcript of it here: https://julianhosp.com/was-tenx-an-80-million-usd-scam/
What was your role at TenX, and why did you leave the company?
Many people think that I was only a marketing employee at TenX, while others believe that I was the sole owner. Both of these are incorrect. The truth is, in fact, that there were four co-founders at TenX. Three of us had a stake of between 20–25% each. The remaining 25% were investors and the fourth was a minority shareholder. Each of the co-founders had designated roles in the company. Mine was to oversee marketing and communications, while my other partners, Toby and Paul, handled the technology side.
Because of my role and position within the company, and as a result of opening multiple lines of communication, I became “the face of the company”, at least from an external perspective. I was an official spokesperson so would regularly take part in interviews, both on camera and in written format, I would speak at events and would also interact with the community very regularly. I think that’s also part of the reason why I’m still often criticized today, even for actions the firm took long after I left in January 2019. It’s important that I make the distinction here, that I didn’t leave the company voluntarily back then; I was essentially kicked out by my two co-founders.
Why were you kicked out of the company?
EDIT 2022: It seems I was kicked out as Toby Hönisch may have needed the ICO funds to launder the money from his DAO hack, as described here: https://forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2022/02/22/exclusive-austrian-programmer-and-ex-crypto-ceo-likely-stole-11-billion-of-ether/
My honest answer from back in 2019: I don’t exactly know why. I was never given a specific reason, so I can only tell you what I think: In 2018, the company had reached a new peak. After losing our card license due to new regulation in earlier in the year, we’d managed to get it back and had customers across APAC using the service. The company was also recording strong revenue, and we still had over $80 million in the bank from the ICO in 2017, which we communicated quarterly in all of our transparency reports. The crypto market was also slowly starting to recover from the 2018 crash. Objectively, everything looked very optimistic.
Then, over Christmas, I’d left Singapore to spend the festive season with family in Innsbruck. When I returned at the beginning of January, on my first day back in the office — I still remember quite clearly — I was called into a “strategy meeting”. During the meeting, which was under false pretences, my ex-partners made it clear that they didn’t want me in the company anymore, and that I couldn’t do anything against their two-thirds majority in this decision. I was taken by complete surprise. Looking back, I think I was in shock more than anything else, as this came out of the blue.
Though, now that I can really reflect back on that time, I think the real reason that they asked me to leave was more for emotional reasons than rational or valid business ones. I would imagine that jealousy was involved also, at least to some degree. See, as “the face of the company” I had built up a large number of followers, especially in German-speaking markets. So ultimately, as the company thrived, so did my professional profile. I think my ex-partners probably thought they could do my role and enhance their profiles. But common sense dictates that things don’t work that way. In the same way, I don’t think I’d be as competent in being able to code as they were.
The thing is however (and possibly to their dismay), in I’m still in the public space and still communicating with the community. Since then, I’ve gone on to build a successful company with Cake DeFi and a successful blockchain community with DeFiChain, and my ex-partners have completely disappeared — I wonder why?!
What happened to the $80 million USD from the ICO?
Of course, I can only speak for the time while I was still with the company — that is, until the end of 2018 (or formally, the beginning of 2019). At that time, we still had the $80 million in the company account, which was also evident in our quarterly transparency reports. After I was kicked out, TenX stopped doing those — why? I don’t know.
Before I was kicked out, I continued to offer to reverse the ICO. But no one took that offer, because the token (at the time) was performing better than the ICO price, which was paid in Ethereum. So where is the $80 million today? I don’t know. You’d need to ask Toby Hönisch and Paul Kitti, what they did with the money. Since the money was still fully in the bank until I was kicked out, and I haven’t had access to any company accounts since, only my ex-partners can answer that question. The company itself has also confirmed that I did not receive any ICO funds: https://tenx.tech/blog/tenx-company-restructuring
And the accusation that I conducted any form of insider trading is also verifiably false (after all, I didn’t even know I was going to be kicked out): https://medium.com/@julianhosp/clarification-on-false-insider-trading-accusations-d01daeb6f345
Why didn’t you communicate all this earlier?
I believe that I didn’t handle the situation very well. It became a very personal issue for me, having spent such a long time cultivating and growing the company, and I ended up sinking into my shell. For that, I am truly sorry and can only apologize for not proactively communicating my situation with the community. I felt like I had just let everyone down; I was ashamed and just wanted it to be over. I felt helpless.
Looking back, I should have fought. I should have immediately opened the laptop, started a YouTube livestream and told the community what had just happened. But I was too emotional, too scared, confused and insecure at the time. I’m really sorry, and I wish I could do something about it. But unfortunately, I can’t do that anymore. The only thing I can do is to once and for all, set the record straight.
Time heals all wounds
I would like to say a few final words for all those who may be in a similar situation as I was back then — and to personally bring closure to this past. If there is one thing I could say to my younger self, it would be:
Time heals all wounds.
In the days and weeks after I was kicked out, I felt helpless. I was in complete despair. I didn’t know where to go or what to do next, I felt like I had just let everyone down. I was embarrassed to show my face in public anymore, and I lost what was more than just a job to me at the time; it was all I lived and breathed. I am forever grateful for my wonderful wife Bettina, who was my rock and greatest support during this difficult time.
Looking back on the two years since I was kicked out, I have — together with a great team and a fantastic community — achieved more than I could have ever imagined. Together with my business partner U-Zyn, we now run Cake DeFi, one of the largest crypto services companies for lending, staking and other ways to generate returns from cryptocurrencies. And with DeFiChain, we’ve launched a successful public blockchain project that has already reached over a billion in market capitalization and, more importantly, is supported by a great community that is developing on the blockchain themselves, further advancing the future of Decentralized Finance.
So in the meantime, I have far outgrown my time at TenX and would really like to wrap things up with this article. I can back up all the claims I’ve made with facts, figures and data, and you’ll find the relevant resources below.
And if you are currently in a similar phase in your life as I was back then, always remember: Time heals all wounds.