Black Arrow Bitcoin Mining Battle: Who’s Telling the Truth?

Journalist:
September 9, 2014

Yesterday, CCN published an article on the accusations that Black Arrow is censoring their customer-base on the bitcointalk.org forums. Along with that, an accusation also tipped CCN off about a Black Arrow miner catching fire. By following the sources provided by the accuser, it was shown that the accuser was indeed telling the truth and that there was a reason for suspicion.

Out of journalistic practice and integrity, CCN contacted Black Arrow to receive quotes and further explanation from the company side. Alex B of the Black Arrow Team, specifically the sales side of the business, responded with quotes explaining their actions and perspective from a company standpoint.

Both the quotes of the accuser, along with the evidence they provided, and the quotes from Black Arrow were published side-by-side. The accusers provided more evidence than the company, the article’s tone was unbiased, but the argument was leaning in favor of the allegations.

The article clearly outlines who’s saying what, but who’s telling the truth?

[divider] CCN [/divider]

The Allegations

Let’s go back to the beginning. On September 21, 2013, Black Arrow opened their web-store and began taking preorders. They promised the Bitcoin mining hardware would be delivered by the end of February 2014.

The miners were not ready to ship by that time, and were delayed by another six months. Because of this, customers that preordered the hardware wanted a refund. It looks like Black Arrow issued some, but not all.

This refund accusation is a fact. On March 5, 2014, Black Arrow visited the forum ecointalk.net and announced that they will not be able to refund everyone at the time. It was a thread moderated by the Black Arrow team, but was deleted. However, a website called “The Wayback Machine” archived the announcement. It can be seen below.

It was then promised that refunds would be given by May, in a simple and direct post in the same thread.

To this day, users claim they have not received refunds. In fact, many users claim they filed for a refund, get ignored and receive their miner regardless. Once they receive the miner, they claim Black Arrow makes it impossible to send it back for a refund.

Now, the customers are claiming to be deleted from forums. Many of the people that spoke with CCN about being removed would like to remain anonymous as they claim Black Arrow has supposedly contacted the proper authorities against them. Many of them are highly active on the Black Arrow forums, often deterring people from buying any Black Arrow hardware. Black Arrow claims that they suspect these people are being paid by a competing company.

“I am one of the people accused of being paid by another company to post about them,” one anonymous user said. “I would like to state that this is untrue and I have never been paid by another ASIC manufacturer to post about any other ASIC manufacturer.”

Along with this, there are further allegations that one of the X3 miners caught fire. The user who had the issue even provided pictures, published by CCN. There’s also a question that the PSUs in the X3 miners Black Arrow manufactured are counterfeit as seen in this picture.

These are all the allegations against Black Arrow, with evidence to back up the majority of them. Some are debatable but for the most part the screen-captures and hold proof.

The Black Arrow Responses

There are two sides to every story; that’s no doubt. The question is: which side of the story has the most evidence to back up their claim.

These are the responses from Black Arrow on a few of the different allegations. No evidence is provided except for a few pictures of the Black Arrow assembly line. These are quotes direct from Alex B of the sales team, not the director, as was a common misconception with the previous article.

Censorship

In regards to the deleting of posts, this was the original statement from Black Arrow:

“We are only deleting posts made by people paid by competition mostly because they started posting personal data of some our management team. We suspect that these persons are paid by competition as they have not purchased from us but they find the resources to be 12-18 hours on the forum trying to put us out of business. 80-100% of their posts are only in Black Arrow’s thread. They will pick up on anything we do and nothing that we do is good enough. We have noticed that these people are very active on these forums since we have announced our 14 nm chip giving us one more reason to suspect that something is fishy here.”

Black Arrow claims to believe that the forum members deterring business and doxing team members are paid by competing companies.

When asked for proof, this was the response:

“We do not have any proof that these persons are working for the competition. As we said, we suspect from looking at their posts and of the dedication that they try to push us down.”

Miners Catching Fire

In regards to the miner that caught fire, a highly problematic and unexpected feature, this was Black Arrow’s response:

“Regarding the miners catching fire, we have been unable to make any miner to catch fire. We have indeed reproduced the issues with power supplies but after carrying extensive testing, no miners have caught fire. If you examine the pictures posted by our customers it can clearly be seen that there is only smoke and exploded capacitors…”

“We are still running tests to see if there is anything with the board and we went to the CE certification team to examine it as well.”

This statement leads to nowhere. One person claims to have a miner catch fire and provides pictures; Black Arrow claims that they cannot recreate it, and they are looking into the matter.

Counterfeit PSUs

Of course, the CE certification comment leads directly into the supposedly counterfeit PSUs used in the X3 miner. When asked about whether the PSUs they used were counterfeit or not, Black Arrow responded with this:

“The power supplies were sold to us as certified and we believed them. There are so many parts in the miner, it is impossible to be sure that all of them are genuine. Sometime it happens that one of the batches is not ok, not all of them.”

“We are currently investigating what happens with the power supply. Now, we went to CE commission ourselves for examination.”

What Happens Next?

This section of the article is where there’s a call-to-action written by the author. But there’s no call at all. As a reader, you have two arguments laid out before you: One from the accusers and one from the company. It’s the responsibility of CCN to report the facts and each side of the story that we have, straight down the middle. It’s the responsibility of the reader to make a decision on what they do with their money next.

So who’s telling the truth?

That’s not for CCN to decide. That’s for you to decide. The collected evidence is laid on the table for you to make your decision.

As the story continues to develop and unfold, CCN will be following it and reporting any new uncovered evidence. We encourage you to send us any anonymous tips you may have on the matter as we move forward. Allegations with 0 proof are not usable.

Featured images from Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): December 17, 2017 04:45

Clay Michael Gillespie @thelivingaspect

Clay Gillespie a writer and reporter for many different platforms across the tech industry. He holds a B.S. in Public Relations from Ball State University, and freelances for different clients in technology and cryptocurrency. For more information, visit his personal website, claygillespie.com.