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Author Topic: Mattew N. Wright still passing off a scam in the past as just a "prank"  (Read 3108 times)
scalar33
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May 22, 2013, 12:06:34 AM
 #1

Here and elsewhere you can see where he's still calling this "just a prank":

This entire debate is the same as my Pirate bet where I didn't ask for escrow (because I was trying to prove a point about making bets without escrow and trusting strangers on the internet). I never accepted a penny from anyone and I still got instant scammer tagged and was held to actually paying people the balances of my prank.


And here's the original thread where he offers the bet:


Don't think pirate will payout as promised?
If you truly believe that Pirate is a scam/ponzi, then this is a no-brainer easy money for you.

Post in this thread how much you're committing and I will double that amount you commit (maximum of 10,000BTC in bets allowed in this thread total) if Pirate does not pay out in 3 weeks as he described in his thread.

To make your bets easier to read, please stick to the following format:
Code:
20BTC
13dSK4663Ts7j2PwHS1eUVjycKLBwx7PJM
Optional comment

The above post would be betting 20BTC that he in fact is not going to payout as described. If I lose the bet, you get 20BTC sent to that address. If you lose, you'll need to send 20BTC to my address.

Anyone (including myself) who renigs on their bets will be labeled a scammer on the forums. Theymos will retain the IP addresses of everyone who has committed here and as you are marked a scammer for not paying, you will also be reported to the bitcoin police and tracked. For this reason, it is important that you do not bet more than you can afford to lose. Considering the high probability of fraud from newbie sockpuppets, only established 250+ post users will be allowed to participate, unless they participate through an escrow who will hold their coins. This is up to them to find the escrow although many posters in this thread have agreed to act as such.

The minimum commitment is 0.1BTC. The maximum default bet for normal users is currently 1000BTC per person. If you would like to wager more, please PM so that I may do a more extensive verification of identity and holdings. Thanks.

Disclaimer: Although I think pirate is a high risk venture due to a complete lack of transparency on his part, I am sorely reminded that the forum needs to be taught a lesson when it comes to crying wolf on things without evidence. It's getting sickening. "SCAM! SCAM! SCAM!". So put your money where your mouth and bet for a better bitcoin forum/community overall.


For the record, the address to remit your funds to if you indeed lose is 13dSK4663Ts7j2PwHS1eUVjycKLBwx7PJM

Thank you and good luck!

I reserve the right to lock this thread and stop accepting additional bets at any time. All existing bets in the thread will still be honored regardless.

It's funny how this "prank" only accepts participants with 250+ posts to avoid fraud.

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May 22, 2013, 05:15:53 AM
 #2

Here and elsewhere you can see where he's still calling this "just a prank":

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=140654.msg1497432#msg1497432
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May 23, 2013, 05:58:23 AM
 #3

Sorry to spoil the trolling OP, but I've never scammed anyone. The bet was a prank, but it was one made in extremely poor taste at a period in my life when I was highly stressed from work and not thinking straight (the trolls got to me a bit and I cracked to be honest). Since then I've lost over $100k in assets, work contracts and actual funds (paying people from the prank bet to make things right) and although I'll never be able to forget the poor choice I made considering I have survived only on bitcoins for 2 years by choice and understandably the fallout from my poor taste prank put me into severe financial difficulties, no one was scammed except me (which I'm taking as a stupid tax) when I was required to pay people who had no intention of paying me if they lost.

Looking forward to continuing to make things right and continue to provide services and products related to bitcoin in the future.

Cheers.

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May 23, 2013, 07:40:42 AM
 #4

Sorry to spoil the trolling OP, but I've never scammed anyone. The bet was a prank, but it was one made in extremely poor taste at a period in my life when I was highly stressed from work and not thinking straight (the trolls got to me a bit and I cracked to be honest). Since then I've lost over $100k in assets, work contracts and actual funds (paying people from the prank bet to make things right) and although I'll never be able to forget the poor choice I made considering I have survived only on bitcoins for 2 years by choice and understandably the fallout from my poor taste prank put me into severe financial difficulties, no one was scammed except me (which I'm taking as a stupid tax) when I was required to pay people who had no intention of paying me if they lost.

Looking forward to continuing to make things right and continue to provide services and products related to bitcoin in the future.

Cheers.

Well if that's the case then I must say Pirate@40 had a much more succesfull "prank."

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May 23, 2013, 08:06:54 AM
 #5

Sorry to spoil the trolling OP, but I've never scammed anyone. The bet was a prank, but it was one made in extremely poor taste at a period in my life when I was highly stressed from work and not thinking straight (the trolls got to me a bit and I cracked to be honest). Since then I've lost over $100k in assets, work contracts and actual funds (paying people from the prank bet to make things right) and although I'll never be able to forget the poor choice I made considering I have survived only on bitcoins for 2 years by choice and understandably the fallout from my poor taste prank put me into severe financial difficulties, no one was scammed except me (which I'm taking as a stupid tax) when I was required to pay people who had no intention of paying me if they lost.

Looking forward to continuing to make things right and continue to provide services and products related to bitcoin in the future.

Cheers.

Uhh sorry to jump in here because I guess it's none of my business, but I don't see why you have a scammer tag.
You didn't take any money, therefore it wasn't a scam.

You made a comment that frankly is a textbook case from first year law as what specifically "does not constitute a contract".
I am not a lawyer, but I do have significant experience and education in the law.

There is absolutely no reason for you to be paying this. 
It's not a scam, nor does it constitute a legally enforceable contract of any kind.
Even in Nevada this would not constitute a binding contract to gamble.

The reason it fails as a contract is because a contract has historically been comprised of 3 things.
Offer, Consideration and Acceptance.

Yes you made an offer (next time don't run your mouth)
Yes they accepted the offer side (they took a similar risk by accepting)

But the whole thing is missing consideration. 
For this to be binding, you would have had to escrow the funds somehow, and they would have had to escrow the funds as well and all of this would have had to have happened prior to the close of the offering window.

You calling it a prank is wrong though. 
There was a definitely a meeting of the minds, but no actual consideration was tendered by either you or the other side(s).  Thus it is not and never was a contract.  It was just an offer.

Man up, call it what it was, an ill advised offer that you simply cannot back, offer a mea culpa (I seriously doubt anyone here was relying on the funds from this bet to feed their kids).

If you are genuinely trying to pay people back as a way of "making this right", then you are just wasting your time and money.
It's not enforceable, and furthermore no one else would have been held to their side of this bargain either.
I have no weight around here, but if I did I would seriously petition somehow to get your tag removed. 

It dilutes the meaning of the tag to have you carrying it if this is the only reason.

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May 23, 2013, 08:18:53 AM
 #6

I sent an email to Theymos asking him to reconsider the tag in your case.
Try to accept responsibility going forward (I'm not saying you haven't just that you need to) and realize that people will take you seriously if for no other reason than you have a very high posting count.

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May 23, 2013, 08:41:58 AM
 #7

It dilutes the meaning of the tag to have you carrying it if this is the only reason.

Truer words have never been spoken. If you look at the link in my signature, you'll see that Theymos once gave me a scammer tag for standing up for myself as a newbie too. For two years now I've known the scammer tag is not much more than just Theymos' opinion.

As for "untrustworthy", that was my suggestion to him instead of "scammer" as a compromise since I can see how many people I may have hurt from my prank/faux bet/lie/unconsidered contract/whatever you want to call it. This is me basically taking my licks and I don't mind paying a lot of scammers so that the extremely small handful of honest betters who were actually affected negatively get some compensation and not think of me too poorly for my shortsighted actions.

If after a few more months Theymos still thinks I deserve any kind of tags, then I'd cry foul. Right now I'm happy keeping it to give trolls some avenue of entertaining themselves. I know who I am, everyone who matters does too. (hint: this forum admin's opinion doesn't matter in my life)

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May 23, 2013, 11:02:35 AM
 #8

The reason it fails as a contract is because a contract has historically been comprised of 3 things.
Offer, Consideration and Acceptance.

Yes you made an offer (next time don't run your mouth)
Yes they accepted the offer side (they took a similar risk by accepting)

But the whole thing is missing consideration. 


You should have taken the next part of whatever law course you flunked out on (or, more likely, read a few more Google results).

A consideration can be a promise to do/pay something (and it can be conditional) - it doesn't have to actually be transferred or escrowed to be a consideration.  The purpose of the requirement for a consideration is NOT to say that contracts aren't binding until something has changed hands - but rather that there must be an agreed intent for a transfer of some value.

If I make a contract with you to exchange X for Y then your horribly flawed contention is that until one of us has sent there's no consideration and so there's no contract.  That's just totally wrong.

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May 23, 2013, 01:18:24 PM
 #9

The reason it fails as a contract is because a contract has historically been comprised of 3 things.
Offer, Consideration and Acceptance.

Yes you made an offer (next time don't run your mouth)
Yes they accepted the offer side (they took a similar risk by accepting)

But the whole thing is missing consideration. 


You should have taken the next part of whatever law course you flunked out on (or, more likely, read a few more Google results).

A consideration can be a promise to do/pay something (and it can be conditional) - it doesn't have to actually be transferred or escrowed to be a consideration.  The purpose of the requirement for a consideration is NOT to say that contracts aren't binding until something has changed hands - but rather that there must be an agreed intent for a transfer of some value.

If I make a contract with you to exchange X for Y then your horribly flawed contention is that until one of us has sent there's no consideration and so there's no contract.  That's just totally wrong.



You're joking right?
Sadly no you're not, you just focused on 1 part of my posting and used that to try and attack the concept wholesale starting with an ad hominem attack on me.

Ok so let's start from the top and examine why this is in fact, NOT a contract.

Contracts 101. 
Any agreement whether verbal, or written is considered a valid contract binding on both parties unless it fails certain criteria.

It must actually be constructed as a contract.
For something to be constructed as a contract it must have 3 things. 
Offer, consideration and acceptance.

Both offer and acceptance are only considered valid if it can reasonably be determined that a meeting of the minds has occurred.
For an offer to even be a valid offer there has to be a demonstrated intent.  This intent must be one that a reasonable person would believe to be serious.
This is where it begins to fail as a contract because a reasonable person would not believe that he was serious based upon a post in a random forum on the internet.
Therefore it fails.

But let's say this wasn't a random forum on the internet, it still doesn't pass the reasonable person test because a reasonable person would understand that if the offer is to do something illegal it is automatically invalid.  Gambling is pretty much illegal in most places including the USA.  I say the jurisdiction is USA because it is not otherwise specified and the whois information for the domain bitcointalk.org is not valid information, thus the jurisdiction would likely fall to the region of the gTLD and .org is USA.
Therefore it fails again.

But let's say it had met all the previous criteria, then what?
Some types of offer are prima facia invalid regardless of the legality of the action.  One of these contract types is a contract to gamble. 
The only jurisdiction where a contract to gamble is held as legal is Nevada (at least in the USA), however there are some fairly serious stipulations involved and none of those were met, because in Nevada a contract to gamble is considered an aleatory contract and thus one of the parties must be a regulated entity.
Therefore it fails again.

But what if bitcointalk.org were in fact a properly registered and regulated entity?
If we treat this as a contract to gamble i.e. an aleatory contract that is not itself invalid, then it still constitutes an aleatory contract and money actually needs to be on the table, a promissory note is sufficient but a verbal or written "ok" is not.  Since bitcoin does not really have a concept of a promissory note there would have needed to have been escrow.
Therefore it fails again.

My WHOLE point rests upon the assertion that no reasonable person could be held to this offer because no reasonable person could believe intent from the circumstances of the situation.  I have shown at least 4 places where this admittedly stupid mistake fails to meet the standards of a contract.  Your assertion that it was valid sans escrow is technically correct when taken in complete isolation of all other facts, but misses the point of it not being a contract. 

Now if he had accepted funds and not returned them it would be a different story, my theory is founded upon the fact that no one sent him money for this or that if they did they were returned ALL of the money they sent.  Thus for all intents and purposes no consideration changed hands.
Therefore it fails again.

Ok, now your turn.

p.s.  I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just armchair analysis.

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May 23, 2013, 01:54:14 PM
 #10

It was obviously not a prank. I he'd won, he would have taken the money for sure. Just check his original post, he was very serious.

The fact that the scammer still tries to justify his default with "I was trying to prove a point about using escrow", etc. it's just a demonstration that he is not sorry about what he did - at all.

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May 23, 2013, 02:49:08 PM
 #11

The reason it fails as a contract is because a contract has historically been comprised of 3 things.
Offer, Consideration and Acceptance.

Yes you made an offer (next time don't run your mouth)
Yes they accepted the offer side (they took a similar risk by accepting)

But the whole thing is missing consideration. 


You should have taken the next part of whatever law course you flunked out on (or, more likely, read a few more Google results).

A consideration can be a promise to do/pay something (and it can be conditional) - it doesn't have to actually be transferred or escrowed to be a consideration.  The purpose of the requirement for a consideration is NOT to say that contracts aren't binding until something has changed hands - but rather that there must be an agreed intent for a transfer of some value.

If I make a contract with you to exchange X for Y then your horribly flawed contention is that until one of us has sent there's no consideration and so there's no contract.  That's just totally wrong.



You're joking right?
Sadly no you're not, you just focused on 1 part of my posting and used that to try and attack the concept wholesale starting with an ad hominem attack on me.

Ok so let's start from the top and examine why this is in fact, NOT a contract.

Contracts 101. 
Any agreement whether verbal, or written is considered a valid contract binding on both parties unless it fails certain criteria.

It must actually be constructed as a contract.
For something to be constructed as a contract it must have 3 things. 
Offer, consideration and acceptance.

Both offer and acceptance are only considered valid if it can reasonably be determined that a meeting of the minds has occurred.
For an offer to even be a valid offer there has to be a demonstrated intent.  This intent must be one that a reasonable person would believe to be serious.
This is where it begins to fail as a contract because a reasonable person would not believe that he was serious based upon a post in a random forum on the internet.
Therefore it fails.

But let's say this wasn't a random forum on the internet, it still doesn't pass the reasonable person test because a reasonable person would understand that if the offer is to do something illegal it is automatically invalid.  Gambling is pretty much illegal in most places including the USA.  I say the jurisdiction is USA because it is not otherwise specified and the whois information for the domain bitcointalk.org is not valid information, thus the jurisdiction would likely fall to the region of the gTLD and .org is USA.
Therefore it fails again.

But let's say it had met all the previous criteria, then what?
Some types of offer are prima facia invalid regardless of the legality of the action.  One of these contract types is a contract to gamble. 
The only jurisdiction where a contract to gamble is held as legal is Nevada (at least in the USA), however there are some fairly serious stipulations involved and none of those were met, because in Nevada a contract to gamble is considered an aleatory contract and thus one of the parties must be a regulated entity.
Therefore it fails again.

But what if bitcointalk.org were in fact a properly registered and regulated entity?
If we treat this as a contract to gamble i.e. an aleatory contract that is not itself invalid, then it still constitutes an aleatory contract and money actually needs to be on the table, a promissory note is sufficient but a verbal or written "ok" is not.  Since bitcoin does not really have a concept of a promissory note there would have needed to have been escrow.
Therefore it fails again.

My WHOLE point rests upon the assertion that no reasonable person could be held to this offer because no reasonable person could believe intent from the circumstances of the situation.  I have shown at least 4 places where this admittedly stupid mistake fails to meet the standards of a contract.  Your assertion that it was valid sans escrow is technically correct when taken in complete isolation of all other facts, but misses the point of it not being a contract. 

Now if he had accepted funds and not returned them it would be a different story, my theory is founded upon the fact that no one sent him money for this or that if they did they were returned ALL of the money they sent.  Thus for all intents and purposes no consideration changed hands.
Therefore it fails again.

Ok, now your turn.

p.s.  I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just armchair analysis.

Similar bets had been made on here and paid up.

Which immediately invalidates most of your junk about what a reasonable person would believe.  Bets on here get made and paid - so a reasonable person is entitled to assume good faith when a bet is offered.

As far as jurisdiction is concerned, the jurisdiction is rather obviously this forum - where it's been explicitly made clear before that if you make an agreement to do something then you're expected to do it.

Your argument that it's an illegal contract in nevada is irrelevant because:

a) Matt isn't in Nevada.
b) The scammer tag is given for breaking a contract - not for breaking a legal contract.  If you don't want to get a scammer tag AND you don't want to break the law then the solution is not to enter into contracts that are illegal.  That's not actually all that hard to work out is it?

Contract is not the same as Legal Contract.  If I enter into a contract with you to do something illegal then don't do it then I HAVE scammed you.  Now it may well be the case that scamming you is preferable to breaking the law - but that doesn't alter the fact that I made an agreement and broke it.  And that's what gets the scammer tag here.

Where our views are maybe more in agreement is that I believe there's plenty of forum members who have done as bad as or worse than Matt and not got scammer tags.  In my view he got his, in part, because he did it so blatantly and in such a public manner - so it didn't take much effort to find the evidence.  Whilst there's valid reasons to argue against him having a tag, trying to misinterpret things to argue no contract was entered into isn't one of them.  Noone here cares what RL jurisdiction etc applies - the simple test is did he promise to do something specific and then fail to deliver. 

If (and ONLY if) there were some convincing evidence that it was a prank from the start and that he 100% would not have taken a penny if his side of the bet won then I'd tend to support removing the tag.  But I'm by no means convinced of that and recall a post he made which gave the distinct impression that at least initially it was meant as a genuine bet.
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May 23, 2013, 03:42:26 PM
 #12

Matthew - I remember the thread well.

I remember thinking that you were doing a daring thing and at that time I honestly thought you were going to make good your bet. I would have bet money that you would.

At no time was there any indication that you were 'making a point' otherwise you'd not have been so forthright and bold in your statements.

Your intent was doubly clarified by many posters saying you'd never pay up and that you'd use a technicality to get out of paying.

My personal opinion is that the bet went against you and you panicked. It's just my personal opinion but what isn't opinion is that your integrity took a huge knock.

It's unclear whether you should have been given a scammer tag or not as the opposite case can't be proven; that you'd have been happy to take other people's Bitcoins if the bet had gone the other way. From your actual actions people could claim that that you would have (lack of integrity) and thus it was proof enough that you would have but that's just conjecture.

So yeah, back to the original point of the OP. When I read the same post earlier today it irked me too. Possibly because I felt like you were trying to re-write what happened but whatever it was it just didn't feel right. (I can't quite fully explain it so perhaps someone else can do a better job.)

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May 23, 2013, 03:55:37 PM
 #13

The bet was a prank, but it was one made in extremely poor taste at a period in my life when I was highly stressed from work and not thinking straight
Cheers.

It was a "prank" only because he lost the bet.

Had he won, it would have been a legitimate bet.   Wink

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May 23, 2013, 04:03:35 PM
 #14

The bet was a prank, but it was one made in extremely poor taste at a period in my life when I was highly stressed from work and not thinking straight
Cheers.

It was a "prank" only because he lost the bet.

Had he won, it would have been a legitimate bet.   Wink

Obviously. What's hilarious is that the guy keeps saying on and on that it was a "prank", just to "teach people a lesson".

Then he apologizes with hiper-long posts about how immature he was, etc... But does not want to admit that he would have taken the money if he had won, that the bet was completely serious (man, just look at the terms and how much effort he put on it), and that he just chickened out when he realized he was going to lose.

In my opinion the only lesson learnt by everybody is that MNW is completely untrustworthy, a child with which is better to never do business unless you want to be burnt.

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May 23, 2013, 04:11:17 PM
 #15

Prank or not, scam or not, he has made great progress resolving the issue - whatever you choose to call it:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=140654.msg1497432#msg1497432

In the long run that is all that really matters.  People make mistakes, they pay for their mistakes, they learn and grow - I know I have.

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May 23, 2013, 04:25:16 PM
Last edit: May 23, 2013, 04:37:54 PM by crumbcake
 #16

Uhh sorry to jump in here because I guess it's none of my business, but I don't see why you have a scammer tag.
You didn't take any money, therefore it wasn't a scam.
[snip]
It dilutes the meaning of the tag to have you carrying it if this is the only reason.

Contracts 101.  
Any agreement whether verbal, or written is considered a valid contract binding on both parties unless it fails certain criteria.
[snip]
p.s.  I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just armchair analysis.

OHAI Nova!  In your first post, you argue that giving Mathew a scammer tag dilutes its meaning, and seamlessly segway into trying to prove that *all the transactions on these forums* fail to meet the legal criteria for binding contracts.  Do you mean to say a scammer tag is *never* appropriate on these forums, and if so, why is it bad to "dilute [its] meaning"?
An important caveat:  Yes, arguing to the alternative is very rakish, but only if you know what you're doing.  Otherwise it's called "contradicting yourself." (an occupational hazzard in armchair law) Cheesy
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May 23, 2013, 05:00:43 PM
 #17

Prank or not, scam or not, he has made great progress resolving the issue - whatever you choose to call it:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=140654.msg1497432#msg1497432

In the long run that is all that really matters.  People make mistakes, they pay for their mistakes, they learn and grow - I know I have.

I hadn't seen this thread before. Apologies if my previous post came off as condemning you (it really wasn't meant to).

I remember the first time I came across your posts from when I first joined. They were so raw with youth and people wouldn't give you a chance.

I left the forums for about a year and came back to the whole Pirate debacle.

I imagine there's been plenty of time for personal growth since those early posts and it's humbling to see you're still working hard to build a community and that you're doing your best to correct a mistake.

All the best Smiley

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May 23, 2013, 05:11:36 PM
 #18

"Surely matthew would have taken the money if he had won"
"There is no way he wasn't serious because no one would have gone to such lengths to troll"

Everytime I read opinions like these it just reminds me how scattered and poorly I've presented myself the last two years (anyone who knows me knows to what lengths I used to go to do something funny or mess with people). I'm quite happy I'm not suffering from that problem as badly these days and I accept that the owners of windows I broke will always think what they want, but my integrity is not up for bargaining.

What I'm doing now is basically settling that I crossed a line when I fooled others whom I thought were ignorant at the time (I was a bit manic). The several bitcoiners who lived with me can attest to the constant laughing and making fun of super serious old men who thought they'd win millions of dollars from a forum bet. It wasn't the right way to handle those people. Looking back, I'm ashamed I didn't take the high road. I'm more ashamed I put myself into a situation where others could so easily start threads questioning my integrity and not be immediately laughed at.

Life is hardly over though, and I'm happy to be given a chance to make things right for everyone who was involved. As for people who weren't involved, my advice would be to stop putting people in situations that require so much trust in the first place. That's the only lesson that matters for you.

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May 23, 2013, 05:13:20 PM
 #19

"Surely matthew would have taken the money if he had won"
"There is no way he wasn't serious because no one would have gone to such lengths to troll"

Everytime I read opinions like these itjiat reminds me how scattered and poor and poorly I've presented myself the last two years. I'm quite happy I'm not suffering from that problem as badly these days and I accept that the owners of windows I broke will always think what they want, but my integrity is not up for bargaining.

What I'm doing now is basically settling that I crossed a line when I fooled others whom I thought were ignorant at the time (I was a bit manic). The several bitcoiners who lived with me can attest to the constant laughing and making fun of super serious old men who thought they'd win millions of dollars from a forum bet. It wasn't the right way to handle those people. Looking back, I'm ashamed I didn't take the high road. I'm more ashamed I put myself into a situation where others could so easily start threads questioning my integrity and not be immediately laughed at.

Life is hardly over though, and I'm happy to be given a chance to make things right for everyone who was involved. As for people who weren't involved, my advice would be to stop putting people in situations that require so much trust in the first place. That's the only lesson that matters for you.

You have no integrity, and you demonstrate that post after post. You are NOT TO BE TRUSTED, and this is clear to everybody in these forums.

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May 23, 2013, 07:20:20 PM
 #20

The reason it fails as a contract is because a contract has historically been comprised of 3 things.
Offer, Consideration and Acceptance.

Yes you made an offer (next time don't run your mouth)
Yes they accepted the offer side (they took a similar risk by accepting)

But the whole thing is missing consideration. 


You should have taken the next part of whatever law course you flunked out on (or, more likely, read a few more Google results).

A consideration can be a promise to do/pay something (and it can be conditional) - it doesn't have to actually be transferred or escrowed to be a consideration.  The purpose of the requirement for a consideration is NOT to say that contracts aren't binding until something has changed hands - but rather that there must be an agreed intent for a transfer of some value.

If I make a contract with you to exchange X for Y then your horribly flawed contention is that until one of us has sent there's no consideration and so there's no contract.  That's just totally wrong.



You're joking right?
Sadly no you're not, you just focused on 1 part of my posting and used that to try and attack the concept wholesale starting with an ad hominem attack on me.

Ok so let's start from the top and examine why this is in fact, NOT a contract.

Contracts 101. 
Any agreement whether verbal, or written is considered a valid contract binding on both parties unless it fails certain criteria.

It must actually be constructed as a contract.
For something to be constructed as a contract it must have 3 things. 
Offer, consideration and acceptance.

Both offer and acceptance are only considered valid if it can reasonably be determined that a meeting of the minds has occurred.
For an offer to even be a valid offer there has to be a demonstrated intent.  This intent must be one that a reasonable person would believe to be serious.
This is where it begins to fail as a contract because a reasonable person would not believe that he was serious based upon a post in a random forum on the internet.
Therefore it fails.

But let's say this wasn't a random forum on the internet, it still doesn't pass the reasonable person test because a reasonable person would understand that if the offer is to do something illegal it is automatically invalid.  Gambling is pretty much illegal in most places including the USA.  I say the jurisdiction is USA because it is not otherwise specified and the whois information for the domain bitcointalk.org is not valid information, thus the jurisdiction would likely fall to the region of the gTLD and .org is USA.
Therefore it fails again.

But let's say it had met all the previous criteria, then what?
Some types of offer are prima facia invalid regardless of the legality of the action.  One of these contract types is a contract to gamble. 
The only jurisdiction where a contract to gamble is held as legal is Nevada (at least in the USA), however there are some fairly serious stipulations involved and none of those were met, because in Nevada a contract to gamble is considered an aleatory contract and thus one of the parties must be a regulated entity.
Therefore it fails again.

But what if bitcointalk.org were in fact a properly registered and regulated entity?
If we treat this as a contract to gamble i.e. an aleatory contract that is not itself invalid, then it still constitutes an aleatory contract and money actually needs to be on the table, a promissory note is sufficient but a verbal or written "ok" is not.  Since bitcoin does not really have a concept of a promissory note there would have needed to have been escrow.
Therefore it fails again.

My WHOLE point rests upon the assertion that no reasonable person could be held to this offer because no reasonable person could believe intent from the circumstances of the situation.  I have shown at least 4 places where this admittedly stupid mistake fails to meet the standards of a contract.  Your assertion that it was valid sans escrow is technically correct when taken in complete isolation of all other facts, but misses the point of it not being a contract. 

Now if he had accepted funds and not returned them it would be a different story, my theory is founded upon the fact that no one sent him money for this or that if they did they were returned ALL of the money they sent.  Thus for all intents and purposes no consideration changed hands.
Therefore it fails again.

Ok, now your turn.

p.s.  I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just armchair analysis.

Similar bets had been made on here and paid up.

Which immediately invalidates most of your junk about what a reasonable person would believe.  Bets on here get made and paid - so a reasonable person is entitled to assume good faith when a bet is offered.

As far as jurisdiction is concerned, the jurisdiction is rather obviously this forum - where it's been explicitly made clear before that if you make an agreement to do something then you're expected to do it.

Your argument that it's an illegal contract in nevada is irrelevant because:

a) Matt isn't in Nevada.
b) The scammer tag is given for breaking a contract - not for breaking a legal contract.  If you don't want to get a scammer tag AND you don't want to break the law then the solution is not to enter into contracts that are illegal.  That's not actually all that hard to work out is it?

Contract is not the same as Legal Contract.  If I enter into a contract with you to do something illegal then don't do it then I HAVE scammed you.  Now it may well be the case that scamming you is preferable to breaking the law - but that doesn't alter the fact that I made an agreement and broke it.  And that's what gets the scammer tag here.

Where our views are maybe more in agreement is that I believe there's plenty of forum members who have done as bad as or worse than Matt and not got scammer tags.  In my view he got his, in part, because he did it so blatantly and in such a public manner - so it didn't take much effort to find the evidence.  Whilst there's valid reasons to argue against him having a tag, trying to misinterpret things to argue no contract was entered into isn't one of them.  Noone here cares what RL jurisdiction etc applies - the simple test is did he promise to do something specific and then fail to deliver. 

If (and ONLY if) there were some convincing evidence that it was a prank from the start and that he 100% would not have taken a penny if his side of the bet won then I'd tend to support removing the tag.  But I'm by no means convinced of that and recall a post he made which gave the distinct impression that at least initially it was meant as a genuine bet.

That's a well argued point and I tip my hat to you.  Also I don't know if the tag had been changed in the time since I interjected or if it was always marked as untrustworthy, but my point was only intended to reflect upon the meaning of the scammer tag, which you cannot dispute would be diluted in this instance.  If you accept the fact that people trusted in him, regardless of his underlaying intent and he failed to follow through with what he said he would do then I completely agree, untrustworthy is an appropriate tag

Still I'm glad we had this dialog, it's been a fun and interesting conversation.

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