it's all about the bitcoin baby
“This is kind of a premiere for Charlie,” New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper joked last night. “This is the first time I’ve seen you out of the house.”
Mr. Popper and former BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem were sitting on the stage at the School of Visual Arts theatre. Mr. Shrem was arrested in January on charges of money laundering associated with his bitcoin exchange company, BitInstant. He’s currently under house arrest, but was allowed to attend last night’s panel on the documentary The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin, in which he’s a prominent character.
Filmmakers Nicholas Mross and Daniel Mross joined Mr. Shrem and Mr. Popper onstage, following a screening the documentary.
The documentary follows bitcoin magnates like Mr. Shrem, Jered Kenna of Tradehill, Gonzague Gay-Bouchery of Mt. Gox and Mike Caldwell of Casascius Coins.
The proprietors of a major Bitcoin exchange have filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California alleging that racketeering, intentional misrepresentation, false advertising, breach of contract and other violations by payments startup Dwolla have cost them at least $2 million in damages, with the final amount to be decided by the court.
The plaintiff is TradeHill, a Bitcoin currency exchanger based in San Francisco and Chile that was at one time the second-largest processor of Bitcoin currency trades, but which recently shut down. The shutdown was largely due to losses sustained because of “chargebacks” or payments that cleared and then were rescinded by Dwolla, said TradeHill cofounder Jered Kenna, although other reasons were given at the time.
“We’ve been trying to resolve this for eight, nine months and they ignored all communication,” Pierre G. Basmaji, the Santa Monica-based attorney for TradeHill, told Betabeat by phone. “I have no idea why. I think… they don’t know how to handle it and were just hoping we would go away.”
Dwolla did not respond to requests for comment. UPDATE, 6:13 p.m.: Dwolla just released a statement.