In 2016, Russian diamond company World of Diamonds made waves when it announced it would be offering what it hailed as the "world's most expensive dinner."
With a price tag of $2 million, the dinner, to be held in Singapore, includes an 18-course meal prepared by a Michelin-starred chef, 10,000 roses, gold-plated and diamond-encrusted $17,000 chopsticks and, to top it all off, a massive personal fireworks show that ends with the presentation of a 2.08 carat blue diamond ring endorsed by actress and jewelry designer Jane Seymour.
Then in 2017, a cryptocurrency fund manager who purchased the whole thing, Ville Oehman, owner of V Diamonds, partnered with World of Diamonds to raffle off the dinner experience (sans diamond ring) to the masses using cryptocurrency. V Diamonds planned to issue one million tokens that started at $2 each via an ICO (initial coin offering), with each one constituting a one-millionth ownership stake in the blue diamond bling. A winner would be selected from the group token-holders. That meant anyone could have a chance to win the dinner experience for as little as $2.
In a pre-sale, thousands of people paid for tokens in hopes they would be selected as the lucky winner of the lavish dinner.
But now, both companies are cancelling the partnership after V Diamonds aborted plans to move forward with the diamond-backed ICO, leaving the company with more than 1,000 investors dealing with refunds.
"The token sale planned by V Diamonds is cancelled, and all the pre-subscriptions to the token sale will be refunded back to the participants," the companies said in a joint statement issued Tuesday. Oehman did not provide a reason as to why the ICO was abandoned, but reiterated that all participants would receive a refund.
In total, pre-sale participants span at least 61 countries — including Singapore, Britain and the U.S., according to a record of transactions secured by the Associated Press.
Karan Tilani, Director of the World of Diamonds Group, confirmed to CNBC Make It that the company now plans to sell the dinner and diamond ring as it was originally conceived, at the original price of $2 million.
In a phone call, Tilani defended Oehman's idea. "So far communication hasn't been the best ... but that's business right? Sometimes things don't work out," he said, adding that a friend of his who had participated in the pre-sale had already received a $45,000 refund from Oehman's company for his prior purchase of 15,000 tokens.
While V Diamonds has scrapped the ICO plans, Tilani says World of Diamonds would still accept bitcoin as a form of payment if a buyer elected to pay the $2 million for the ring, dinner and the extravagance that comes with it — including a three-night all expenses paid trip for two to Singapore, chauffeured Rolls-Royce transportation and a three-hour sunset cruise before the meal is served at 30,000 feet in a private jet.
The Russian diamond company now says a $500,000 portion of the sale will be redirected to benefit a Danish humanitarian organization that focuses on helping orphaned children in Nigeria.
Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that World of Diamonds was not directly involved in plans to distribute the dinner package through an initial coin offering.
—Video by Zack Guzman
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