Former Conservative Chair, Grant Shapps, resigned from his posts as chair of governance with OpenBrix, a blockchain-powered decentralised property portal and co-chair of UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in the wake of a controversy. He was also the co-founder of the latter entity. Media houses had suggested that he’d been party to unscrupulous pay deals for being an advisor to a blockchain start-up. According to reports by FT Alphaville, he was due to get crypto tokens worth several hundred thousand pounds before OpenBrix opened its ICO, despite having declared this connection as being “unpaid” in the parliamentary register.
FT interviewed OpenBrix CEO, Shahzad Choudhury, who stated that Shapps was party to a consultancy contract with them and was to receive 8 million BRIX tokens, worth roughly £2.8 Million at present rates. Choudhury is a part of British exports credit agency’s civil service and spoke at the first APPG meeting as a keynote speaker. The report indicates that nexus between politics and business and this web is shown to have been strongly interconnected, with an OpenBrix co-founder being appointed as an advisor to Blockchain APPG. With such an overlap across the various sections of these groups, it is understandable why the media finds it easy to suspect dubious deals.
Shapps himself has responded to these allegations by claiming that he had been directed by the registrar to declare this role as ‘unpaid’ since the gain would be due for registration only when received. Meanwhile, with increased public attention towards the issue, the OpenBrix board has reviewed the deal to make it amount to fewer tokens distributed differently. Even so, Shapps would be due to receive approximately £170000 pounds. Shapps, a noted blockchain advocate and enthusiast, had earlier claimed to have been mining Ethereum sitting in his garage. A fellow Tory legislator and crypto enthusiast, Matt Hancock had also expressed hopes regarding blockchain’s potential to transform several sectors earlier this year.
Reportedly, Shahad Choudhury has said in his close quarters that the allegations raised against Shapps were what had driven him to resign from his designations, rather than any reality of unscrupulousness in this entire issue. He is rather amused by how the whole incident has blown up and critical of FT Alphaville’s role in the process.