The Bitcoin community has been known for its fair share of drama, and perhaps this is to be expected of such a dynamic new technological space. The most recent public event shaking the Bitcoin world centers on OKCoin, a Chinese Bitcoin exchange many suspect of being fraudulent and possibly insolvent, and the beloved Bitcoin Jesus, Roger Ver, who has faced some critics after having vouched for Mt. Gox before the troubled Bitcoin exchange went bankrupt.
To be sure, the evidence damning OKCoin as inept and/or corrupt players seems obvious enough. For instance, the company’s CEO once proclaimed himself “The China King Of Bitcoin,” which no doubt hints of, at least, delusions of grandeur. As we’ll see later, other behaviors raise suspicions about the firm, starting with a blog the company posted 23 May:
OKCoin regrets to announce that it will no longer be managing the domain Bitcoin.com due to a contractual conflict with its owner – Mr. Roger Ver.
On May 5, Ripple Labs Inc. was fined $700,000 for reasons including “failing to file, or untimely filed, suspicious activity reports” relating to transactions with Mr. Ver. “Open source information indicates that this individual, an investor in Ripple Labs, has a prior three-count federal felony conviction for dealing in, mailing, and storing explosive devices and had been sentenced to prison.” http://www.fincen.gov/news_room/nr/pdf/Ripple_Facts.pdf
In light of the recent FinCen actions against Mr. Ver, OKCoin has taken the stance that it can no longer make contractual payments to Mr. Ver and therefore must end its current version of its management contract of Bitcoin.com. To continue management of Bitcoin.com, OKCoin must face a different counterpart.
As a result, OKCoin has regretfully decided to bring to public attention this matter. In the course of managing the domain Bitcoin.com, OKCoin always sought to keep a neutral stance regarding the contents of the site, working in collaboration with peers in the industry to present a fun, factual, and balanced introduction to Bitcoin.
In conclusion, OKCoin will no longer be managing Bitcoin.com and would like to thank the community for the support of our business and of the wider industry.
The company had originally taken the management duties over from Blockchain.info. Ver quickly made public a DropBox link where evidence accusing OKCoin of breach of contract, among other disconcerting behaviors, can be read.
A little background into the original terms of the relationship is given:
More details on the initial arrangement:
[Editor’s Note: View the Link to the above transaction on the blockchain.]
Non-payment becomes a recurring issue for Ver:
The end is nigh:
Ver draws his conclusion:
I’m Damian, I was Product Manager (UX) at OKCoin at the time the company took over custody of bitcoin.com. I can confirm the OKCoin statement is deliberately misleading.
The intention of the CEO, Star Xu, was to use bitcoin.com to advertise OKCoin. I know this because he rejected my first wireframe and asked me to add 2 links to OKCoin, one on the homepage just below the navbar and another just a few hundred pixels down. I still have the wireframes. Xu’s micromanagement of this project was among the reasons I left weeks later.
There was no plan for quality content at any point. No plan to add value to the bitcoin ecosystem. There was only a plan to advertise OKCoin.
As Shitco.in notes, “Now OKC is about 3.5 months behind in payment, or $35,000 USD. Shouldn’t be much of an issue considering they GAVE AWAY $1.6 million worth of BTC just months earlier!”
Before the drama ensued, OKCoin was best known for its Chinese Bitcoin exchange and P2P lending services. Now, many voices in the community are crying foul and suggest people move their money out of the exchange over the dispute until further confidence can be restored in OKCoin’s competence and solvency.