Embattled Crypto Platform Freeway’s ‘Billion-Dollar Man’ Isn’t the Insurance Titan He Claims to Be
Embattled crypto staking platform Freeway appears to have a problem beyond just being forced to freeze withdrawals and its nearly worthless FWT token. Its bridge to traditional finance – Joel Krueger, which the company touted as its “billion-dollar man” – isn’t the investment executive he claims.
Krueger’s LinkedIn page as well as communications from Freeway itself assert that he – in addition to his chief investment adviser role with Freeway – has a senior job at Aon, a British insurance company with $4.1 trillion in assets under advisement as of June 30.
Aon says that’s not true.
At the top of Krueger’s LinkedIn page as of Monday, Krueger said he was “Global Chief Investment Officer” of Aon. Lower down, it said he started working as Aon’s “Global CIO – Insurance” in June 2017, and still had the job. (The page has since been updated to say that role ended in August 2022.)
A November 2020 tweet from Freeway called him “CIO of Aon.” A February 2022 post on Freeway’s blog referred to him as “Global Chief Investment Officer for Insurance for Aon PLC.” Freeway, which promised up to a 43% return on investments through products it calls Superchargers, referred to Krueger as its “billion-dollar man” in tweets promoting his relationship with the company.
When contacted by CoinDesk, Aon denied that Krueger was ever employed by the company.
“Joel doesn’t work for Aon, and didn’t – he was a consultant for a period,” according to a spokesperson, Tom Blackwell of FTI Consulting. Asked if it’s inaccurate that Krueger’s title at Aon was “Global Chief Investment Officer,” the spokesperson replied: “Correct.”
There are uncertainties about Krueger’s tenure at Prudential, too. On his LinkedIn, he said he was Prudential’s Regional Investment Officer for the firm’s Asia business.
Freeway, however, has called him Prudential’s Chief Investment Officer.
A spokesperson for Prudential said that the company couldn't comment on the matter of Krueger's title and employment with the company.
In an emailed statement, Krueger said his work with Freeway has been entirely separate from “any other organizations with which I am or was associated, and I have not promoted Freeway to anyone in my professional network.”
Krueger explained that his role with Freeway involves developing products only for use in regulated environments.
“I have not been associated with unregulated products, such as Superchargers and I have not provided any oversight to Freeway’s trading activities,” he said.
Sadie Hutton and Graham Doggart, who are listed as co-CEOs of Freeway, did not respond to emails requesting comment.
Since Freeway froze its business, videos starring Krueger or other Freeway personnel have been made private on YouTube.
Shades of 2017’s ICO Bubble
There are echoes here of past controversies in cryptocurrencies. During the peak of the initial coin offering (ICO) bubble of 2017, the industry was rife with misrepresentations about the advisory boards behind projects.
Celebrities often found their likeness inserted as an adviser.
In one case, the ICO MIROSKII used an image of Ryan Gosling to represent its graphic designer “Kevin Belanger.” Other times ICOs would troll LinkedIn for headshots and insert less-recognizable professionals into their advisory slots.
What’s next for Freeway?
Freeway maintains that the pause in withdrawals is only temporary, though it hasn’t said when customers might be able to get their money.
“While this process is ongoing, Freeway will be allocating capital to its underlying portfolio, and this means for a temporary time we will not be buying Supercharger simulations until our new strategies are implemented,” the team wrote in a recent update.
Krueger, for his part, told CoinDesk that he remains involved with Freeway “in my current capacity.”