Former Conservative Party chairman quits crypto startup over secret pay deal

Grant Shapps MP has quit two roles, after it was revealed that he hadn’t declared potential earnings to Parliament…

Grant Shapps MP, the former chairman of the Conservative Party in the UK, has stood down from his role on the board of OpenBrix following the revelation that he was set to be secretly paid for his role.

OpenBrix is a cryptocurrency start-up, that uses blockchain technology to allow owners of real estate to trade properties. It’s scheduling its ICO for the end of the year, and Shapps had been on the advisory board for the firm, a role for which he claimed in his public filings that he was not being paid for.

It turns out, though, that he was. After some digging by the Financial Times, it was discovered that Shapps was set to be remunerated in cryptocurrency tokens for his work, something that the MP had not declared, contrary to strict Parliamentary rules.

Shapps quickly resigned from his position at OpenBrix. Furthermore, he has also quit his role as co-chair of the Parliamentary blockchain group as well. Shapps was co-founder of said group.

Shapps had received no pay for his work to this point, it seems, but OpenBrix had allocated around £2.8m worth of BRIX tokens to be split between him and four other advisors, upon successful completion of the ICO.

Shapps’ name, however, was not to be found on the OpenBrix website at the time of writing. It seems his departure was swift.

Shapps is the MP for Welwyn Hatfield, an office he’s held since 2005. His past has not been without controversy. He previously penned a guide – under the pseudonym Michael Green – called Stinking Rich 3, in which he boasted of owning two planes, and aimed to make customers wealthy. For a while, it appears he denied the Michael Green pseudonym, although a picture has surfaced with him wearing the name on a name badge.

Shapps, it seems he has no further involvement with OpenBrix, and details on its service and upcoming ICO can be found here.

Image: Chris McAndrew/CC