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Author Topic: Statement about the suspect of recent Bitcoinica hack  (Read 124627 times)
zhoutong
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July 26, 2012, 11:55:51 AM
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The important truths

Truth 1: My $40K LR transaction is legitimate at AurumXchange, associated with a friend in Singapore.
Truth 2: All my assets at Mt. Gox, my wallet balances, my recent Bitcoin transactions and the 5,000 BTC compensation are from legitimate sources.
Truth 3: I had no knowledge of myself being suspicious until the public statement was posted by AurumXchange. There's no possible way of me being involved in the investigation earlier.
Truth 4: Even though there's evidence showing that I'm linked to this hack, I have absolutely no relationship with all previous hacks.
Truth 5: If either AurumXchange or Mt. Gox had communicated their investigation with me earlier, there wouldn't be so many wrong interpretations and assumptions and this thread could have come out much earlier.
Truth 6: I didn't steal the money.

Who is Chen Jianhai?

Chen Jianhai is my previous business associate. He was very familiar with credit card fraud and by my observations he's quite active in financial black markets. He didn't know much technical stuff personally but he has many technical people working with him everyday. He heard about Bitcoin from me last year from a random chat, and I have not communicated with him this year.

Did he admit the wrong-doing?

Surprisingly, yes. He strongly denied at first, but he changed his attitude entirely when I mention that this matter is an international-scale crime, and intelligent netizens from all over the world are actively investigating this matter. And I also told him that the accidentally exposed a bank account number. (He claimed that it was a debit card purchased from black market.)

He used my secret identity because he felt that "it would be impossible to discover the hacker" and "it would be much easier to deny if the suspect account is an insider because you (Zhou Tong) can always distract people from investigating". I have repeatedly said that I have zero tolerance in this matter and I will report all his information, including his real bank account number and address to the police once the official investigation has started.

How did he do it?

He said one of his co-workers was quite active in Chinese Bitcoin community and he had noticed the source code of Bitcoinica being leaked. The reason that he (the technical guy) knew the correlation between the Mt. Gox API key and the LastPass master password remains unknown. I have only communicated this password in-person with Tihan in Chimelong Hotel (Guangzhou) lobby once in February this year and I'm quite sure that no one else has paid any attention to our conversation.

He was unwilling to share more information about the specifics of the hack, but he remembered that he only thought of using my secret identity *after* he was able to withdraw money from Mt. Gox. It was possible that he only withdrew the Bitcoins first, and then a few moments later, the USD.

Also he revealed an important piece of information not mentioned in the public statements: He used the Mt. Gox account of Chris Heaslip, which is a verified account, to deposit some Mt. Gox code and buy Bitcoins with the money, and withdrew all of them. This account's credentials were also in the LastPass account.

In the entire process, he used My Wallet (Blockchain.info) with Tor to access the Bitcoins, and he transferred some Bitcoins to his servers in United States as well. The IP 184.22.31.180 (which was used to access Mt. Gox accounts) is actually zeraba.ddns.info. This is actually a public SSH proxy server for some Chinese users to bypass the national firewall with randomly rotating passwords. He had attempted to access the Mt. Gox accounts with Tor and he failed (note: Mt. Gox bans all Tor exit nodes).

How about the money?

He's a multi-millionaire in China living with a family. I'm not sure how much of his money comes from illegal sources but he has a genuine interest in relic collections and he has made a lot of money from speculating precious collections.

After my warning, he seemed unwilling to return the funds. However, I have threatened him with reporting his information to the police. He later more or less agreed to return the funds to Bitcoinica users, under the condition that Bitcoinica will no longer pursue the case (and Bitcoinica isn't pursuing at the moment) and I keep his other personal information secret.

I'm currently in a moral dilemma because even though I don't have definitive proof that Chen Jianhai is indeed a long-time criminal with an active presence in stolen credit cards and possibly other hacks, it might be worthwhile to pursue with police investigation so that justice can be served. However doing that will significantly delay the claiming process of Bitcoinica and the Chinese police may not be willing or capable to effectively investigate or co-operate in this matter. Otherwise I can always get all the stolen funds from him first. The only evidence in my email account was a credit card fraud case of only a few hundred dollars, which isn't very significant compared to the Bitcoinica hack.

Currently I'm very willing to co-operate with any investigation because this is the only way I can completely prove my innocence. However the non-reponse from Bitcoinica side is indeed worrying. I have gathered some data to estimate the amount that can be recovered from Chen Jianhai:

USD: about $140,000 + $5000 frozen at AurumXchange (under SJ account)
BTC: about 20,000 BTC

There's an unknown amount of funds left in Chris Heaslip's account and I have no way of knowing the exact balance.

It's important to note that the pending $40,000 transaction at AurumXchange is my genuine transaction, so it can be used to offset the USD payment. And also all Bitcoin balances in my Mt. Gox account are mine, and it shouldn't be used to further compensate Bitcoinica customers as well.

However, my previous donation of 5,000 BTC and community donation of 101 BTC were entirely separate from this matter and the claimants can rightfully hold on to the full amount. These funds come from my profits of previous sale at Bitcoinica, and I genuinely feel that Bitcoinica users deserve the early compensation due to them being affected by the inefficiencies of Bitcoinica's operations.

Chen Jianhai was only able to offer the above-mentioned amount due to the cost of his laundering activities and also the significantly lower Bitcoin price when he cashed out. If Bitcoinica or the community wants him to cover the full amount at today's prices, I'm willing to co-operate with any police investigation. But either case, my previous donation should have pretty much covered the difference.

It's up to Bitcoinica to appoint a bank account and also a Bitcoin address so that Chen Jianhai (or possibly I) can return the funds. AurumXchange can either return the $40,000 to me, or send the funds to Bitcoinica's nominated account (in which case another $100,000 will be sent to Bitcoinica from Chen Jianhai or me).

About my situation

I'm not asking him to transfer to me or to anyone else the amount today because it can be illegal to possess such funds until Bitcoinica has provided any written form of authorisation and/or agreement (so that I won't be wronged again because of arranging the return of the stolen funds).

It's important to note that I have been, I am and I will always be standing on the side of Bitcoinica customers, regardless of my position and situation at Bitcoinica. I have absolutely no tolerance of illegal activity of any kind, especially those damaging my personal reputation.

I promise that I have honestly reported the amounts and 100% of those recovered from Chen Jianhai will be returned to Bitcoinica's customers. At the same time, I have to emphasise that Bitcoinica should return the amounts to customers as quickly as possible, so that the company and related people will not get into serious legal troubles. It's my best interest to make Bitcoinica's customers happy so that this issue will not have further impact on my future careers.

I have no problem of either formal police investigation, or returning the funds without police investigation. I would prefer the former so that my name can be cleared, but I guess that some Bitcoinica customers may choose the latter.

Sitenote: I have released an improved design of NameTerrific (https://www.nameterrific.com/), which I finished during my lunch break, until AurumXchange's statement was posted.

Founder of NameTerrific (https://www.nameterrific.com/). Co-founder of CoinJar (https://coinjar.io/)

Donations for my future Bitcoin projects: 19Uk3tiD5XkBcmHyQYhJxp9QHoub7RosVb
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July 26, 2012, 11:59:28 AM
 #2

The important truths

Truth 1: My $40K LR transaction is legitimate at AurumXchange, associated with a friend in Singapore.
Truth 2: All my assets at Mt. Gox, my wallet balances, my recent Bitcoin transactions and the 5,000 BTC compensation are from legitimate sources.
Truth 3: I had no knowledge of myself being suspicious until the public statement was posted by AurumXchange. There's no possible way of me being involved in the investigation earlier.
Truth 4: Even though there's evidence showing that I'm linked to this hack, I have absolutely no relationship with all previous hacks.
Truth 5: If either AurumXchange or Mt. Gox had communicated their investigation with me earlier, there wouldn't be so many wrong interpretations and assumptions and this thread could have come out much earlier.
Truth 6: I didn't steal the money.

Who is Chen Jianhai?

Chen Jianhai is my previous business associate. He was very familiar with credit card fraud and by my observations he's quite active in financial black markets. He didn't know much technical stuff personally but he has many technical people working with him everyday. He heard about Bitcoin from me last year from a random chat, and I have not communicated with him this year.

Did he admit the wrong-doing?

Surprisingly, yes. He strongly denied at first, but he changed his attitude entirely when I mention that this matter is an international-scale crime, and intelligent netizens from all over the world are actively investigating this matter. And I also told him that the accidentally exposed a bank account number. (He claimed that it was a debit card purchased from black market.)

He used my secret identity because he felt that "it would be impossible to discover the hacker" and "it would be much easier to deny if the suspect account is an insider because you (Zhou Tong) can always distract people from investigating". I have repeatedly said that I have zero tolerance in this matter and I will report all his information, including his real bank account number and address to the police once the official investigation has started.

How did he do it?

He said one of his co-workers was quite active in Chinese Bitcoin community and he had noticed the source code of Bitcoinica being leaked. The reason that he (the technical guy) knew the correlation between the Mt. Gox API key and the LastPass master password remains unknown. I have only communicated this password in-person with Tihan in Chimelong Hotel (Guangzhou) lobby once in February this year and I'm quite sure that no one else has paid any attention to our conversation.

He was unwilling to share more information about the specifics of the hack, but he remembered that he only thought of using my secret identity *after* he was able to withdraw money from Mt. Gox. It was possible that he only withdrew the Bitcoins first, and then a few moments later, the USD.

Also he revealed an important piece of information not mentioned in the public statements: He used the Mt. Gox account of Chris Heaslip, which is a verified account, to deposit some Mt. Gox code and buy Bitcoins with the money, and withdrew all of them. This account's credentials were also in the LastPass account.

In the entire process, he used My Wallet (Blockchain.info) with Tor to access the Bitcoins, and he transferred some Bitcoins to his servers in United States as well. The IP 184.22.31.180 (which was used to access Mt. Gox accounts) is actually zeraba.ddns.info. This is actually a public SSH proxy server for some Chinese users to bypass the national firewall with randomly rotating passwords. He had attempted to access the Mt. Gox accounts with Tor and he failed (note: Mt. Gox bans all Tor exit nodes).

How about the money?

He's a multi-millionaire in China living with a family. I'm not sure how much of his money comes from illegal sources but he has a genuine interest in relic collections and he has made a lot of money from speculating precious collections.

After my warning, he seemed unwilling to return the funds. However, I have threatened him with reporting his information to the police. He later more or less agreed to return the funds to Bitcoinica users, under the condition that Bitcoinica will no longer pursue the case (and Bitcoinica isn't pursuing at the moment) and I keep his other personal information secret.

I'm currently in a moral dilemma because even though I don't have definitive proof that Chen Jianhai is indeed a long-time criminal with an active presence in stolen credit cards and possibly other hacks, it might be worthwhile to pursue with police investigation so that justice can be served. However doing that will significantly delay the claiming process of Bitcoinica and the Chinese police may not be willing or capable to effectively investigate or co-operate in this matter. Otherwise I can always get all the stolen funds from him first. The only evidence in my email account was a credit card fraud case of only a few hundred dollars, which isn't very significant compared to the Bitcoinica hack.

Currently I'm very willing to co-operate with any investigation because this is the only way I can completely prove my innocence. However the non-reponse from Bitcoinica side is indeed worrying. I have gathered some data to estimate the amount that can be recovered from Chen Jianhai:

USD: about $140,000 + $5000 frozen at AurumXchange (under SJ account)
BTC: about 20,000 BTC

There's an unknown amount of funds left in Chris Heaslip's account and I have no way of knowing the exact balance.

It's important to note that the pending $40,000 transaction at AurumXchange is my genuine transaction, so it can be used to offset the USD payment. And also all Bitcoin balances in my Mt. Gox account are mine, and it shouldn't be used to further compensate Bitcoinica customers as well.

However, my previous donation of 5,000 BTC and community donation of 101 BTC were entirely separate from this matter and the claimants can rightfully hold on to the full amount. These funds come from my profits of previous sale at Bitcoinica, and I genuinely feel that Bitcoinica users deserve the early compensation due to them being affected by the inefficiencies of Bitcoinica's operations.

Chen Jianhai was only able to offer the above-mentioned amount due to the cost of his laundering activities and also the significantly lower Bitcoin price when he cashed out. If Bitcoinica or the community wants him to cover the full amount at today's prices, I'm willing to co-operate with any police investigation. But either case, my previous donation should have pretty much covered the difference.

It's up to Bitcoinica to appoint a bank account and also a Bitcoin address so that Chen Jianhai (or possibly I) can return the funds. AurumXchange can either return the $40,000 to me, or send the funds to Bitcoinica's nominated account (in which case another $100,000 will be sent to Bitcoinica from Chen Jianhai or me).

About my situation

I'm not asking him to transfer to me or to anyone else the amount today because it can be illegal to possess such funds until Bitcoinica has provided any written form of authorisation and/or agreement (so that I won't be wronged again because of arranging the return of the stolen funds).

It's important to note that I have been, I am and I will always be standing on the side of Bitcoinica customers, regardless of my position and situation at Bitcoinica. I have absolutely no tolerance of illegal activity of any kind, especially those damaging my personal reputation.

I promise that I have honestly reported the amounts and 100% of those recovered from Chen Jianhai will be returned to Bitcoinica's customers. At the same time, I have to emphasise that Bitcoinica should return the amounts to customers as quickly as possible, so that the company and related people will not get into serious legal troubles. It's my best interest to make Bitcoinica's customers happy so that this issue will not have further impact on my future careers.

I have no problem of either formal police investigation, or returning the funds without police investigation. I would prefer the former so that my name can be cleared, but I guess that some Bitcoinica customers may choose the latter.

Sitenote: I have released an improved design of NameTerrific (https://www.nameterrific), which I finished during my lunch break, until AurumXchange's statement was posted.
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July 26, 2012, 12:02:08 PM
 #3

I'd advise you to file a police report

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July 26, 2012, 12:08:48 PM
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At this point I assume police was informed about Zhou.
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July 26, 2012, 12:10:39 PM
 #5

I don't know what to believe anymore. Could be true, but at this point it could be just as likely that it really was Zhoutong, and this is his way of returning the money without outing himself.

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zhoutong
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July 26, 2012, 12:11:08 PM
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I'd advise you to file a police report

If Bitcoinica has not responded to the situation, any police involvement serves no real purpose. I'm at most a victim of defamation.

It's possible to sue Bitcoinica-related entities for not pursuing this matter though.

Founder of NameTerrific (https://www.nameterrific.com/). Co-founder of CoinJar (https://coinjar.io/)

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July 26, 2012, 12:11:09 PM
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That's an interesting turn of events, but at this point I'd strongly advise reporting this to the police, will it be in China or where you reside currently, as it would protect you against problems that may arise later.

The condition of 「Bitcoinica will no longer pursue the case」 is not viable as Bitcoinica will be required to cause legal action if people attack it.

Quote
USD: about $140,000 + $5000 frozen at AurumXchange (under SJ account)
BTC: about 20,000 BTC

I do notice that the amount is significantly low compared to the initially stolen amount, especially in terms of BTC, and I don't see money laundering causing such a large loss.


Finally, by posting this publicly you also cut yourself from the possibility of not "pursuing the case" as doing so would likely result in you being considered accomplice should any involved party (including bitcoinica customer) decide to pursue the case anyway.

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July 26, 2012, 12:13:24 PM
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I got into BTC after Bitconica wasn't around anymore, but the story is so amazing that it got my attention. And keeps getting better, is this the final chapter?

I hope it will have a happy ending with this guy paying everyone back and hopefully restoring Zhou's name and most importantly, Bitcoin's name.

Zhou did you know or suspect of him before today?
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July 26, 2012, 12:14:47 PM
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Zhou did you know or suspect of him before today?

No. I have absolutely no knowledge of the suspicion until today. No one has asked me about this matter either.

Founder of NameTerrific (https://www.nameterrific.com/). Co-founder of CoinJar (https://coinjar.io/)

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July 26, 2012, 12:18:53 PM
 #10

No one has asked me about this matter either.

We actually counted on you being questioned by whoever in Bitcoinica would start legal action. It didn't happen, and for us to open the question directly with you while bypassing Tihan or the Bitcoinica Consultancy directors was awkward.

The most straightforward way was to do a public announce, which was required anyway considering the fact that funds were blocked with AurumXchange was already posted on the forum a few times.

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July 26, 2012, 12:20:24 PM
 #11

I'd advise you to file a police report

Seconding this.  The return of the funds alone will not clear your name.  Only an independent investigation can do that.

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In order to refer an investigation to a foreign law enforcement agency it is necessary to report the matter to your local State or Territory police. Once your local police have exhausted all possible avenues within Australia they can refer the investigation overseas using Interpol Canberra. Members of the public cannot report crimes directly to Interpol or foreign law enforcement. You must report crimes to your local police first.

I still strongly urge you to engage legal representation.  In fact, having the funds returned to a solicitor's trust fund rather than to any account which you personally establish might not be a bad idea.  Waiting around for Bitcoinica to establish a bank account for this purpose seems like something which would only create further delays.  Your solicitor can transfer the funds to them while keep you at arm's length from the receipt of them.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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July 26, 2012, 12:20:56 PM
 #12

That's an interesting turn of events, but at this point I'd strongly advise reporting this to the police, will it be in China or where you reside currently, as it would protect you against problems that may arise later.

The condition of 「Bitcoinica will no longer pursue the case」 is not viable as Bitcoinica will be required to cause legal action if people attack it.

Quote
USD: about $140,000 + $5000 frozen at AurumXchange (under SJ account)
BTC: about 20,000 BTC

I do notice that the amount is significantly low compared to the initially stolen amount, especially in terms of BTC, and I don't see money laundering causing such a large loss.


Finally, by posting this publicly you also cut yourself from the possibility of not "pursuing the case" as doing so would likely result in you being considered accomplice should any involved party (including bitcoinica customer) decide to pursue the case anyway.

F1ex.com charges about 5.6% to 8% for BTC->LR, and usually mixing services charge 1.5%-5%. Also I guess he sold most Bitcoins at about $7. Anyway I will ask him whether he has hidden any money.

Founder of NameTerrific (https://www.nameterrific.com/). Co-founder of CoinJar (https://coinjar.io/)

Donations for my future Bitcoin projects: 19Uk3tiD5XkBcmHyQYhJxp9QHoub7RosVb
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July 26, 2012, 12:23:16 PM
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No one has asked me about this matter either.

We actually counted on you being questioned by whoever in Bitcoinica would start legal action. It didn't happen, and for us to open the question directly with you while bypassing Tihan or the Bitcoinica Consultancy directors was awkward.

The most straightforward way was to do a public announce, which was required anyway considering the fact that funds were blocked with AurumXchange was already posted on the forum a few times.

It's understandable and I don't really blame you on this. However I no longer represent Bitcoinica and I can't do anything on behalf of Bitcoinica. If they don't do anything there won't be any progress until the customers start their legal actions against Bitcoinica.

Founder of NameTerrific (https://www.nameterrific.com/). Co-founder of CoinJar (https://coinjar.io/)

Donations for my future Bitcoin projects: 19Uk3tiD5XkBcmHyQYhJxp9QHoub7RosVb
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July 26, 2012, 12:29:18 PM
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F1ex.com charges about 5.6% to 8% for BTC->LR, and usually mixing services charge 1.5%-5%. Also I guess he sold most Bitcoins at about $7. Anyway I will ask him whether he has hidden any money.

If the guy's a millionaire, I don't see why the only funds he'd have access to are whatever his net profit was from the Mt Gox compromise.

Quote
If they don't do anything there won't be any progress until the customers start their legal actions against Bitcoinica.

I don't think you can speak for Bitcoinica on this.  Charlie has spoken to both Tihan and Patrick in person recently and seems to have more up to date information than any other outsider.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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July 26, 2012, 12:33:28 PM
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Months of mudslinging and you manage to solve the riddle within just a few short hours and you never thought of confronting this mystery millionaire previous business partner before all this came to light ?

Tickle me suprised, VERY SURPRISED.

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July 26, 2012, 12:36:45 PM
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Months of mudslinging and you manage to solve the riddle within just a few short hours and you never thought of confronting this mystery millionaire previous business partner before all this came to light ?

Tickle me suprised, VERY SURPRISED.

Never. Without AurumXchange and Mt. Gox providing the information they control, I have no way of providing my part of evidence.


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July 26, 2012, 12:43:57 PM
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F1ex.com charges about 5.6% to 8% for BTC->LR, and usually mixing services charge 1.5%-5%. Also I guess he sold most Bitcoins at about $7. Anyway I will ask him whether he has hidden any money.

If the guy's a millionaire, I don't see why the only funds he'd have access to are whatever his net profit was from the Mt Gox compromise.


I'm hoping to request more. But he's quite uncooperative. I would suggest Bitcoinica to get police involved.

Founder of NameTerrific (https://www.nameterrific.com/). Co-founder of CoinJar (https://coinjar.io/)

Donations for my future Bitcoin projects: 19Uk3tiD5XkBcmHyQYhJxp9QHoub7RosVb
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July 26, 2012, 12:44:26 PM
 #18

wow.
I am just.. speechless..

Now would be a good timing for some bitcoin[ica] consultancy people to pop up?

Zhou, you realize that it won't be as easy as to simply return the money and all is done? Even if everyone is paid 100% in the end, there will be people who still accuse you of having stolen it and then returned, when the evidence showed up.
I understand you mostly are worried about your reputation at this point. Act accordingly!

Ente
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July 26, 2012, 12:47:29 PM
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I'm hoping to request more. But he's quite uncooperative. I would suggest Bitcoinica to get police involved.

Oh god.  Not yet another decision by committee which can only be discussed during a one hour window each day because they're all in different time zones and no-one regards being able to communicate with each other in real time as essential to running a business.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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July 26, 2012, 12:50:06 PM
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F1ex.com charges about 5.6% to 8% for BTC->LR, and usually mixing services charge 1.5%-5%. Also I guess he sold most Bitcoins at about $7. Anyway I will ask him whether he has hidden any money.

If the guy's a millionaire, I don't see why the only funds he'd have access to are whatever his net profit was from the Mt Gox compromise.


I'm hoping to request more. But he's quite uncooperative. I would suggest Bitcoinica to get police involved.

Zhou, your best bet to clear your name would be to file official character impersonation/identity theft with the chinese police and provide them with all evidence which would be the easier for you to get this specific person into court where you would be able to extract the secondary charges of theft aswell.

Any court would take the first crime more seriously at first and the second offense can be slapped on top.

...In the land of the stale, the man with one share is king... >> Clipse

We pay miners at 130% PPS | Signup here : Bonus PPS Pool (Please read OP to understand the current process)
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