Business 7 December 2018Bill Beatty
Meet the players in the BCH Market Manipulation Lawsuit
On Thursday, a lawsuit was filed in Florida’s Southern District against a group of cryptocurrency heavyweights alleging intentional fraud and market manipulation surrounding the recent Bitcoin Cash BCH update.
The civil suit filed by United American Corp. against multiple Bitmain related companies, Bitcoin.com, Roger Ver, Jihan Wu, Kraken, Jesse Powell, Amaury Sechet, Shammah Chancellor and Jason Cox alleges the group was involved in a scheme to manipulate the cryptocurrency market for Bitcoin Cash in an effort to highjack the Bitcoin Cash network, resulting in a global capital meltdown of more than $4 billion and causing countless people irreparable harm.
Some of the names are well known to the Bitcoin community while others have been background players. Let’s have a look at the who’s who in this landmark cryptocurrency lawsuit.
Bitmain Inc. – More commonly known as Bitcoin US, Bitcoin Inc. is an American corporation wholly owned by Bitmain Technologies Holding Company. With Bitmain Inc. being a USA corporation, it will be difficult for the larger company to claim the suit doesn’t belong in American courts.
Bitmain Technologies LTD. – Founded by Micree Zhan and Jihan Wu in 2013, Bitmain rose to prominence and then dominance in the bitcoin mining space with their ASIC cryptocurrency miners.
Bitmain Technologies Holding Company – The company filed for an initial public offering this past September 26 with the Hong Kong regulatory agency. That IPO has been in doubt of late with disastrous financials leaking and their reputation taking a beating during the hash war that triggered this lawsuit.
Saint Bitts LLC d/b/a Bitcoin.com – Bitcoin.com is one of the more controversial websites in the cryptocurrency industry. Bitcoin.com is probably responsible for onboarding more people to Bitcoin that any other site. They offer news, tools and even online gambling but after the 2017 BTC-BCH split, and their propensity for hyping up poorly planned and executed ICOs they’ve become more divisive in the past couple years.
Roger Ver – Known as the Bitcoin Jesus due to his early wiliness to invest and travel the world spreading the gospel of Bitcoin. He’s fallen from Grace particularly after the 2017 BTC-BCH fork. Ver would debate anyone and everyone, claiming BCH was the true Bitcoin and any chain that deviates from the Satoshi Whitepaper couldn’t claim to be Bitcoin. His decision to support the ABC instance during the hash war and his penchant for putting his promotional support behind pump and dump ICOs has left many of his disciples abandoning the faith. Ver denounced his American citizenship in 2014 and was once denied a USA visa as US immigration was unsure if he’d leave the country and he’d remain as an illegal immigrant. This case should offer US immigration sufficient grounds for a visitor’s visa.
Jihan Wu – He’s the public face of the Bitmain empire. A regular on the conference circuit and recipient of the lion’s share of both the praise and the scorn from the cryptocurrency community. He was the power broker during the 2017 battle for larger blocks in BTC, his mining pools held enough power to determine whether Blockstream’s Segregated Witness and the plan to leave BTC at 1MB blocks or if the big block battle would continue. Wu negotiated a split which created Bitcoin Cash BCH and took the big block supporters with him. He also played a major role in the Hash War, funding the controversial ABC instance and then arranging the mercenary miners to move over to the BCH chain. Like Ver, the split has left his reputation in tatters.
Payward Ventures Inc. d/b/a Kraken – Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange site that was funded by Roger Ver and operated by his high school friend Jesse Powell. The site was one of the more popular exchanges operating in the US, Canada, Japan and the EU. For a couple of years, it stood as the largest exchange in the industry before giving way to companies like Coinbase and Binance. This lawsuit isn’t the first time Kraken has faced scrutiny, earlier this year they were under investigation by the New York Attorney General’s (NYAG) office who was on a fact-finding mission to see what if any measures exchanges took to protect their customers from market manipulations.
Jesse Powell – Powell, in addition to being Ver’s high school friend, is the CEO of Kraken. When the NYAG was conducting their investigation, Powell made a point not to cooperate and declared the investigation was hostile and bad for business. Unlike Ver who renounced his USA citizenship and left the country, Powell still resides in the US and could be forced to do the heavy lifting if Ver doesn’t return to answer the suit.
Amaury Sechet – Sechet is the lead developer for Bitcoin ABC and the self-proclaimed benevolent dictator of Bitcoin Cash BCH. The anarchist is a French national who is responsible for the contentious changes to the node software that ultimately caused the rift and eventual fork in the BCH chain.
Shammah Chancellor – Is a developer with Bitcoin ABC who works with Sechet.
Jason Cox – Along with Chancellor, works with Bitcoin ABC as a developer.
United American Corp. – The Florida-based company focuses on telecommunications applications, including BlockchainDomes, which are eco-friendly crypto mining facilities that use the generated heat to power green houses and grow food. In 2017, UAC moved heavily into the development and implementation of blockchain-related technologies. The company believes that the high-jacking of the Bitcoin Cash network could imperil its investments, as the changes brought by Bitmain and Ver’s group have altered the fundamental economics of the business.
The full court filing can be found here.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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