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Author Topic: Class action Litigation vs. Bitcoinica Consultancy LTD & Intersango LTD  (Read 24984 times)
repentance
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July 14, 2012, 02:34:06 AM
 #61

Lawyers are going to be very expensive and what if the "investors" don't have any money to make you whole?

You need at least 3 elements for a class/representative action.  A court to certify that there's a cause of action; a court to certify the plaintiffs as a class (you need a minimum number of plaintiffs for this); and a defendant with deep enough pockets to pay the award being sought.  In this particular instance, you're also going to need a court to accept jurisdiction.  You will need to hire local litigation lawyers in each jurisdiction where an action is bring brought and you will need a means of funding that litigation.  

You also need to make absolutely certain that you are suing the right defendant/s. You need to be aware that exemplary damages are awarded very rarely in some jurisdictions and that any such awards tend to be very low.  It's highly possible that you would ultimately receive less money pursuing a representative action than you would taking action to have a liquidator appointed or seeking payment through conventional means.

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If they file for bankruptcy you wont even be able to contact them. The laws on this are very strict in both NZ and Australia.

This is mostly true but at that point they would no longer control any of the funds/assets.  Those would be under the control of the liquidator/administrator, who has the power to reverse any transactions which took place during the lookback period preceding the insolvency and force disgorgement of funds from anyone who received inappropriate financial preference or who transferred assets during that period.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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July 14, 2012, 04:06:09 PM
 #62

You wont get your BTC, but you may be able to get USD.... But I highly doubt it. These people are already broke... Patrick and others have already started this.... Once they go bankrupt, you aint getting shiiiiiit....

Remember tho, you wont get the value of btc today or in the future...You'll prolly get the same value of btc when it was hacked, which was around $4.30 if I remember correctly.

Good luck!  Wink

All the more reason to sue.

Right now they are broke because the coins and cash have been moved internally and announced as theft/hacks.  The first thing a lawyer will do is get a police investigation going, which will lead to criminal charges and the recovery of said coins/cash.

Don't believe for a second this wasn't an inside job.  The lack of police involvement pretty well proves it.

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July 14, 2012, 04:14:33 PM
 #63

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All the more reason to sue.

Right now they are broke because the coins and cash have been moved internally and announced as theft/hacks.  The first thing a lawyer will do is get a police investigation going, which will lead to criminal charges and the recovery of said coins/cash.

Don't believe for a second this wasn't an inside job.  The lack of police involvement pretty well proves it.

does it though?

i'm trying to imagine going to the police about something like this. can you imagine trying to explain to them what bitcoin is, how it works, how you were "hacked" and lost money, etc etc.

would introduce nightmarish bureaucratic hell to one's life and wouldn't exactly help "solve the case"

makes no sense to me whatsoever.
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July 14, 2012, 04:23:15 PM
 #64

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All the more reason to sue.

Right now they are broke because the coins and cash have been moved internally and announced as theft/hacks.  The first thing a lawyer will do is get a police investigation going, which will lead to criminal charges and the recovery of said coins/cash.

Don't believe for a second this wasn't an inside job.  The lack of police involvement pretty well proves it.

does it though?

i'm trying to imagine going to the police about something like this. can you imagine trying to explain to them what bitcoin is, how it works, how you were "hacked" and lost money, etc etc.

would introduce nightmarish bureaucratic hell to one's life and wouldn't exactly help "solve the case"

makes no sense to me whatsoever.

Really?  Then have the police tell me they don't understand it, not you. Using this an excuse for lack of police involvement is nonsense.  The police have not become involved because they could get IP logs from ISPs and trace them right back to the inside job.

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July 14, 2012, 05:21:33 PM
 #65

Get MemoryDealers in on the lawsuit, and I think the stack of money would be high enough for the lawyers to care.
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July 14, 2012, 05:28:24 PM
 #66

You wont get your BTC, but you may be able to get USD.... But I highly doubt it. These people are already broke... Patrick and others have already started this.... Once they go bankrupt, you aint getting shiiiiiit....

Remember tho, you wont get the value of btc today or in the future...You'll prolly get the same value of btc when it was hacked, which was around $4.30 if I remember correctly.

Good luck!  Wink

Its better than nothing.

Didn't they say that they still have 70%? "Only" 30% stolen?
Once you drag them to court and they have to file bankruptcy I am sure we will get nothing, or in any case way less than 70%.
So how is that better?

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July 14, 2012, 06:28:33 PM
 #67

Lawyers are going to be very expensive and what if the "investors" don't have any money to make you whole?

You need at least 3 elements for a class/representative action.  A court to certify that there's a cause of action; a court to certify the plaintiffs as a class (you need a minimum number of plaintiffs for this); and a defendant with deep enough pockets to pay the award being sought.  In this particular instance, you're also going to need a court to accept jurisdiction.  You will need to hire local litigation lawyers in each jurisdiction where an action is bring brought and you will need a means of funding that litigation.  

You also need to make absolutely certain that you are suing the right defendant/s. You need to be aware that exemplary damages are awarded very rarely in some jurisdictions and that any such awards tend to be very low.  It's highly possible that you would ultimately receive less money pursuing a representative action than you would taking action to have a liquidator appointed or seeking payment through conventional means.

Quote
If they file for bankruptcy you wont even be able to contact them. The laws on this are very strict in both NZ and Australia.

This is mostly true but at that point they would no longer control any of the funds/assets.  Those would be under the control of the liquidator/administrator, who has the power to reverse any transactions which took place during the lookback period preceding the insolvency and force disgorgement of funds from anyone who received inappropriate financial preference or who transferred assets during that period.


Here's the sad part: All the key concerns are highly aware of all the above, hence them that fretting the lost YOUR money, now there's.

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July 14, 2012, 07:47:41 PM
 #68

I lost nearly $150,000 one day. Pretty much everything. Nothing to do with Bitcoin. The guy went to jail but I was never completely sure if we had the whole truth. I took it on the chin.

Intersango has been a useful service and Amir has done a lot for me and us.

I do think action should go ahead as there is a case for it and it should change attitudes. But I also acknowledge it will be a shame to see the back of Intersango as they've:
- taken risks on my behalf by running the exchange in the grey area of is-it-forex (initially for no fee),
- developing the exchange software,
- working on the Bitcoin code and also
- campaigning in person at events like Occupy

I'm not defending them. I'm just saying it's a shame. These will be the next in a line of public figures with Bitcoin where the community has turned against. A sample size of 2 is a bit early for a worrying trend but divided we are and so easily.

It took a lot more work than this to turn me against the guy who was slated as spending my life savings. For a long time I felt there must have been mitigating circumstances because they were shutdown by an agency with active interests in doing so. I could see a conspiracy theory. To this day I'm not completely sure but I've decided not to break the guys legs even though he's been convicted and done his jail time. The hard thing is it's hard for me to know.  

What is suing going to achieve other than finally show people a precedent that this is a serious matter and things are real.

That was me saying it in a light fashion to save egos. Perhaps I should be blunt. I could say "Screw you. Get off these guys. Let me carry on using my favorite exchange. Let me continue to receive their contributions to the code base and exchange software. Let me enjoy their work at Occupy. Forgive them and shut the crap up just like I did with my life savings."

I feel very qualified to say so because I have gone through the experience and it has changed my entire life. If I hadn't lost that cash I wouldn't be in this damn job, I wouldn't be in the country and I'd be with my girlfriend! But I know burning down the guys house isn't going to change anything.

Now, if suing does change things and get people to take security more seriously then do it, you are doing it from a good place.
But if you look in your heart and you're doing it for vengeance then I suggest step back because that in my experience usually backfires. If necessarily, find a way to do it right.

I've gone out on a limb to say this for you, bear that in mind.

edit:

There might not be any chillingeffect though. Thoughts?
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July 14, 2012, 07:50:24 PM
 #69

I lost nearly $150,000 one day. Pretty much everything. Nothing to do with Bitcoin. The guy went to jail but I was never completely sure if we had the whole truth. I took it on the chin.

Intersango has been a useful service and Amir has done a lot for me and us.

I do think action should go ahead as there is a case for it and it should change attitudes. But I also acknowledge it will be a shame to see the back of Intersango as they've:
- taken risks on my behalf by running the exchange in the grey area of is-it-forex (initially for no fee),
- developing the exchange software,
- working on the Bitcoin code and also
- campaigning in person at events like Occupy

I'm not defending them. I'm just saying it's a shame. These will be the next in a line of public figures with Bitcoin where the community has turned against. A sample size of 2 is a bit early for a worrying trend but divided we are and so easily.

It took a lot more work than this to turn me against the guy who was slated as spending my life savings. For a long time I felt there must have been mitigating circumstances because they were shutdown by an agency with active interests in doing so. I could see a conspiracy theory. To this day I'm not completely sure but I've decided not to break the guys legs even though he's been convicted and done his jail time. The hard thing is it's hard for me to know. 

What is suing going to achieve other than finally show people a precedent that this is a serious matter and things are real.

That was me saying it in a light fashion to save egos. Perhaps I should be blunt. I could say "Screw you. Get off these guys. Let me carry on using my favorite exchange. Let me continue to receive their contributions to the code base and exchange software. Let me enjoy their work at Occupy. Forgive them and shut the crap up just like I did with my life savings."

I feel very qualified to say so because I have gone through the experience and it has changed my entire life. If I hadn't lost that cash I wouldn't be in this damn job, I wouldn't be in the country and I'd be with my girlfriend! But I know burning down the guys house isn't going to change anything.

Now, if suing does change things and get people to take security more seriously then do it, you are doing it from a good place.
But if you look in your heart and you're doing it for vengeance then I suggest step back because that in my experience usually backfires. If necessarily, find a way to do it right.

I've gone out on a limb to say this for you, bear that in mind.

I want my money.

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July 14, 2012, 07:56:37 PM
 #70

You wont get your BTC, but you may be able to get USD.... But I highly doubt it. These people are already broke... Patrick and others have already started this.... Once they go bankrupt, you aint getting shiiiiiit....

Remember tho, you wont get the value of btc today or in the future...You'll prolly get the same value of btc when it was hacked, which was around $4.30 if I remember correctly.

Good luck!  Wink

Its better than nothing.

Didn't they say that they still have 70%? "Only" 30% stolen?
Once you drag them to court and they have to file bankruptcy I am sure we will get nothing, or in any case way less than 70%.
So how is that better?



They probably aren't gonna be using client funds for legal defense against said clients, that would land them in an even bigger pile of shit and open the door for a criminal investigation.
 


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July 14, 2012, 08:07:16 PM
 #71

I lost nearly $150,000 one day. Pretty much everything. Nothing to do with Bitcoin. The guy went to jail but I was never completely sure if we had the whole truth. I took it on the chin.

Intersango has been a useful service and Amir has done a lot for me and us.

I do think action should go ahead as there is a case for it and it should change attitudes. But I also acknowledge it will be a shame to see the back of Intersango as they've:
- taken risks on my behalf by running the exchange in the grey area of is-it-forex (initially for no fee),
- developing the exchange software,
- working on the Bitcoin code and also
- campaigning in person at events like Occupy

I'm not defending them. I'm just saying it's a shame. These will be the next in a line of public figures with Bitcoin where the community has turned against. A sample size of 2 is a bit early for a worrying trend but divided we are and so easily.

It took a lot more work than this to turn me against the guy who was slated as spending my life savings. For a long time I felt there must have been mitigating circumstances because they were shutdown by an agency with active interests in doing so. I could see a conspiracy theory. To this day I'm not completely sure but I've decided not to break the guys legs even though he's been convicted and done his jail time. The hard thing is it's hard for me to know.  

What is suing going to achieve other than finally show people a precedent that this is a serious matter and things are real.

That was me saying it in a light fashion to save egos. Perhaps I should be blunt. I could say "Screw you. Get off these guys. Let me carry on using my favorite exchange. Let me continue to receive their contributions to the code base and exchange software. Let me enjoy their work at Occupy. Forgive them and shut the crap up just like I did with my life savings."

I feel very qualified to say so because I have gone through the experience and it has changed my entire life. If I hadn't lost that cash I wouldn't be in this damn job, I wouldn't be in the country and I'd be with my girlfriend! But I know burning down the guys house isn't going to change anything.

Now, if suing does change things and get people to take security more seriously then do it, you are doing it from a good place.
But if you look in your heart and you're doing it for vengeance then I suggest step back because that in my experience usually backfires. If necessarily, find a way to do it right.

I've gone out on a limb to say this for you, bear that in mind.

edit:

There might not be any chillingeffect though. Thoughts?

Im with you on this one. Ive lost substantial amounts of money, not quite as much as yoursel but the term "shit happens" springs to mind. Its all relative, leaving massive amounts of funds in a place like this is obviously risky as hackers see the reward as monumental when they know fine well fools will try and make easy money.

I honestly think this is a waste of time. If for instance this was an inside job do people honestly think they wouldnt be smart enough to cover there tracks? Its what we do. Police wouldnt have a hope of uncovering anything.. Never mind proving anything.
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July 14, 2012, 08:10:22 PM
 #72

I lost nearly $150,000 one day. Pretty much everything. Nothing to do with Bitcoin. The guy went to jail but I was never completely sure if we had the whole truth. I took it on the chin.

Intersango has been a useful service and Amir has done a lot for me and us.

I do think action should go ahead as there is a case for it and it should change attitudes. But I also acknowledge it will be a shame to see the back of Intersango as they've:
- taken risks on my behalf by running the exchange in the grey area of is-it-forex (initially for no fee),
- developing the exchange software,
- working on the Bitcoin code and also
- campaigning in person at events like Occupy

I'm not defending them. I'm just saying it's a shame. These will be the next in a line of public figures with Bitcoin where the community has turned against. A sample size of 2 is a bit early for a worrying trend but divided we are and so easily.

It took a lot more work than this to turn me against the guy who was slated as spending my life savings. For a long time I felt there must have been mitigating circumstances because they were shutdown by an agency with active interests in doing so. I could see a conspiracy theory. To this day I'm not completely sure but I've decided not to break the guys legs even though he's been convicted and done his jail time. The hard thing is it's hard for me to know.  

What is suing going to achieve other than finally show people a precedent that this is a serious matter and things are real.

That was me saying it in a light fashion to save egos. Perhaps I should be blunt. I could say "Screw you. Get off these guys. Let me carry on using my favorite exchange. Let me continue to receive their contributions to the code base and exchange software. Let me enjoy their work at Occupy. Forgive them and shut the crap up just like I did with my life savings."

I feel very qualified to say so because I have gone through the experience and it has changed my entire life. If I hadn't lost that cash I wouldn't be in this damn job, I wouldn't be in the country and I'd be with my girlfriend! But I know burning down the guys house isn't going to change anything.

Now, if suing does change things and get people to take security more seriously then do it, you are doing it from a good place.
But if you look in your heart and you're doing it for vengeance then I suggest step back because that in my experience usually backfires. If necessarily, find a way to do it right.

I've gone out on a limb to say this for you, bear that in mind.

edit:

There might not be any chillingeffect though. Thoughts?

Thanks for your report. I can feel your pain as I am in the same place that you were.

Mainly, I want my money. I mean once I'll have my money I wont have any grief toward anyone.

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July 14, 2012, 08:47:45 PM
 #73

Tihan said their fund will already be pursuing legal action against the consultancy. And the consultancy aren't the owners and don't have assets anyway.

Legal action is needed against Tihan and "wendon" (the mysterious owner, Tihan is supposedly a middle-man according to patrick). Both the venture capital fund and the bitcoinica legal entity in new zealand should be the focus, ultimately it was their responsibility which they psssed on to the consultancy. And, they actually have the assets to cover the losses (they also invested $500k in coinLabs).

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July 14, 2012, 09:51:05 PM
 #74

The dollars and Bitcoins owed by Bitcoinica to their depositors were not destroyed nor squandered. They still exist, merely their possessors are illegitimate. This means that it is possible to repossess them. Until they are returned, the rights of the depositors are being violated, even though it is unclear who is to what extent responsible for it. Even if I personally did not care whether my money is returned, I still want to live in a world where property rights are respected. This requires enforcement.

There exists a perception of uncertainty about the ability of the legal system to enforce property rights with respect to Bitcoin, and this discourages people from using Bitcoin, thinking that fiat currencies like dollars or the euro are "safer". While I don't think that's true, based on my research it appears to be a very common perception. A legal precedent can be beneficial for the future of Bitcoin. If we don't do it now with Bitcoinica, eventually someone else will do it in some other case in the future, when someone else is a victim. But making a precedent now can make it easier for this future victim, or even prevent them from becoming victims in the first place.

I personally as an anarchocapitalist think that the prison system is retarded. The victims are required to pay, via taxes, for the food and lodgings of the people that harmed them, while the perpetrators cannot work to repay the debt. However, whether people go to prison or not is to a large extent determined by the state, not by the victims. The victims and witnesses are often required to participate in criminal proceedings whether they want or not.

However, putting people into prison is an entirely different issue than enforcement of property rights. I want the latter but not the former. Not only for me, not only for Bitcoin users, but for everyone.
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July 14, 2012, 09:59:16 PM
 #75

Tihan said their fund will already be pursuing legal action against the consultancy. And the consultancy aren't the owners and don't have assets anyway.

Legal action is needed against Tihan and "wendon" (the mysterious owner, Tihan is supposedly a middle-man according to patrick). Both the venture capital fund and the bitcoinica legal entity in new zealand should be the focus, ultimately it was their responsibility which they psssed on to the consultancy. And, they actually have the assets to cover the losses (they also invested $500k in coinLabs).

It's actually not clear that $500,000 investment in CoinLab by Draper Associates and others intersects with Bitcoinica in any way.  In fact, there's a post somewhere (I'll try to find it) which says that Bitcoinica approached CoinLab for help after the Linode hack and they were unable to assist, which suggests that the investment group which is the limited partner in Bitcoinica is another group for which Tihan finds investments (this isn't at all uncommon in the world of VC).

While in the US you can "sue anyone for anything", that's not universally true elsewhere.  It's absolutely vital that if people want to litigate this they consult experienced litigation lawyers in the appropriate jurisdictions.  It's not simply a matter of "pick a defendant, any defendant".  It's also important to take into account that costs awards in some countries are only a proportion of the actual costs spent on litigation - you can still be out of pocket financially even if you prevail in court.  The cost of suing multiple defendants across multiple jurisdictions will not be small and the process will not be a rapid one.

Quote
They still exist, merely their possessors are illegitimate. This means that it is possible to repossess them. Until they are returned, the rights of the depositors are being violated, even though it is unclear who is to what extent responsible for it. Even if I personally did not care whether my money is returned, I still want to live in a world where property rights are respected. This requires enforcement.

I think that one of the reasons people have been willing to write off losses in the past is a desire to avoid their transactions coming under legal scrutiny.  Making a legally enforceable claim involves identifying yourself, and some people would rather forfeit their funds than do that.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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July 14, 2012, 10:14:56 PM
 #76

Intersango has been a useful service and Amir has done a lot for me and us.

I do think action should go ahead as there is a case for it and it should change attitudes. But I also acknowledge it will be a shame to see the back of Intersango as they've:
- taken risks on my behalf by running the exchange in the grey area of is-it-forex (initially for no fee),
- developing the exchange software,
- working on the Bitcoin code and also
- campaigning in person at events like Occupy

I'm not defending them. I'm just saying it's a shame. These will be the next in a line of public figures with Bitcoin where the community has turned against. A sample size of 2 is a bit early for a worrying trend but divided we are and so easily.

This is a great post.

Right now I'm sitting on the sidelines - I have nothing at stake in Bitcoinica, but do use Intersango on a regular basis. Right now, what Bitcoin needs to grow and succeed is a) people willing to put effort and wisdom into making Bitcoin usable and trusted, and b) people willing to take that trust and build on it. Yes, there's "real money" at stake, but at the same time that "real money" is based on a platform of openness and accountability.

IMHO, underscoring Bitcoin with lawsuits *will* increase accountability (why wasn't Bitcoinica open sourced? why is info on most sites' security practices and legal statuses still so hard to find?), but it's going to require some *very* dedicated and passionate people to step up to that. The question is where are they going to come from?

My own opinion is that 'shit happens'. I wish BC hadn't bothered taking on such a risk (as, I guess, do they), but that's the shit Bitcoin is in.

What does it mean for the future of Bitcoin? I have no idea - but I'm certainly more wary about telling other people how great it is. Relying on  a small number of decent services is a dangerous position to be in.

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July 14, 2012, 10:23:37 PM
 #77

Lawyers are going to be very expensive and what if the "investors" don't have any money to make you whole?

Thats what I plan to find out, and to find who can be considered criminally liable for the latest hack.

The tragedy of this route is that on the one hand it's the only active route that bitcoinica users can pursue at this point, but on the other hand I think it reduces the odds of anyone getting anything back.

Also reduces the odds anyone will ever make a competitor to Mt.Gox if there is a history of them being sued into destitution.
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July 14, 2012, 10:33:52 PM
 #78

While in the US you can "sue anyone for anything", that's not universally true elsewhere.  It's absolutely vital that if people want to litigate this they consult experienced litigation lawyers in the appropriate jurisdictions.  It's not simply a matter of "pick a defendant, any defendant".  It's also important to take into account that costs awards in some countries are only a proportion of the actual costs spent on litigation - you can still be out of pocket financially even if you prevail in court.  The cost of suing multiple defendants across multiple jurisdictions will not be small and the process will not be a rapid one.
The lawyer I contacted works for an internationally established company with offices all around the world and experience with dealing with financial / banking lawsuits.

I think that one of the reasons people have been willing to write off losses in the past is a desire to avoid their transactions coming under legal scrutiny.  Making a legally enforceable claim involves identifying yourself, and some people would rather forfeit their funds than do that.
That's all fine. Those people can still use other ways of attempting to enforce their claims if they believe it is worth it. But eventually there will be a sufficient demand for more "official" enforcement methods.
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July 14, 2012, 10:45:58 PM
 #79

Quote
...but I'm certainly more wary about telling other people how great it is.

Exactly!

Quote
I think that one of the reasons people have been willing to write off losses in the past is a desire to avoid their transactions coming under legal scrutiny.  Making a legally enforceable claim involves identifying yourself, and some people would rather forfeit their funds than do that.

And the next scammers/hackers know it! And the ones that follow them. And then the ones that follow them. Ad infinitum.

Quote
It's also important to take into account that costs awards in some countries are only a proportion of the actual costs spent on litigation - you can still be out of pocket financially even if you prevail in court.  The cost of suing multiple defendants across multiple jurisdictions will not be small and the process will not be a rapid one.

The above being true, makes the below that much more not worth it.

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Tihan said their fund will already be pursuing legal action against the consultancy. And the consultancy aren't the owners and don't have assets anyway.

Thus, once again, only the lawyers will prevail, whether they're paid in dollars, euros, bitcoins or alpaca socks.

~Bruno~
BadBitcoin (James Sutton)
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July 14, 2012, 10:48:34 PM
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...but I'm certainly more wary about telling other people how great it is.

Exactly!

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I think that one of the reasons people have been willing to write off losses in the past is a desire to avoid their transactions coming under legal scrutiny.  Making a legally enforceable claim involves identifying yourself, and some people would rather forfeit their funds than do that.

And the next scammers/hackers know it! And the ones that follow them. And then the ones that follow them. Ad infinitum.

Quote
It's also important to take into account that costs awards in some countries are only a proportion of the actual costs spent on litigation - you can still be out of pocket financially even if you prevail in court.  The cost of suing multiple defendants across multiple jurisdictions will not be small and the process will not be a rapid one.

The above being true, makes the below that much more not worth it.

Quote
Tihan said their fund will already be pursuing legal action against the consultancy. And the consultancy aren't the owners and don't have assets anyway.

Thus, once again, only the lawyers will prevail, whether they're paid in dollars, euros, bitcoins or alpaca socks.

~Bruno~


alpaca socks would be nice, although dollars would be preferred.

Take a look at my  machine learning/economics/engineering blog!
www.learningann.wordpress.com
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