Who is Brock Pierce? Blockchain Capital, EOS, & the John Oliver Takedown
Brock Pierce is one of the wealthiest people in crypto, with an estimated net worth of over $1 billion. He made his money as an investor and entrepreneur in the space over the past five years. Prior to his involvement in the crypto community, Pierce was a co-founder of a failed startup during the dot-com bubble. Before that, he was a child actor.
The Brock Pierce story is eccentric and weird, as many stories in crypto are. Recently, Pierce’s past has come under heavy scrutiny after John Oliver encouraged the viewers of Last Week Tonight to Google “Brock Pierce Scandal.” We’ll take a look at all that and more in this brief guide to billionaire Brock Pierce.
Child Acting Career & DEN
Children of the 1990s will immediately find Brock Pierce’s face vaguely familiar. He still resembles his 12-year-old self that starred in Disney’s Mighty Ducks franchise of films. Pierce also landed the lead role in the movie First Kid alongside Sinbad. Already, Pierce’s story is off to a strange, unique start.
Throughout the 90s, Pierce played supporting roles in several other films as well. He left show business at the age of 17 to become a co-founder of a startup called the Digital Entertainment Network. DEN raised $88 million in the dot-com bubble, and by age eighteen Pierce was making $250,000/year. However, the company was never profitable and soon collapsed.
Blockchain Capital & Investing
After DEN, Brock Pierce dropped off the map for a while. He laid low, lived off savings from acting and DEN, and took on a few entrepreneurial/consulting/investing opportunities. He reappears on the radar in 2013 when he helped create Blockchain Capital.
As an early investor in the space, Pierce participated in funding some of the key projects in the ecosystem today. Pierce was one of the largest contributors to the Ethereum ICO. He supported the early days of Coinbase. More recently, he invested in Tether and Bitfury. Those are just the highlights. Blockchain Capital (and Pierce) have been involved in many of the major ICOs and pre-seed/seed ventures in crypto.
If you know anything about those projects, you’ll realize that’s where Pierce became a billionaire. During the Ethereum presale, for instance, 1 ETH was around $0.30 USD. Today, that same ETH is worth more than $700, representing a 23,000% return on investment. Pierce left Blockchain Capital in 2017.
Pierce has used his fortune to buy a nice place in Puerto Rico where he lives without having to pay income taxes.
Chairman of Bitcoin Foundation
In 2015, Pierce was elected Chairman of the struggling Bitcoin Foundation. Around the same time, rumors and leaked information from the Foundation indicated that it had run out of money. They laid off much of their staff and no longer had the funds to pay Bitcoin Core devs that had previously worked for the Foundation.
That decline is still affecting the Foundation, and its fall from grace shows the long term impacts of mismanagement on the community. Pierce’s ascension to Chairman of the Board was dramatic and controversial. While the organization has struggled to regain its previous stature under Pierce’s Chairmanship, it does seem to have stopped or slowed the bleeding for now.
Block.one & EOS
In 2017, Blockchain Capital announced a token sale for a new, scalable dapp platform. Eventually, that offering was restructured under a new entity: Block.one. The new token and platform was to be called EOS.
The EOS crowdsale went on to be the biggest ICO of 2017, the year of ICOs. Block.one raised over $700 million in 2017 off its token generating events for EOS. Brock Pierce was listed as one of the co-founders and even took on the role of Chief Strategy Officer as the company and funding grew.
However, shortly after an airing of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight in March 2018 called Pierce’s history into question, Block.one and EOS released a blog post stating that the company and Pierce had mutually agreed to part ways. Pierce is no longer listed on EOS materials, including being edited out of past marketing videos.
John Oliver & Scandal
So what happened that prompted this fall from grace?
John Oliver’s brief mention of Pierce alluded to allegations that Pierce was involved in an underage sex scandal while working at DEN. Oliver simply encouraged his viewers to Google “Brock Pierce scandal” to avoid liability for the reporting, but online outlets are not so coy.
The story in the final days of DEN is the most wild part of the Brock Pierce saga. He and his co-founders literally fled the country when their company started to go under. Around the same time, allegations started to arise from former employees under the age of eighteen that some of the founders had improperly propositioned them. Pierce and his co-founders were arrested in Spain and brought back to the U.S. for trial.
Eventually, the charges against Pierce in two cases were dropped. He also settled a civil suit for $26,000. However, one of Pierce’s partners from DEN, John Collins-Rector was convicted on multiple counts of child enticement.
The sketchy nature of fleeing the country and settling the lawsuits around sexual misconduct has made for tension in Pierce’s career. His departure from EOS is the largest example of this, but it also caused several board members to leave the Bitcoin Foundation when Pierce was named Chairman.
Pierce currently still serves as the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation. While his role at Block.one, EOS, and Blockchain Capital have ended, he’s still an active investor in the space. He throws big parties and dinners at his home in Puerto Rico for the crypto literati, and his influence in the space is still significant. Whatever you think of the scandal surrounding him, his qualifications, his leadership, or his eccentric personality, there’s no denying he’s an influential and eccentric billionaire playing a major role in the crypto ecosystem.
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