Republic #Crypto Denies Buying 10M ASTRA Tokens, Says Astra Gave Tokens to It as Part of a ‘Free Trial’
CORRECT (March 9, 2023, 19:20 UTC): Revises entire story to reflect the fact that Republic says Astra Protocol’s statement, which CoinDesk based a March 7 story on, was inaccurate and contained an unauthorized quote from a Republic executive.
Investment firm Republic Crypto has denied purchasing 10 million of Astra Protocol’s native tokens, asserting that – contrary to a statement this week from Astra – Republic was simply given pre-loaded wallets containing ASTRA in order to test whether the compliance platform would be suitable for its ecosystem.
Republic said it doesn’t know how many tokens it was given as Republic wasn’t involved with the pre-loaded wallets.
CoinDesk, citing a press release from Astra Protocol, reported on March 7 that Republic purchased the tokens. A Republic spokesperson subsequently said the firm had viewed and objected to the details in the draft press release, which was sent out regardless, and said the release contained an unauthorized quote from Republic crypto head Andrew Durgee, which Durgee didn’t draft.
«Republic is not paying for these tokens and is not distributing the tokens. ASTRA is responsible for the financial and administration considerations involved in this free trial,» Durgee told CoinDesk in a March 9 Telegram message.
«Republic as a whole is exploring the feasibility of using Astra Protocol for KYC with no commitments to engage. Republic is beginning to introduce Astra to issuers (companies who raise through Republic) who would allow those issuers to try their protocol for KYC purposes,» he added in the conversation with a CoinDesk journalist. «As you need ASTRA to use Astra Protocol, issuers would receive pre-loaded wallets that would allow them to test drive the protocol.»
«Republic is not paying for these tokens and is not distributing the tokens. Republic is also not setting aside tokens for compliance purposes. Astra is responsible for the financial and administration considerations involved in this free trial,” he continued. «A fund of Republic Capital, Republic’s VC arm, invested in Astra Protocol in 2021. This was the most recent token transaction. No further investment deals in Astra have taken place since that time.» Republic participated in a $9 million Astra funding round that was announced in March 2022.
Switzerland-based decentralized platform Astra Protocol offers know-your-customer (KYC), know-your-business (KYB) and anti-money laundering (AML) solutions. The native ASTRA token is required to utilize the platform.
CoinDesk reached out to Astra before publishing Republic’s repudiation, but has not received a response by publication time.