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Author Topic: Where's John K?  (Read 4380 times)
Chainsaw
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November 01, 2013, 01:28:56 PM
 #1

Arvicco and I escrowed a 339.6 BTC transaction using John K. on October 23rd. On October 25th, the transaction was completed and Arvicco requested that John K release the escrowed funds.  From that point until now, we have heard nothing from him.  The maximum contractual duration he allows for funds release is 2 days, and we now a week beyond release request.  You can see that he has not been active since the morning of 10/26:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?action=profile;u=31288

We have contacted theymos to ask about how to proceed. He recommended we post publicly, in the hopes that someone might know how to reach out to him.

In most cases, the most likely explanation for this scenario would be easy - the guy disappeared with the money, never to return.  But this is John K. we're talking about. 
Given John's rock-solid reliability as the goto escrow guy for BitcoinTalk, he deserves as much benefit of the doubt as is humanly possible.  The concern is that something may have happened to him in RL. I've racked my brain, and cannot think of a more likely scenario. 

I don't know if John's anonymity is important to him. Without knowing this, I'd like to be cautious and not have any information publicly divulged that might identify him.  Ideally, I won't even need to know this information myself.  My chief concerns are two-fold:
1) Gain an understanding for John K's mid-escrow, extended disappearance.
2) Recover the funds tied up in this escrow.

Could we use this thread as a centralized place to try to share any information that might help get to the bottom of what's going on?  Please mention / share it with anyone that might know him in RL or have alternative means to try to contact him.  Any additional recommendations, please share.

-Chainsaw

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Chainsaw
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November 01, 2013, 01:30:19 PM
 #2

I confirm everything said in Chainsaw's post. I can further add that the standard escrow contract we got from JohnK was clearsigned by his signature, as usual. Also, the escrowed funds were not moved, so a hit-and-run account compromise is not likely.


Arvicco and I escrowed a 339.6 BTC transaction using John K. on October 23rd. On October 25th, the transaction was completed and Arvicco requested that John K release the escrowed funds.  From that point until now, we have heard nothing from him.  The maximum contractual duration he allows for funds release is 2 days, and we now a week beyond release request.  You can see that he has not been active since the morning of 10/26:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?action=profile;u=31288

We have contacted theymos to ask about how to proceed. He recommended we post publicly, in the hopes that someone might know how to reach out to him.

This is accurate as far as I know.

I don't have a ton of personal info on him, but I'll release what I do have in a few days. Hopefully he's OK. He just came the the US, so if he was injured or arrested, we might not hear about it (and he might need our help).

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November 01, 2013, 02:25:56 PM
 #3

This post may be relevant: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=141672.msg3365026#msg3365026

It may be possible that he is having trouble with his new laptop.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Hey all,

First of all I apologise for my 1 week hiatus from the forums - I dropped my escrow laptop and killed the drive, and I had to wait for a replacement laptop to be shipped before restoring my backups over. (as I cannot use an unsecured computer to log in the forums and/or conduct business regarding BTC).

I'm happy to say that everything should be back on track now, and hopefully I finish releasing/processing escrows tonight, especially the ragingazn refunds.

Cheers,
John

October 18 2013
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (MingW32)

iQIcBAEBAgAGBQJSYbBoAAoJEINT5jezqu6wyv8P/3PtFHAMinnX6ZwYHx2P4WpF
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November 01, 2013, 02:30:06 PM
 #4


The timeline doesn't seem to fit his current leave of absence. Hopefully everything is okay, god speed JK!

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November 01, 2013, 02:34:27 PM
 #5

I confirm everything said in Chainsaw's post. I can further add that the standard escrow contract we got from JohnK was clearsigned by his signature, as usual. Also, the escrowed funds were not moved, so a hit-and-run account compromise is not likely.

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November 01, 2013, 02:39:23 PM
 #6

Watching.  John K has always been a solid escrow agent and I have referred many a client to him (as escrow is too low margin and demanding for my tastes).   I hope this is only a situation of unexpected real world issues keeping him "offline". 

Even if everything does turn out "fine" it does illustrate that we really need easy to use multi-sig capabilities.  Before reading the amount of the escrow I was like "not a chance this is fraudulent" the amount made me doubt my first reaction if even a little.  I think 300+ BTC is pushing the limit of what I would trust to any single person in a single tx. Even a service like John's can be enhanced by multi-sig (Buyer, Seller, John, it takes 2 signatures to move funds).    
Chainsaw
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November 01, 2013, 02:42:25 PM
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The timeline doesn't seem to fit his current leave of absence. Hopefully everything is okay, god speed JK!

Thanks a ton for providing that.  It at least provides a plausible scenario that doesn't involve potential RL harm to John. It makes sense that he is putting security foremost. I had scrolled back a bit in his history and saw there were a few errors with refund amounts.  Perhaps upon getting his new computer another error occurred and he is still trying to get everything restored.

As wtfvanity said, the timeline doesn't _quite_ fit...two weeks is a pretty long time to disappear.

It would be priceless if anyone out there has well-established community trust and knows how to contact him in RL to get the story.

Watching.  John K has always been a solid escrow agent and I have referred many a client to him (as escrow is too low margin and demanding for my tastes).   I hope this is only a situation of unexpected real world issues keeping him "offline".

Even if everything does turn out "fine" it does illustrate that we really need easy to use multi-sig capabilities.  Even a service like John's can be enhanced by multi-sig (Buyer, Seller, John, it takes 2 signatures to move funds).    

Thanks for keeping an eye on this, DeathAndTaxes.
Another refinement that comes to mind is a 'death plan'. This is something that any Bitcoin holder should have - the means to transfer account information on to some other trusted person(s) to prevent lost bitcoins in the event of unexpected death.  Statement of having such a plan in place would provide greater security to escrow clients.

These unexpected events really are opportunities. Opportunities to recognize gaps in the current Bitcoin ecosystem...then filling them in.  I know that a decade from now we'll laugh at how unbelievably primitive the tools we used to use Bitcoins were, starting out.

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November 01, 2013, 02:45:39 PM
 #8

Hope his OK,

Maybe when he comes back he should create a ALT account that he is happy to log on on a unsecured computer just to give people updates if he has gone away for what ever reason.

Like JohnK-Alt or something.

>>>>>>>>>>>> Bitcoininformation & DiamondCardz are SCAMMER, AVOID THEM AT ALL COSTS! <<<<<<<<<<<<
39  Belvedere Road Leyton London E10 7NW    = SCAMMER ADDRESS! TRY A MILLION LTD!
TradeFortress is a scammer!
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November 01, 2013, 02:51:50 PM
 #9

Hope his OK,

Maybe when he comes back he should create a ALT account that he is happy to log on on a unsecured computer just to give people updates if he has gone away for what ever reason.

Like JohnK-Alt or something.

That doesn't really sound too good. If he does do that, no one should use that person as escrow until; his main account comes back on of course.

          WTF!     Don't Click Here              
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November 01, 2013, 02:53:33 PM
 #10

Hope his OK,

Maybe when he comes back he should create a ALT account that he is happy to log on on a unsecured computer just to give people updates if he has gone away for what ever reason.

Like JohnK-Alt or something.

That doesn't really sound too good. If he does do that, no one should use that person as escrow until; his main account comes back on of course.

Yeah of course don't do any trades, he could even give it a scammer tag or something or a under title saying DO NOT TRADE.

>>>>>>>>>>>> Bitcoininformation & DiamondCardz are SCAMMER, AVOID THEM AT ALL COSTS! <<<<<<<<<<<<
39  Belvedere Road Leyton London E10 7NW    = SCAMMER ADDRESS! TRY A MILLION LTD!
TradeFortress is a scammer!
Chainsaw
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November 01, 2013, 02:56:34 PM
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Hope his OK,

Maybe when he comes back he should create a ALT account that he is happy to log on on a unsecured computer just to give people updates if he has gone away for what ever reason.

Like JohnK-Alt or something.

That doesn't really sound too good. If he does do that, no one should use that person as escrow until; his main account comes back on of course.

Yeah of course don't do any trades, he could even give it a scammer tag or something or a under title saying DO NOT TRADE.

That's another great idea. To be secure, he'd need to confirm identify from his native account, and keep the credentials for the secondary account unique stored only in his head, or otherwise secured by layers additional to those that could cause a breach of his main account.

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November 01, 2013, 02:57:06 PM
 #12

John is fine, he's just really busy right now. He's got a ton of stuff to take care of, he'll be on as soon as he can.
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November 01, 2013, 07:45:56 PM
 #13

I've spoken with an individual via PM that is going to get a message to John through RL channels.  Best-case, he will resolve the escrow situation and post a brief "I am still here, no need to worry" message by the end of this weekend.  If that fails to occur, I'll be revisiting this issue on Monday, looking for more recommendations for next steps and timelines from this community.

I'd like to extend a deep, heartfelt thanks to everyone that offered suggestions or help in this so far, no matter how small.

-Chainsaw

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November 01, 2013, 07:47:18 PM
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I've spoken with an individual via PM that is going to get a message to John through RL channels.  Best-case, he will resolve the escrow situation and post a brief "I am still here, no need to worry" message by the end of this weekend.  If that fails to occur, I'll be revisiting this issue on Monday, looking for more recommendations for next steps and timelines from this community.

I'd like to extend a deep, heartfelt thanks to everyone that offered suggestions or help in this so far, no matter how small.

-Chainsaw

Just curious, what was the trade for?

>>>>>>>>>>>> Bitcoininformation & DiamondCardz are SCAMMER, AVOID THEM AT ALL COSTS! <<<<<<<<<<<<
39  Belvedere Road Leyton London E10 7NW    = SCAMMER ADDRESS! TRY A MILLION LTD!
TradeFortress is a scammer!
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November 01, 2013, 07:48:48 PM
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Just curious, what was the trade for?

Hookers and blow.

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November 01, 2013, 07:59:27 PM
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Just curious, what was the trade for?

Hookers and blow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Gd87JmkAkE

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November 01, 2013, 08:10:42 PM
 #17

Hope his OK,

Maybe when he comes back he should create a ALT account that he is happy to log on on a unsecured computer just to give people updates if he has gone away for what ever reason.

Like JohnK-Alt or something.

He might have actually got into an accident.
I doubt he ran away with those bitcoins, that's a small amount than what he has held on to before.
It's unlikely that it was an accident, but if he got himself injured, hope he's ok.

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November 01, 2013, 08:15:34 PM
 #18

I know John has been busy with moving and with other things. I wouldn't worry about too much about him running off with your coins. That doesn't change the fact that you have been inconvienced, but hopefully its a little peace of mind.
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November 01, 2013, 08:21:12 PM
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Until the Bitcoins are where they are supposed to be, then there is worry. If you cant offer the service, stop it till you get your affairs in order, because the parties have trusted the escrow agent and there maybe other payments/promises also being held up....

http://mentaso.com/economics/item/220-the-future-of-escrow.html


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Chainsaw
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November 01, 2013, 08:51:07 PM
 #20

I know John has been busy with moving and with other things. I wouldn't worry about too much about him running off with your coins. That doesn't change the fact that you have been inconvienced, but hopefully its a little peace of mind.

What you said here is consistent with the message I received via PM.  If the escrow agent were anyone other than John K, I would be significantly more alarmed than I am in this situation.  Because it is him, the most likely scenario is that the damages will be limited to some personal drama, and a missed opportunity to purchase precious metals.

Best case, we'll come out of this with the escrow ecosystem unharmed, some good ideas for future refinements to the escrow process, and with John having a firmer appreciation of the cascading impacts of dropped commitments.  There's no need for a pound of flesh in this scenario.  The community should come out of the whole ordeal stronger than they began.

Thanks once again to all that shared their pieces of information.  Having a plausible scenario to explain John's disappearance (especially one that does not involve him having been involved in an accident) provides as much peace of mind as is possible in the interim.

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