Crypto payments processor AtomicPay.io’s front-end services were unavailable for a period of almost 8 hours this weekend due to a trademark claim by a company called Vertbase.
Vertbase is a money services provider that sells cryptocurrency, while AtomicPay is a non-custodial crypto payments solution for merchants. CEO Benz Rif recently gave an interview to CCN.com, and informed us that he’d experienced problems with cloud infrastructure provider Digital Ocean. He also made a statement on the episode.
Digital Ocean said that AtomicPay.io was violating the trademark owned by Vertbase. The problem? Vertbase never had such a trademark, nor did they tell Digital Ocean it did. Instead, they notified Digital Ocean last November that they were filing for a similar trademark. They own AtomicPay.com and were aware that AtomicPay.io was hosted by Digital Ocean.
According to screenshots made available to CCN.com, Vertbase CEO Justin Seidl offered to sell the domain AtomicPay.com to AtomicPay.io in early January.
AtomicPay.io recently did file for a trademark of AtomicPay, and if they get the trademark, Vertbase will not have a legal right to ownership of AtomicPay.com.
In this reporter’s experience with a trademarked term owned by Lockheed Martin, that means the most Vertbase can get for the domain is what it cost them to register it.
In the complaint, Stuart Menzies calls AtomicPay.io “a scam” and claims it’s violating trademark on several fronts.
Menzies apparently did not know that DigitalOcean would show the complaint to Benz Rif. The COO did eventually “help” by informing DigitalOcean that they should immediately re-enable services to AtomicPay.io.
A few weeks after Justin Seidl e-mailed AtomicPay about a possible collaboration and the offer to sell AtomicPay.com, Digital Ocean took down the AtomicPay.io website due to a “valid DMCA complaint.” The problem? The complaint was anything but valid.
Benz Rif says that the first he heard of the complaint was coupled by threats to freeze its services. His company didn’t have time to back-up databases, so the move by Digital Ocean actually made AtomicPay.io unusable to merchants for a time. Apparently there was a mix-up in the address that the original notice from Digital Ocean was sent to.
Both Digital Ocean and Vertbase may be the subject of legal action by AtomicPay.
Benz Rif says he has referred all information to his lawyers now that both Stuart Menzies and Justin Seidl have stopped responding to his messages. Until this episode, the two companies had been developing a rapport, with Rif even recently congratulating Seidl on the recent birth of his child.
The real story here is how easy it is to get a major hosting company like DigitalOcean to disable the services of a vital provider. At no point did DigitalOcean follow-up with Vertbase, requesting verification of their claim.
Once the issue made it to the top of their queue, they took action based on an internal company process. One interesting aspect of the episode is how quickly things were put right once Vertbase admitted it had no real claim. It’s as if AtomicPay’s business operations are by the grace of another company.
For their part, AtomicPay.io has a long-tail plan to deal with such issues. IPFS and local-backup solutions are on the cards for them. Rif says they are definitely switching service providers and creating a local back-up solution for their front-end.
Last modified: May 20, 2020 12:47 PM UTC