An unconfirmed chat transcript supposedly detailing conversations between AMT CEO Joshua Zipkin and several customers has “Joshua” admitting to several breaches of AMT’s stated Terms of Service. The leaked transcripts of these chats indicate that Zipkin is knowingly ignoring the Miner Protection Plan (MPP), attempting to ship “rude” customers shipments missing PSUs, and offering $5,000 to a customer to hack BitcoinTalk. For months now, AMT customers have been seeking refunds for half-year late hardware that originally cost $6,000 and is now being sold for ~$1,000. When AMT finally did finally start shipping devices, some customers received their Bitcoin miners sans PSU, a mysterious but clearly deliberate happenstance that is explained in disturbingly accurate detail by the chat. AMT CEO Joshua Zipkin has refused to comment on the ordeal in general and has even more specifically refused to deny the Skype chat’s veracity.
A leaked Skype chat was sent to me by Joe Snuffy, who is in touch with the person who leaked this data. For his part, Joshua Zipkin claims that he’s being framed (see his rebuttal below), but if this chat is legitimate, the information contained within is quite incriminating to say the least. Gleb Gamow, Phinneaus Gage’s alternate account, has a post in the AMT self-moderated official thread stating that he posted the Skype chat, but as the thread is self-moderated, the Skype chat has long since been deleted from the thread.
Joshua tried to ship “naughty” customers their miners without PSUs in order to cut costs. He only stopped once his lawyers told him it could end up relating to a “faulty hardware claim.” He also isn’t sending units with tracking numbers because they’re “too lazy to do that.” He also claims that due to his decision to ship about 70 units without PSUs that the miners got held up in Hong Kong.
[7/30/2014 10:37:33 AM] Joshua: we halted them in Hong Kong because we made like a naughty and nice list of clients right and that’s how we formed the batches. The naughty list didn’t have PSUs.
[7/30/2014 10:37:59 AM] Joshua: the lawyers said we had to ship with PSUs so we bought PSUs and have been installing them in all day in Hong Kong
[8/6/2014 2:42:52 PM] Joshua: cause we were going to ship several.. like 70 without PSUs cause [honestly] we don’t have [the] cash
[8/6/2014 2:43:11 PM] Joshua: the lawyers said it [could] relate to a faulty-hardware claim
Later in the conversation, “Joshua” states that he’s deliberately not honoring the company’s promised Miner Protection Plan. (MPP) The miner protection plan states that AMT will upgrade your miner at no cost to you if your miner becomes unprofitable. He goes on to say that he’s only going to focus on working with “nicer clients.” “Naughty clients” that received their AMT hardware sans PSU are still getting the run-around from AMT. It has been suggested that AMT is intentionally shipping PSUs separately, so that when the “naughty clients” install the PSUs in their AMT machines, their warranties are voided. AMT customers that are still waiting for their PSUs or refunds have pointed out that AMT has voided their own Terms and Services already with many of their recent actions.
Other parts of the alleged chat reveal the chat’s “Joshua” to be a racist, vindictive individual. At the very beginning of the conversation, “Joshua” starts by asking a customer to hack BitcoinTalk for $5,000. BitcoinTalk has been hacked in the past by “The Hole Seekers.” He also reveals his intentions to sue the more vocal AMT detractors.
Joshua has also claimed that AMT is working closely with a number of ASIC manufacturing companies, but when reached for comment, one ASIC manufacturing company replied that their company “has absolutely no commercial or other relations with Joshua other than exchanging a few words at the different Bitcoin conferences.” One company even went so far as to say that Joshua’s statements are making them feel very uncomfortable.
I always try and get in touch with people who I’m writing about, especially when something negative is being written about them. I sent the following message to Joshua Zipkin.
This message is for Joshua Zipkin. I’m looking to ask you a few questions about a story I’m doing about your company. Someone has a large amount of information on illegal and disturbing things you’ve said on the Skype chat. If you’d like to defend yourself before this information is published, please get in touch with me immediately. I’ll be working on the article more tomorrow (Tuesday) and presumably submitting it to my editor by the end of the day.
Joshua received my inquiry for comment and replied to my editor with the following:
We just received a very disturbing message from the email below, is this person associated with your news site?
What the writer is referring to is a falsified chat which has been spread around the forum by a troll named Bruno Kucinskas who constantly makes antisemitic, racial and [prejudice] allegations against myself and our company and has done acts like this daily basis, almost everyday for the last 8 months. They’ve pushed us to the point where we actually have to release tracking numbers on our thread [so that] they shut up. I never participated in any Skype chat. Again, I never wrote, attended, or participated in that fake chat.
Someone spent a lot of time on this, and [they’re] going to great lengths to hurt our reputation by creating some fake Skype chat and claiming that I wrote there. I think this is because we are releasing our new miners. Our reputation is bad enough due to the harassment we receive every day on that forum. We don’t need it from a reputable crypto news site as well. We’ve understood there are few other people involved that work in the miner hosting arena who are trying hurt our rep, but we don’t know who they are exactly. We are due to launch our hosting next week, maybe that’s what brought this on Bruno’s more frequent attacks. Because it’s [a] less than $1 per Ghs hosted-solution could be looked [at] as a threat maybe.
We have new rack mount miners shipping next week [with] universal casing [that] is standardized and contains swappable modules for different chips. Our miners work with be200 as well. We have some real stories if you’d like a few, but this skype chat in questions is just not real, and its been created to try and hurt our rep either by this Bruno guy (who was spreading it everywhere) or a few other guys which are involved in one of a hosting co. Or the lead plaintiff in a [lawsuit] against us who goes to such lengths now and then as well. We’ve heard rumors that a hosting co was hiring trolls to write about us, but we don’t which hosting co it was.
Please let me know if the email below is one of your writers or if this is some joke.
The cryptocurrency market is cutthroat, and AMT isn’t the first mining company to claim that competitors have hired shill accounts to spread FUD. However, a falsified Skype chat seems like quite a great length to go to in order to ruin a company’s name. One doesn’t need to be a Forensic Document Examiner to see the consistency in writing style between Joshua’s email and Joshua’s alleged account within the chat, not that that proves anything in and of itself.
Editor’s Note: Joshua Zipkin declined to provide an official on-the-record comment to CCN regarding the Skype Chat’s veracity, despite referring to the chat as fake in his first email. There are a handful of reasons why someone in such a situation would do that.
Update: Joshua has removed the MPP from the AMT website. The link in this article referenced where the MPP was posted and may still be seen on Archive.org’s copy of the MPP page.
Leave a comment below or discuss in our forums and let the world know if you have received your AMT equipment, if the PSU was missing, or what you think about this mess in general.
Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with AMT in any way.
Last modified: August 28, 2014 20:52 UTC