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1  Economy / Collectibles / Re: Alitin Mint Coin Breach on: March 08, 2017, 01:48:12 AM
We are going to be working with coin owners on a case basis.  Please contact me at raforsyth@alitin.com to begin the process. We will need to verify that you are the rightful owner, that the case is not compromised, and that we're not refunding a duplicate request.  We're borrowing the money to refund, so timeline on this somewhat depends on how fast we can acquire the funds, but we're going to try to do it fast.  Please refer to AlitinMint.com for more updates from now on, and please contact us if you think you might be the victim of a theft.  We are going to try to get everyone their BTC back.  
2  Economy / Collectibles / Re: Alitin Mint Coin Breach on: March 07, 2017, 07:01:20 PM
Who all had access and/or exposure to the private keys?

You, your brother, and who else?

We (My brother and I) are the only ones who had authorized access. There were very few people who had access to our facilities, but we had robust security measures.  The theft is breathtaking to us because we still can't figure out how they did it under our noses and left no trace (until the theft).  

My current theory was that it was a theft while we were in the milling process of producing the actual coins themselves.  If it was not an insider who did this (and thus a close friend or relative), then it was someone who knew an insider and got the information from them.  We can't truly be sure who spoke of what and to whom within the very limited circle of insiders, and what those secondary individuals might have told others.

I will be turning over the names and contact info of all individuals I know who had any access to the premises at any time  during our milling process to the FBI, or any other investigative authority that is appropriate.  Placing their names and contact info online for public consumption is another matter.  I am very concerned about innocent people being threatened, and some people are angry enough that I am worried innocent people will get personal threats and harassment they don't deserve. I'm also concerned about adding a libel or breach of privacy suit to the great list of challenges we are facing right now.  That could certainly slow down our efforts to get refunds back to aggrieved parties as soon as possible. We have no wish to be obtuse about anything. And our hesitancy to provide information in some cases is only out of a sense of caution for unintended consequences, and not to avoid or be obtuse to anyone.   We will turn over all names: family, friends, associates, ancillary contacts, and all identifying information to the authorities and we will let them to do their work in a confidential manner.  

Again, the FBI has been informed by me personally, and I am working with them to discover what happened and bring justice to all of our friends and family who have been victimized.   We will do everything we can do bring the perpetrators to justice and to restore our customers to a state as close to whole as possible.  
3  Economy / Collectibles / Re: Alitin Mint Coin Breach on: March 07, 2017, 06:41:34 PM
Thank you for attempting to quickly get in front of this issue.  Please keep us updated as you find out more information. 

Thank you sir.  I take this all so personally and I am totally on the side of anyone who is angry about this.  I would be too.  But any kindness at this point means so much to me.  I will never forget it.  Please know I mean it when I say I will do whatever is in my power to fix this.  My honor, my reputation, and my friends, my family and dependents mean more to me than my life a thousand times over.  I've met many of you personally and I have been so proud and touched by how kind everyone has been to me in the past. 

All anger is FULLY justified, and any kindness is like the love of God and a lifeline to me at this point.  But I realize I could never ask for or deserve your anyone's kindness who has been wronged.  I can't change what has been done. But I can do my best to fix as much as I can, whatever it takes.  I'm struggling to keep my focus through the lack of sleep and food, through the extreme anxiety, and the increasing mental fogginess.  I apologize if at any time I make mistakes, get confused, mix up any information, or seem to just be generally "out of it."  I am not going anywhere and I will do anything to fix this and take care of all of you and my dependents, even if it leads to my personal ruin. 
4  Economy / Collectibles / Re: Alitin Mint Coin Breach on: March 07, 2017, 05:36:19 PM
Richard Forsyth here.

I am sorry for not posting as often as I should.  I keep having issues logging in.  I want to keep up with everyone, and I want you to know we are doing our best to fix everything.  

Yes, we WILL restore stolen Bitcoins.

At this point, we're going to have to borrow the money, but we're working as fast as we can.  Our goal is to do it as fast as possible.  We need anyone who has been robbed to contact us and provide us a picture of their unbroken coin casing, if they haven't already. Thank you to those who have done this promptly.  This will be very helpful.  Our process will be to verify that there are no public address duplicates with applicants for refund, and to match up the public address with our sales records.  If you did not acquire your coin from us directly, please let us know from whom you bought it, if you can recall.  

As far as revealing technical details of the theft: we're still trying to figure out how it might have happened.  We can't release individual names for privacy reasons, and also because the FBI has been contacted and saying too much at this point might frustrate an official investigation.  We have not verified how many coins are stolen at this point.  This will take some time.  But as thefts are verified, we will be providing refunds as fast as we can.  

More about the authorities: I personally went to the FBI on Monday morning--the morning after I found out that some thefts occurred.  I have given them as much information as I could--what I knew at the time, along with what little I suspected--along with my contact information; and I am at their beck-and-call in this process.  Meanwhile, I am answering emails as best I can while trying to coordinate the refund effort.

We have also re-launched our site at AlitinMint.com.  

My contact info is there, and I URGE ANYONE who thinks they've been the victim of a theft to contact my email at raforsyth@alitin.com and I will try to coordinate your refund as fast as I can. I will also do my best to answer your questions and ... provide a punching bag if it will help in any way.

If you have any concerns about my personal complicity, I also urge you to email me and stay in contact with me. I'm not going anywhere until this is fixed.  Unless of course I am sent to jail for a theft that I did not commit.  That would only frustrate my efforts to undo as much damage as I can, and it would leave the real thief at large.  

For those who are still considering contacting "authorities": Please feel free to do so.  It's really not a bad idea, and it might even help.  If you do contact authorities, be sure to mention that I have been to the FBI and the process is already started.  I can assure you that I have more than enough motivation at this point to make everything right. Give them my name, my email, and I will talk to them and work with them.

I am personally very hurt over so many family and friends being robbed. I'm angry that anyone has been robbed who was under my protection. I don't expect any personal sympathy, and I reiterate that your anger is entirely justified.  

Contact me at raforsyth@alitin.com if you have not already, if you think you are the victim of a theft having to do with Alitin Mint, or to just get a feel for me to increase your confidence that I am telling the truth and doing my best.  Right now I am fielding dozens of emails and calls per hour, and I may at times be on the phone or at the offices of the FBI answering questions or assisting with investigative efforts; and If contact increases quite a bit, I might be hard-pressed to respond quickly at certain times.  But these days, I'm sacrificing sleep so I I will put as much time in to it as I am physically able.  I'm barely eating, and honestly I am shaking constantly because of how hurt and angry I am that we were all robbed.  My short-term and some mid-term memory are a little groggy at times too.  I guess stress can do that.   So if you communicate with me and I seem a little "out of it," that's why.  


5  Economy / Collectibles / Alitin Mint Coin Breach on: March 06, 2017, 04:51:23 PM
My name is Richard Forsyth and I am one of the founders of Alitin Mint. 

I am very sorry to those of you who have had your coins compromised. 


So far, we have received very few reports and we believe that the breach was quite limited, but we urge any of our customers to contact us so that we can work with you on an individual basis to resolve the matter to your satisfaction as soon as possible.  You may reach me at raforsyth@alitin.com, and I will try to get back with you as soon as I can.

I contacted authorities (FBI) first thing this morning and we are cooperating as best we can--we are laying out our pockets, so to speak, and inviting a vigorous investigation in to myself and my brother/partner as soon as possible so we can clear our names and get to work helping anyone who has been cheated to receive whatever recovery we can restore, and to also bring the perpetrators to full justice.  An official report has been filed with the FBI and I am at their disposal, 24/7, in any investigation which may (likely) occur. 

We will also be re-launching our site at AlitinMint.com soon so that anyone who has any concerns can contact us and work with us to resolve the issue as best we can, with an emphasis on full customer satisfaction.  I invite any investigation in to myself or my partner because I know we have nothing to hide and we're eager to earn any kind of trust back in the Bitcoin community, though we are likely out of the physical Bitcoin business for good at this point. It's not easy to come back from such a devastating blow.  Our reputation is dear to us, and we have both dedicated our lives to ethical and generous principles; and we care deeply about our private and business relations.  We're horrified if we have hurt anyone in anyway.  We'll do anything in our power to make it right.

Alitin Mint has been out of business for about 2 years now.  We just didn't sell enough coins and the regulatory environment became more complicated and expensive than we anticipated. Our original plan was to offer high grade numismatic coins with Bitcoin codes attached in order to offer a secure product that at least partially bridged the gap between the less risk averse and tech savvy on one hand, and those who were interested in Bitcoin but balked at buying something entirely virtual--we thought it might help skeptics get in to Bitcoin by offering them something tangible for their purchases; something physical to hold on to, but an entry in to the Bitcoin market.  We started out at the $80 BTC price, but things ballooned way out of control in BTC pricing and this blasted our sales apart because our products were just too expensive too soon for most interested customers.  Plus, compliance became so expensive and time consuming that our business just naturally became insolvent.

We spent years as advocates of cryptocurrency and I myself was a regular on the national speaking circuit as a compliance expert in finance and crypto to banking associations with FIBA and CSMB out of Miami. For a time, I was quite well known as a crypto expert to bankers around the world.  I also worked as a consultant and educator on the subject for several years.  As you can imagine, it would be devastating for someone in my position to be the subject of even one small breach of security of any type or level, because I only aim for perfection in my work. There's really no room for mistakes in what we do, but we are reasonably sure we were burned by an insider to our organization.  This might indicate a somewhat greater tendency towards trust with our people than was warranted and, if that was indeed our mistake, we apologize profusely.  We truly thought we were being paranoid with even the people we trusted, but again, apparently no security system is 100% full-proof. 

We did once have offices but we have since sold them and we've mostly gone our separate ways, but those involved in the company mostly stay in contact.  My personal phone number has since changed as well, but neither our phone or address changes have been in an effort to hide or avoid anyone.  We intend to make good on our promises and to do our best to satisfy anyone who has been aggrieved.  And we will get the bottom of what happened and resolve it. 

I personally understand what it is like to be robbed.  It's infuriating, and I COMPLETELY understand and fully accept the anger.  I urge you to contact me at raforsyth@alitin.com if you think you have had coins stolen from you, and I also hope you will contact me if you have other questions or concerns.

Please feel free to vent at me personally.  Call me names, threaten me, whatever you need to do--you will find me completely contrite and eager to help in any way I can.  I will apologize personally to anyone who is aggrieved in this issue and ask for patience and mercy.  I have personally never been at a lower point in my life, even if it turns out to be only a few coins that were compromised, because again, there was never any room for error here. 

At this time, we're still not entirely sure what happened but we have some running theories and we hope to resolve any investigation that we anticipate will begin shortly.  Again, we urge you to contact us so that we can get as much information as possible for the authorities to work with.  I will monitor my email account to be prompt to your questions and request; and again, if you just want to rant at me.  I considered many of those I met to be wonderful people and hoped for a chance to meet at future conferences to strike up long-lasting friendships.  I've been so impressed by the kindness, the energy, and the intelligence of the Bitcoin community.  I admire so many of you.  I am still a believer in the crypto concept and not just for personal gain.  I still believe it will change the world for the better, and I still hope to be a part of that in some way, however limited.  And as a consequence, I am deeply wounded to be in a position where I have wounded or undermined trust with anyone. 

I met many of you personally in the sale of these coins and I was sincere in my promises and belief in our product.  I have never stolen anything in my life, but I am certainly guilty of personal mistakes from time to time.  I offer no exculpation other than my vigorous assertion that neither I nor my brother had anything willing to do with any security compromises of our products.  Our security was vigorous but nothing can be 100% secure.  Again, we are still intensely surprised and disappointed by this breathtaking news that even a few coins have been compromised. You will find on my part only a willingness to satisfy anyone who has been injured and to do my best to make things right. 

Thank you for any patience you are willing to extend to us in this issue, and please contact us if we can help you personally.

Sincerely,

Richard A Forsyth
Former CEO of Alitin Mint

 
6  Economy / Goods / Re: Press Release: New Physical Bitcoin Goes on Sale January 2 at AlitinMint.com on: January 02, 2014, 08:01:15 PM
We have made most of them, and in most cases they will ship faster than 6-8 weeks.  Many have already sold.  But assembly is slow and very meticulous.  As you can imagine, we have many security concerns, so there are very few people who get to handle these things and the process, by design and necessity, is extremely slow to produce a finished product.  And only one person ever sees the private keys before they are destroyed from our records--and that person is me.  I am the CEO and I engrave the coins myself.  I also do the ciphers and much of the packaging.  Tamper proofing cases like this is a challenge.  It's slow and tedious work.  But thorough.  We built in 6-8 weeks just in case we got big orders.  We would rather our customers be pleasantly surprised than disappointed.  

As to your fraud concerns; i.e., waiting to deliver them to see what the market does, or cancel the order: First of all, we are a licensed money transmitter and a registered MSB.  If we mess around like that, we get shut down pretty quick.  We'd rather have a successful business than play games. As a money transmitter, we are bonded with the government.  That means they have a lien on a huge pile of money that we fronted, and if we mess with you, they take it and probably throw us in jail.  Doing stuff like this is very challenging from a regulatory compliance point of view, and very expensive.  

This, by the way, also answers the question about markup.  In a business like this, you have to build some costs in to markup because it is VERY expensive to comply with the government's requirements.  This is also why we couldn't get these things out in 2013.  We had the coins done, but the government got in the way of our selling them legally.  But we do things by the books here at Alitin Mint, albeit resentfully at times in the case of government regulations.  And you will get your coins at the price you ordered them, whether or not, or how, the market fluctuates.  Try us.  

Another comment on cost: you're not buying an arcade token here.  Much respect to physical bitcoins that have come before us, but this is not like other physical bitcoins.  These coins are a limited edition set designed by a very prestigious sculptor, and they are pure silver.  They will last a lifetime or longer.  And unlike the arcade tokens, there are no corny stickers that deface the coin or decrease its aesthetic once redeemed.  Our public addresses and private keys are *engraved* on these coins.  Permanently.  Then they are sealed in a tamper proof case with many layers of security.  I could go on, and I did detail some of the advantages in my original post, but to summarize: these are just different.  Our site explains more.  www.alitinmint.com.  

And yes, we will work with reputable escrow, but we will do our own due diligence on any escrow services or escrow agents before we agree to it.  The "trust but verify" thing works both ways; we don't want to be cheated either. And we will charge a fee for escrow as well.  TBD on a case by case basis.  

7  Economy / Goods / Press Release: New Physical Bitcoin Goes on Sale January 2 at AlitinMint.com on: January 01, 2014, 10:42:18 PM
January 2, 2014 is the release date of the 2013 Adam Smith Limited 1st Edition, by presidential sculptor John B. Andelin. This is a physical bitcoin containing 2 "cold stored" coins in addition to 2 Troy ounces of silver from Alitin Mint (alitinmint.com).  This is a VERY limited edition as only 600 coins have been struck in 2013.

This will signal a new standard in physical bitcoins.  The inaugural coin is 1.75 inches in diameter and 5 mm in thickness. Struck in two ounces of pure silver, the hefty coin dwarfs the U.S. silver dollar.



Besides the impressive size of the coin, Alitin mint has created a security system that is impressive.  The complete public address is engraved on the reverse face of each coin.  The private key is engraved on the edge of the coin, and is hidden from the view of the owner of the coin until the tamper proof acrylic case is opened.  The case is sealed, preventing opening without breakage. See picture below.



Some have suggested that the engraved key on the edge of the coin could be subjected to hi tech imaging such as ultrasound, MRI and CT.  This issue has been discussed with professional radiologists, and it has been affirmed that such a quest lies far beyond the reach of any technology of the foreseeable future.

Another unique feature is that absolutely no defacing of the coin occurs upon redemption.   If an owner wants to remove the coin from its case just because he can't resist holding it in his hand, all he has done is diminish the resale value.  If he chooses to redeem the coin, the coin will continue to hold value as a collectible because the aesthetic integrity of the coin has not been compromised.

Alitin Mint, located in Springfield, Missouri, is a subsidiary of a licensed money services business with money transmitter licensing that has established strict anti-money laundering policies in accordance with U.S. government regulations. The security system of its coins reflects a proactive vision that will be sufficient even when bitcoins attain values of thousands of dollars each.  All engraving is done within the company in accordance with strict protocols.  In addition to the two layers of security of the cases themselves, a proprietary cipher system has been established to prevent the counterfeiting of Alitin coins.

The vision of Alitin Mint is to produce not only physical bitcoins that are secure, but also to create limited edition art pieces that in many cases surpass coinage produced by government mints.

The coins are created in high relief by sculptor John B. Andelin.   Each edition will honor a person who has selflessly contributed to the progress of humanity.  The next coin, scheduled to be released in February of 2014, will depict Joan of Arc.  Other coins will honor explorers, scientists, philosophers, and other world figures whose efforts have elevated mankind. Notably, a portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Bitcoin Foundation.

As a unique collectible, the holder of Alitin coins has a unique opportunity to collect a combination of bitcoins, precious metals, and limited edition art pieces, all in one product.  Each coin is signed and numbered by the artist on the inside of the case.  Such a unique collectible will likely attract not just those pre-commited to bitcoin, but numismatists and other collectors who are not as familiar with bitcoin.  In this manner, it is hoped that the sale of Alitin coins will help spread the bitcoin message to the world.

PLEASE NOTE: Alitin Mint is in the business of selling limited edition collectible pieces of art which are fashioned out of precious metals and which contain embedded crypto-currency. Alitin Mint is not an investment advisory firm and it does not offer investment advice in any form. Alitin Mint encourages you to seek professional advice from a licensed investment adviser before making any decisions about investing your money.
8  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Coin Validation misunderstands fungibility and could destroy bitcoin on: November 14, 2013, 07:37:39 PM
I agree that this is the wrong approach to be taking cleaning bitcoin.  But I do think it will have to be cleaned before it can become mainstream.
9  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Worlds First Bitcoin Tattoo on: November 12, 2013, 09:52:12 PM
she could afford to lose some weight.



Amen sir.
10  Economy / Economics / Re: Bitcoins UK future looks bleak on: November 12, 2013, 09:42:24 PM
United States Senate will meet on November 18 to investigate bitcoin. 

http://www.coindesk.com/us-homeland-security-committee-explore-bitcoins-potential-18th-nov-hearing/

I wonder if they will listen much to what the UK and German governments have determined? I predict that negative findings on bitcoin by this committee will only increase its value.  The current market is largely made of anarcho-capitalists--they'll march in the exact opposite direction that the gov points every time, and it might also lead to fears that they will become harder to acquire.  So hoarding, massive buy-ups, etc.   And I suggest positive findings will do the same thing--potentially open the cryptocurrency market to skeptics and 2nd tier adopters. 

The only thing I think they'll do is nothing. Because they're numbskulls and they can't agree on anything.  I imagine they will just state what has already been said by the IRS, FinCEN, and various banking experts, which is basically: "It looks like it might be dangerous but we don't really get it so let's continue to watch." 
11  Economy / Economics / Re: All Time High BTC MKT Cap on: November 04, 2013, 09:25:36 PM
That's still peanuts, a long way to go before it becomes major.

Couldn't agree more.
12  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: What do you think would happen if bitcoin replaced a countries currency? on: October 29, 2013, 08:17:39 PM
it wouldn't. no sovereign government will give up their right to print money. no way.

No sovereign government would do this?  Well, the members of the European Union ceded their right to print their own sovereign currency in favor of the currency issued by a multi-government centralized authority.  They bought in to the idea of not printing their own currency en masse, in fact.  At the time it looked like it made sense.  Presently, bad monetary policy and other political bunglings have nearly ruined the idea of the Euro. 

I think it is very plausible that a nation--a small struggling nation to be sure--might give it a real shot.  But not until after the bitcoin community solves some infrastructural problems. Bitcoin acts more like a commodity than a currency right now.  It isn't really *monetized* yet.  Too much friction, too much inefficiency.  It's still too early.  But some day, I think this will definitely happen.
13  Bitcoin / Legal / Re: Gambling Tax on bitcoins in CAN on: October 29, 2013, 08:05:53 PM
but if you live in can you dont have to pay taxes if your gambling in fiat

You have to pay income tax if you exchange BTC to fiat. Obviously you can deduct the amount of fiat exchanged to BTC, so you pay tax from fiat profit

vendetahome gave the definitive answer for this thread for now.  Until CAD and other governments start taking bitcoin for the payment of debts, they'll be treated like securities--not taxable until liquidated. This is not going to happen for a long time, unless international financial markets crash big time.
14  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: Bitcoin in Belgium on: October 29, 2013, 07:53:59 PM
You mean official government acceptance?  As in: bitcoin is accepted for the payment of tax liabilities, fees, licenses, and the like?  That will be a long time in the making.  My sense is that no EU members will make such a move independent of EU monetary authority.  It would be tantamount to a strike against the Euro itself. Not that the notion is exactly illogical in my mind, but political movements with consequences of that magnitude don't move very quickly and without substantial press.  And they will never greenlight acceptance of bitcoin for financial obligations to the government until some mechanism is put in place to trace and tax it. That's how governments are.

If you mean private businesses in Belgium: well, transactions need to clear faster for point of sale scenarios (assuming you're talking brick and mortar) before acceptance occurs on a broad scale.  And customers are going to get a little peeved with e-commerce where they expect clearance of a transaction within a minute or less.  The less than savvy are going to be concerned the transaction stalled.  Bitcoin is very new and needs some infrastructure upgrades.

Also, to complete a half-baked comment I alluded to earlier: while bitcoin prices are volatile (a function of infrastructure problems), and while transactions remain *truly* anonymous, businesses are going to be somewhat shy of accepting bitcoins for fear of an AML crackdown--pools of funds get recalled because they are tainted from money laundering activities and businesses are implicated as accessories or partners in crime. Etc. The bitcoin community needs to start getting used to the notion that some transparency to transactions has to occur (and I think they can still maintain a sense of *privacy* regardless) before broad institutional acceptance happens. Businesses rely on third party trust: assurances that transactions will either go through or there will be recourse if they don't.  This "wild west" culture is only going to work for pioneers and risk-friendly forward thinkers.  Mark my words: bitcoin acceptance will be capped until some light can be shone on bitcoin transactions.  Some new approach must be forwarded to cleanse and keep clean the financial channels in order for them to widen for big-scale use.  This anarchistic culture within the community is understandable (I despise most forms of government) but not practical from a business perspective.     

Cheers to Belgium from a Canadian living in the United States.  I used to live in Tourcoing.  Miss is terribly.   
15  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: Do you think BTC will hit $300? on: October 29, 2013, 07:32:26 PM
Definitely will hit $300.  But the chicken haters are going to be eating crow.
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