Hope you’re ready for the first installment of our Email-Gate series. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to get our hands on the entire firstname.lastname@example.org inbox dating back to 2007. Names will be redacted to protect civilians, but anyone taking up arms in the Battle of MtGox is getting doxxed.
We’re kicking the series off by getting back to our most pressing issue: Crooked Peter Vessenes.
We begin on May 17, 2011. Bitcoin’s price was hovering around USD $0.90, Jed McCaleb had recently sold a majority stake in Mtgox to Mark Karpeles, and our favorite passive-aggressive con-man was green with jealousy and scheming on a way get in on the action.
Mark, likely having no clue where the hell this guy came from, forwards it over to Jed. Jed calls bullshit.
Peter responds by claiming Jed made a “firm offer” and provides a statement of his allegedly performed tasks that reads like a hastily written bill from an entry-level business consultant.
We need to pause here to mentally unpack all the bullshit in this short response. It’s what Peter doesn’t say that’s most revealing. Peter never claims to have accepted Jed’s “firm offer”, he merely alleges it’s existence and lists the “demonstrable value” his efforts added to MtGox.
Peter’s plan at this point becomes be fairly obvious. He sees MtGox on its way to becoming valuable. He knew MtGox was originally not an entity and just an idea started by Jed. He had probably recently watched The Social Network (released seven months prior) and realized he can pull a Winklevii by claiming some vague portion of MtGox’s founding belonged to him if he can make it seem like he contributed to MtGox’s founding. (Note to entrepreneurs: get your founding docs in order early).
Peter even takes offense at Jed calling his email “dishonorable”. Peter, do you think it was dishonorable to file a combined claim for over $175,000,000 USD in the MtGox and Tibanne bankruptcies? Update: Now $16,000,000,000 USD claimed in the civil rehab.
Jed calls bullshit once more, noting that the quoted text Peter provided is not an offer.
Peter, you had your chance to be a partner. You turned it down. Now get your fucking hand out of my pocket.
Peter tucks his tail between his legs and retreats to lick his wounds.
And with “Mark, I look forward to hearing from you”, thus began the chain of events that led this cocksucker down the path of trying dilute MtGox creditors and delaying the MtGox estate’s bankruptcy payout.
Crooked Peter would indeed be back for a word with Mark. What materialized was the shitty MtGox/CoinLab deal where CoinLab was to be MtGox’s exclusive North American agent, keeping 90% of all revenue generated by new customers in US and Canada. Our guess is that Peter’s lawyers told him his claim to founder equity was bogus and he’d have a better chance convincing some French guys in Japan that they had no idea how to tackle the US market. Peter oversold his capabilities, couldn’t get licensed, couldn’t legally service US and Canada, and Mark decided not to cooperate. Peter sued, hoping to at least get some settlement out of the $50M liquidated damages clause he negotiated for CoinLab.
We know what happened next: MtGox went bust, depositors got Goxxed and Peter got shafted out of his MtGox payday for a second time. Instead of viewing MtGox as a disaster for its many customers — people who Peter purported to represent as the Bitcoin Foundation’s president — Peter saw it as a pile of cash and a third bite at the apple. He pocketed depositors’ $5M USD CoinLab held on deposit and filed bullshit claims for over $175M USD (Update: now $16B USD) in the Tibanne and MtGox bankruptcies. Those claims are right now the reason why MtGox creditors haven’t been paid, have no idea when they will be repaid, and face a major dilution on their return (Update: creditors face the prospect of receiving nothing due to Peter’s claim).
Peter, this is not going to stop. Withdraw your fucking claim.