By Lydia Moynihan
The Minnesota native believes the world needs a 24-hour network exclusively devoted to covering cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and Web3
Phil Falcone is angling to profit from TV coverage of crypto assets -- an oddball bid to reverse a decade-long slide from being a billionaire to pleading that he's broke.
The fallen hedge fund star -- who amassed a $2 billion fortune from shorting the housing market before squandering the riches over the past 10 years -- is actively pitching investors on something called Blockchain.TV, The Post has learned.
The Harvard-educated moneyman has been forced to sell everything from the fancy furnishings at his Upper East Side townhouse to artwork and even his Hamptons estate in recent years to pay off his roughly $100 million debt.
Falcone, 59, is being sued by New York State for $12 million in back taxes and told the judge -- while representing himself -- that he was so strapped for cash he couldn't pay for his mortgages, his daughters' tuition or even an attorney. He also owes Melody Business Finance $74 million after the company lent him money to buy properties.
For his latest gamble, Falcone enlisted Charlie Walk, the former music executive who was ousted from his perch at Republic Records in 2018, with helping him pitch the idea and bring in investors since January, people with direct knowledge say.
However, he has yet to raise the necessary funds to actually launch the platform. He's been vague on the details of how much he is looking to raise and how much he has raised, sources told The Post.
In a comment to The Post, Falcone said there was a "quiet period" and he was not able to discuss the crypto network. Typically, a quiet period happens before a company goes public -- but Falcone said there was no plan for the company to go public.
When The Post reached out to Walk for comment, he merely asked "Can we help you?" before going dark.
According to people familiar with Falcone's pitch, the Minnesota native believes the world needs a 24-hour network exclusively devoted to covering cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and Web3 -- and he wants to be the one to make it happen.
The nascent network's website is scant on details. The only description of the service says it is "Dedicated to the digital space, Blockchain.TV is launching in the third quarter of 2022, bringing breaking news, entertainment, and trending digital activity about Crypto, Web3, and the Metaverse."
Of course, given cryptocurrencies have cratered as Bitcoin plummets to less than $30,000 from an all-time high of more than $68,000 -- the network may be an even tougher sell at the moment.
His push for Blockchain.TV dovetails with another venture he started in 2020 when he quietly began buying up broadcast stations under the name Madison Technologies, which was rebranded to Go.TV last year.
Through Go.TV, he snapped up several "low-power" broadcasting channels -- which have a smaller radius than "full-power stations" but can send signals over-the-air to target the growing number of cord-cutters. Falcone owns channels in LA, Seattle, and Houston, reports say.
Go.TV, which describes itself as the "first Mobile Over-the-Air Free TV Network" on its website, doesn't explain exactly what that means or when it will launch.
However, people with knowledge say Falcone's acquisition of TV stations could play into Blockchain.TV -- so users could watch crypto coverage online and on traditional cable channels as well.
Just last month The Post reported the former hedge fund manager was selling not just his real estate, but his furniture in order to scrounge together enough money to stay afloat.
He is suing private equity giant Apollo (APO) for $2 billion, claiming the firm defrauded him by getting him to invest in now-defunct telecommunications company LightSquared, Inc.
Falcone and his wife former actress Lisa Marie have two twin 16 year old daughters. The family still lives in Manhattan although The Post could not determine where their current residence is.
Over the years, Lisa Marie has made headlines for using the n-word and getting arrested for drunk driving.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 18, 2022 06:54 ET (10:54 GMT)
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