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Author Topic: Bitcoinica MtGox account compromised  (Read 145888 times)
JoelKatz
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July 17, 2012, 09:02:34 PM
 #541

Let's stay completely silent again, without any outgoing payments. Great job guys, great job!

What's the first thing a lawyer will do?  Advise their client to stop talking, and stop messing with bank accounts (or the Bitcoin equivalent thereof) associated with disputed funds.
I can't imagine a lawyer would advise a company that holds other people's money not to give any of it back. I could see that if it was combined with advising them to make a public statement of how much money they held, how much they owed, and where the money was being held.

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The beginning of a lawsuit might even mandate a freezing of funds by court order -- a temporary restraining order -- outside Bitcoinica's control.
That would be very different from Bitcoinica doing that unilaterally without any assurance that the funds were secure or, for that matter, actually exist.

If this was an inside job, the longer Bitcoinica holds the money without locking it down, the more risk there is that depositors will get an even lower recovery. Frankly, the funds should have been locked down securely *before* this last theft. If they were holding my money, I'd be really angry that they're not disclosing how much money they have, how much they owe, where that money is, and who is responsible for the shortfall and who is responsible for the disbursement of the remaining funds.


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July 17, 2012, 09:34:42 PM
 #542

I can't imagine a lawyer would advise a company that holds other people's money not to give any of it back. I could see that if it was combined with advising them to make a public statement of how much money they held, how much they owed, and where the money was being held.

Bitcoinica LP is now undeniably insolvent and that's a game changer.  It's extremely unlikely that any lawyer would advise an insolvent entity to try to handle the claims process themselves - the risk of them fucking it up in some way is just too great.  

Funds on hand aren't the only thing in play now.  All assets and all liabilities need to be taken into account.  Someone owns the Bitcoinica domain and the IP, but the question is who.  If those things are an asset of Bitcoinica LP (which would be a stupid way to set things up, but there's been no shortage of stupid in this saga), then they need to be liquidated (not that they'd have much value now).  Creditors other than users also need to be considered.  We don't know whether there were any conditions attached to the funds Tihan injected after the Rackspace intrusion.  It may well have been a loan.

Frustrating as it is for users, Bitcoinica needs to not make any public statements other than "we're consulting our legal advisers" right now.  "What next" is something which absolutely should not be decided without extensive consultation with their legal and financial advisors - deciding to "do it themselves" last time around rather than involve professionals in the refund process is partly responsible for the latest calamity.

Also, Amir's probably not the best person to take over handling the claims.

Quote
Hi,
I feel like a bit of an arse, but I'm suffering from password atrophy - too many passwords and I'm forgetting all of them.
I don't feel like bothering theymos by poking his personal email (feels impolite). Is there a generic contact method for the bitcointalk forum?

Quote
Thanks, but the reason I don't use keepass is two-fold:
a) I'm very scatter brained and prone to losing data through reinstalls, cleanups and formatting. It's one more piece of data I must hold onto.
b) I'm heavily dependent on the clipboard during my workflow (I love clipboard managers like ClipIt or parcellite), and that would be a big loss if I couldn't use them.

http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/wbmxi/lost_bitcointalk_account_password_mod_contact/

Guess he thought using the password reset option for his forum account was too risky after what happened with Rackspace.   Wink

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July 17, 2012, 10:46:24 PM
 #543

I think that the position of the Intersango guys was that weren't technically general partners at the time of the Rackspace intrusion because the paperwork for establishing Bitcoinica Consultancy hadn't been completed and that therefore they had neither any liability for the intrusion nor any authority to initiate the claims process.  Tihan's position was that they did have both liability and authority and that not completing the paperwork would be regarded as an attempt to avoid that liability.

Agreed. I appears Tihan set up CORE CREDIT LIMITED as the GP on 2012/02/09 (*1) However he did not find an actual party willing to act as GP until sometime before 2012/04/24 when the Bitcoin Consultancy signed the 'Bitcoinica limited partnership agreement' (*2). After this contract was signed the Bitcoin Consultancy group was pretty clear in Donald's announcement that they were acting as the new operators and managing directors of Bitcoinica (*3):

Quote
While Bitcoinica had some previous security concerns, namely where the attack on the Linode cloud hosting provider generated them a loss of 40k BTC, Bitcoinica has fully recovered from the loss and no longer depends so heavily on 3rd party platforms. The Bitcoinica reigns have been taken up by the recognized development group called the Bitcoin Consultancy which have a record of solid security in the tumultuous world of Bitcoin. Despite their growth and their recent announcement, Tong is still a developer for Bitcoinica.

However Zhou kept operating the site on a daily basis in practice and the Bitcoin Consultancy guys failed to supply the NZ Companies office with valid docs to reflect their director status and so technically the GP was not fully formed:

We kept sending the paperwork back saying it's incomplete and there's problems, so when the initial compromise happened, the company was not yet fully formed.

The problem is that Bitcoinica Consultancy only begun the process of being formed when the attack happened. The paper work was not completed and we weren't acting as GP. Tihan is asking us to finish completing the formation of Bitcoinica Consultancy first, while we are asking for legal authorisation to conduct payments on their behalf.

Although Bitcoinica Consultancy was not fully formed in terms of documentation, the Bitcoin Consultancy guys were assumed to bear all liabilities of Bitcoinica LP ever since the takeover on April 24.

Bitcoinica Consultancy has three people including two technical experts. They have been working in Bitcoinica for more than one month. And they're assumed to bear all liabilities of Bitcoinica LP.

Finally on May 30 the General Partner 'CORE CREDIT LIMITED' was renamed to 'BITCOINICA CONSULTANCY LIMITED' (*4) and a couple of days ago Genjix mentioned that they *did* finalize the formation of BITCOINCA CONSULTANCY so that would imply that they *are* the Bitcoinica GP at least at this point in time.

We had no responsibility to take on payments, but we did (and finalised the formation of Bitcoinica Consultancy to do so).

In the end it seems they have been playing a game of hot potato over who would be responsible at the expense of their customers. Everybody in Bitcoinica LP has been too busy covering their collective asses and pointing fingers at each other. Even at this late stage they have not been able to put on a united front and take decisive action in the best interest of their customers. There have been no police reports, no official updates on their website and previous promises such as 'All withdrawal requests will be honored.' are demonstrably false. Things have gone from bad to worse and hopefully we finally have reached rock bottom now so salvage operations can begin.

References:
(*1) http://www.societies.govt.nz/scanned-images/06/BC10060962006.pdf
(*2) https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=84042.msg953326#msg953326
(*3) http://bitcoinmedia.com/first-licensed-advanced-trading-platform-for-bitcoin/
(*4) http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/3715077/documents
repentance
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July 18, 2012, 12:03:56 AM
 #544

Things that make you go "hmmmm".

Probably unrelated, but it's one hell of a coincidence that the same accountant who set up the other NZ entities associated with Bitcoinica Consultancy LP recently set up another entity which just happens to have the same name as the presumed original buyer of the Bitcoinica domain and IP.

http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/3837998

Bitcoinica Consultancy Ltd's record now shows "Notification of director appointment(s) pending".





All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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July 18, 2012, 12:49:15 AM
 #545

Things that make you go "hmmmm".

Probably unrelated, but it's one hell of a coincidence that the same accountant who set up the other NZ entities associated with Bitcoinica Consultancy LP recently set up another entity which just happens to have the same name as the presumed original buyer of the Bitcoinica domain and IP.

http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/3837998

Bitcoinica Consultancy Ltd's record now shows "Notification of director appointment(s) pending".



no clue who that guy is but he keeps himself pretty busy; http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/1217550/shareholdings

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July 18, 2012, 12:53:54 AM
 #546

Next up, Intersango balances will be cleared if not gone allready.

I love these business strategies, divide and conquer at its finest hour.

what about intersango? is it not legit now?

Do you really want to wait around to find out?

This.

Why would you give your hard earned money to people who have shown a lack of responsibility?

Insanity is defined as performing the same actions that have failed in the past and expecting different results.

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ninjarobot
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July 18, 2012, 01:01:26 AM
 #547

Things that make you go "hmmmm".

Probably unrelated, but it's one hell of a coincidence that the same accountant who set up the other NZ entities associated with Bitcoinica Consultancy LP recently set up another entity which just happens to have the same name as the presumed original buyer of the Bitcoinica domain and IP.

http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/3837998

Bitcoinica Consultancy Ltd's record now shows "Notification of director appointment(s) pending".

'WENDON GROUP LIMITED (3837998)' - That is an interesting find! It could indeed be a coincidence (Heaslip is involved in over 44 companies) but it is good to see Wendon's name appear in a related context.

Another thing I noticed is that Christopher Heaslip also registered PUSHPAY in a similar fashion and Tihan is linked to that one as well:
http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/3486194
https://getpushpay.com/
https://angel.co/pushpay-limited
https://angel.co/tseale
https://angel.co/chris-heaslip

EDIT: I see this connection was already made earlier here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=81045.msg901125#msg901125
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July 18, 2012, 01:24:56 AM
 #548

Things that make you go "hmmmm".

Probably unrelated, but it's one hell of a coincidence that the same accountant who set up the other NZ entities associated with Bitcoinica Consultancy LP recently set up another entity which just happens to have the same name as the presumed original buyer of the Bitcoinica domain and IP.

http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/3837998

Bitcoinica Consultancy Ltd's record now shows "Notification of director appointment(s) pending".



no clue who that guy is but he keeps himself pretty busy; http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/1217550/shareholdings

He's a taxation specialist who sets up NZ companies for people (NZ is a tax haven for foreign investors).  It's not especially unusual for accountants to have "shelf" companies already set up and ready to go as the need arises.  They're set up with a name, fuck all capital, and the accountant acting as director.  When someone wants a company in a hurry, they can basically change all the details after the fact - name, directors, shareholders.  The risk for the accountant is that as long as he's still listed as director, he has some liability if the company trades recklessly or while insolvent.

Quote
Another thing I noticed is that Christopher Heaslip also registered PUSHPAY in a similar fashion and Tihan is linked to that one as well:
http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/3486194
https://getpushpay.com/
https://angel.co/pushpay-limited
https://angel.co/tseale
https://angel.co/chris-heaslip

It's not that unusual to have a lot of overlap in the world of venture capital.  You get a lot of the same people investing in a range of different projects, but they're separate legal entities even though some of the individuals might be the same.  NZ has quite a few accounting firms which link up VCs with projects.  Someone who's soliciting capital for one project can be providing it for another.  There's a New Zealand VC who's registered three Bitcoin related entities this year but I've never heard of either him or the companies, so I suspect he's waiting for the appropriate project and other investors to launch them.

Most of this isn't going to matter in terms of Bitcoinica users getting their money back.  Still, the back story since Zhou sold the domain name and IP is pretty intriguing in itself.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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July 18, 2012, 02:07:52 AM
 #549

Maybe this accountant needs to get a summons.

JoelKatz
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July 18, 2012, 02:29:00 AM
 #550

Bitcoinica LP is now undeniably insolvent and that's a game changer.  It's extremely unlikely that any lawyer would advise an insolvent entity to try to handle the claims process themselves - the risk of them fucking it up in some way is just too great.
I don't know what law applies to Bitcoinica, but typically until there's a formal declaration of insolvency, companies are still obligated to pay their debts. Their continuing failure to return depositor's funds is a continuing breach of their obligations to their depositors. I cannot believe any lawyer would say, "continue to breach your fiduciary duties". In some jurisdictions it can be a criminal offense to fail to formally declare insolvency and to continue to breach obligations.

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July 18, 2012, 02:32:01 AM
 #551

Maybe this accountant needs to get a summons.

I suspect that the most relevant thing in all of this is going to be the partnership agreement.  It would have specified everyone's roles and the date those roles commenced.  When corporate information changes, you generally have a specific time period in which to lodge notice of those changes - you don't have to do it immediately.  I guessing the reason that the Bitcoinica Consultancy records now show "appointment of directors pending" is because those records are now in the process of being changed.  I'm guessing that the partnership agreement had been signed before the hack but the director's consent forms hadn't - that was the paperwork which Tihan was pushing them to complete and which he said if they didn't would be an abandonment of their legal responsibilities (which were assumed via the signed partnership agreement).

Chris Heaslop could certainly provide information about exactly what formalities happened and when, but it sounds like everyone involved already knows where the paperwork was up to at any given time and they're only arguing about what it means (understandably so, given that general partners have a fiduciary duty to the limited partnership itself as well as a general duty not to trade recklessly or while insolvent and breaching that duty can lead to personal) liability.

There are a lot of intriguing questions remaining, but I suspect that the answers won't directly affect users - although they may well be relevant to legal action between the principals.  I do hope that once the facts are all known, someone creates a flowchart - I'm a big fan of Seconds from Disaster and this his been one of those perfect storms of seemingly minor issues ending in calamity.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
PatrickHarnett
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July 18, 2012, 02:40:12 AM
 #552

Maybe this accountant needs to get a summons.

I suspect that the most relevant thing in all of this is going to be the partnership agreement.  

Still watching with interest.  Not sure what you mean by "partnership agreement" as the NZ entity is simply a limited liability company with a single director/shareholder.  The provisions of the Companies Act 1993 will apply with regard to duties of directors.

BITCOINICA CONSULTANCY LIMITED (3715077)

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July 18, 2012, 03:03:51 AM
 #553

I don't know what law applies to Bitcoinica, but typically until there's a formal declaration of insolvency, companies are still obligated to pay their debts. Their continuing failure to return depositor's funds is a continuing breach of their obligations to their depositors. I cannot believe any lawyer would say, "continue to breach your fiduciary duties". In some jurisdictions it can be a criminal offense to fail to formally declare insolvency and to continue to breach obligations.

The problem is them giving any preferential treatment to unsecured creditors.  Insolvent companies are generally wound up by third parties to ensure that all payments are made in accordance with the formula laid down by law, that assets are liquidated for the benefit of all creditors, and that transactions in the look-back period are reversed where appropriate.  

While I suspect that some form of formal insolvency is now inevitable, I would expect both the limited and general partners to be taking legal advice on the most appropriate type of insolvency, and I would expect that advice to include "don't touch the assets for any reason" until the next legal step has been determined (for all we know, the initial steps towards insolvency may already have been taken - there's some paperwork involved before creditors are formally notified and asked to lodge claims).  They should never have attempted a DIY claims process after the Rackspace compromise - at the very least, it should have been handled by their accountant - and they most definitely shouldn't attempt it now.  

Quote
Still watching with interest.  Not sure what you mean by "partnership agreement" as the NZ entity is simply a limited liability company with a single director/shareholder.  The provisions of the Companies Act 1993 will apply with regard to duties of directors.

Bitcoinica LP is a limited partnership, with a general partner (Bitcoinica Consultancy LTD) and a limited partner (Tihan's fund plus a minority limited partner from what we can tell).  The partnership agreement matters because it determines the date on which Bitcoinica Consultancy LTD became the general partner of Bitcoinica LP, assuming all liability.  The issue isn't the general duties of the directors of Bitcoinica Consultancy LTD, it's whether Bitcionica Consultancy LTD was acting as the general partner of Bitcoinica LP when the events happened - if the partnership agreement had already been signed (and we've been told it had), then they're legally liable whether or not the formation of Bitcoinica LP itself was complete (ie, the director's consents had been signed and lodged).

The issue of whether the directors of Bitcoinica Consultancy LTD have acted in a manner which gives rise to personal liability is yet another matter.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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July 18, 2012, 03:20:40 AM
 #554

My confusion was not taking the relevant jurisdiction to the different entities as I thought you were talking about the NZ one.  The LP is in the UK (as a working assumption).
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July 18, 2012, 03:38:37 AM
 #555

My confusion was not taking the relevant jurisdiction to the different entities as I thought you were talking about the NZ one.  The LP is in the UK (as a working assumption).

There are two NZ entities Bitcoinica Consultancy Limited and Bitcoinica Limited Partnership (which is wholly operated by Bitcoinica Consultancy Ltd).

Quote
Bitcoinica LP is a New Zealand Limited Partnership which is wholly operated by Bitcoinica Consultancy LTD a New Zealand registered company.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=81045.msg902253#msg902253

Quote
Bitcoinica LP is a New Zealand Limited Partnership.

Core Credit LTD is a New Zealand Limited Company and the General Partner of Bitcoinica LP.

Core Credit LTD was renamed to Bitcoinica Consultancy LTD significantly after the events occurred.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=84042.msg1022206#msg1022206

Intersango Ltd and Bitcoin (without the "ica") Consultancy Ltd are both UK limited companies.

Significantly, the partnership agreement must be signed before the limited partnership can be registered - the agreement itself establishes the limited partnership prior to registration.

http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/learn-about/other-entities/limited-partnerships/faqs/copy4_of_introduction

It's not a structure that's really used much in Australia but NZ has set it up in a way which encourages overseas investment with favourable tax treatment.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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July 18, 2012, 09:22:24 AM
 #556

Then... where is the 66% of my claim?


Genjix it's time for an update ...

Sorry for my bad english Wink
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July 18, 2012, 09:40:44 AM
 #557

At this point I am hoping they at least finish paying out the 50%. This hacking incident could have been avoided if they decided to pay everyone earlier in the game. They basically sat on thousands of bitcoins for 2 months telling everyone they did not want any mistakes to occur during the claim process. Evidently now they have lost 30% of their money. This is completely retarded. If they weren't so overly paranoid during the claim process they might have lost 5%-10% through overpaying. Even if they were overpaying, I consider it interest with them holding on to so many customers funds for so long. Now they lost 30% to some random hacker.     

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It's just that yours is stupid! =D
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July 18, 2012, 09:51:47 AM
 #558

At this point I am hoping they at least finish paying out the 50%. This hacking incident could have been avoided if they decided to pay everyone earlier in the game. They basically sat on thousands of bitcoins for 2 months telling everyone they did not want any mistakes to occur during the claim process. Evidently now they have lost 30% of their money. This is completely retarded. If they weren't so overly paranoid during the claim process they might have lost 5%-10% through overpaying. Even if they were overpaying, I consider it interest with them holding on to so many customers funds for so long. Now they lost 30% to some random hacker.     

difference is that 5-10% would have been from their money. 30% I'm not so sure will be lost from their money, more likely from users' money

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July 18, 2012, 09:53:15 AM
 #559

At this point I am hoping they at least finish paying out the 50%. This hacking incident could have been avoided if they decided to pay everyone earlier in the game. They basically sat on thousands of bitcoins for 2 months telling everyone they did not want any mistakes to occur during the claim process. Evidently now they have lost 30% of their money. This is completely retarded. If they weren't so overly paranoid during the claim process they might have lost 5%-10% through overpaying. Even if they were overpaying, I consider it interest with them holding on to so many customers funds for so long. Now they lost 30% to some random hacker.     
That's what really gets at me with this whole process. If they would have just let Zhou handle the payouts with his imperfect methods, we'd all have had more money in the end, and the Intersango guys would not have wasted entire months manually processing the claims.

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July 18, 2012, 09:54:52 AM
 #560

At this point I am hoping they at least finish paying out the 50%. This hacking incident could have been avoided if they decided to pay everyone earlier in the game. They basically sat on thousands of bitcoins for 2 months telling everyone they did not want any mistakes to occur during the claim process. Evidently now they have lost 30% of their money. This is completely retarded. If they weren't so overly paranoid during the claim process they might have lost 5%-10% through overpaying. Even if they were overpaying, I consider it interest with them holding on to so many customers funds for so long. Now they lost 30% to some random hacker.     
Grin Grin Grin Grin

Looks like Genjix has some more important stuff to do at the moment...
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