Our Bitcoin ‘Naughty List’ 2017: Lumps of Coal for Their Digital Stockings
In the Bitcoin ecosystem, there are always plenty of actors that don’t play nice. From actual scammers and thieves to everyday trash-talkers and scene shakers, the space seemed to have a substantial supply of naughty characters in 2017.
Some on our list are genuine villains, others just need to sit in the corner for a while. Would you invite any of these people to your Bitcoin Christmas dinner? Read on, and let us know what you think.
Some call him Bitcoin Jesus, others Bitcoin Judas …
Roger Ver and controversy go together like coffee and creamer, and 2017 was no different for Roger. He famously flipped the middle finger at interviewer John Carvalho, also known as BitcoinErrorLog, during a live stream. Ver got angry due to Carvalho’s continued use of the term “Bcash,” despite Ver’s vocal preference for the actual name, “Bitcoin Cash.”
After first demanding that Carvalho stop using the term and issue an apology, Ver went on a tirade, shouting that he is a millionaire (i.e. therefore my opinion is more relevant). Carvalho shot back with, “Who cares if you’re a millionaire? That has nothing to do with anything!”
Ver later issued a video apology. In it, he stated that if he were a more litigious person, he would have sued Carvalho for his comments about Ver using “sock puppets” to shill for Bitcoin Cash.
Ver also had an online tiff with Andreas Antonopoulos, claiming that Andreas would be much richer today had he held on to his Bitcoin. Antonopoulos was quick to reply that back then, he had rent to pay and had to sell most of his bitcoin. The community responded by sending waves on donations to Antonopoulos.
The infamous Peter Vessenes of Coinlab and Mt. Gox lawsuit fame was busy this year. According to lawyer Daniel Kelman, Vessenes is trying to claim $158 million USD in funds from the Mt. Gox bankruptcy account. Whatever he gets from it will be deducted from Gox’s many out-of-pocket creditors, who by now wish they’d never heard of either Gox or Vessenes.
Kelman believes that Vessenes is not entitled to his claimed amount. Not only is he vying for the limited pool of money, says Kelman, but Vessenes “actually owes Mt. Gox $5.2 million USD in customer funds he refuses to give back.”
Kelman tried to get Vessenes to agree to an open debate at the World Bitcoin Forum in London this year. Vessenes did not respond.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, saw himself facing a huge backlash after repeatedly roasting Bitcoin and its followers. This only seemed to encourage him.
To name just a few of his outbursts as BTC continued to moon, Dimon declared bitcoin a fraud, said governments will shut it down, called BTC owners and investors “stupid,” and declared bitcoin “worse than tulip bulbs,” and he threatened to fire any of his employees who dabbled in the cryptocurrency.
While his vitriolic rhetoric has cooled somewhat, he recently stated to CNBC that he is still highly skeptical of cryptocurrencies, but is now open-minded to “properly controlled and regulated uses” of them. Also, we sometimes fear his prediction of governments shutting down bitcoin could be correct.
Vinnik, a Russian national who is currently facing charges for money laundering, allegedly used BTC-e to illegally funnel $4 billion worth of Bitcoin through his money washing scheme.
U.S. federal agencies and Bitcoin forensic researchers also fingered Vinnik as the prime suspect in the theft of 850,000 BTC from Mt. Gox — the biggest bitcoin heist in history and (given the value) also one of the biggest in fiat value. Vinnik, they allege, siphoned the coins out of Gox’s accounts over a number of years, until by the end of 2013 there was almost nothing left. If they can prove the claims, Vinnik would probably be the biggest, baddest bitcoin villain of all time. We’ll see.
Vinnik was arrested in Greece over the summer based on a U.S. request for his detainment. He is currently facing extradition requests from both the U.S. and Russia for different crimes.
‘Joost van Doorn’
While 2017 saw far too many scams to cover in just one article, the heist pulled off by “Joost van Doorn” and the Confido crew was just too egregious to let slip past.
Confido appeared earlier this year, promising to be a smart contract-powered escrow service. According to the now-defunct website, confido.io, the service would “generate a smart contract using a secure smart contract template and the data entered by the user. That smart contract will act as the escrow between buyer and seller.”
The supposed CEO, “Joost van Doorn,” claimed to hold a master’s degree in international business. It was later suggested this identity itself was a fraud.
After the ICO collected $375k, the site and all connected accounts disappeared. Very naughty, indeed.
Who else do you think deserves to be on our naughty list for 2017? Let us know in the comments!
Images via LinkedIn, YouTube, Alexandros Avramidis/Reuters, Amazon