THE BLOG
08/05/2016 01:48 pm ET Updated Aug 06, 2017

In Bitcoin's Barry Silbert, A Prosecution Waiting To Happen

As readers may already know, I used my space here to draw attention to Barry Silbert's Ethereum Classic scam. You can read that coverage here and here.

A source assures me Classic meets the loose definition of a scam: it is in no way Ethereum. It is just an insecure orphan chain which is being promoted by a wealthy guy in New York, relentlessly, in a way that would be absolutely illegal if "Ethereum" were a publicly traded company or commodity - which it may well be one day soon, in some form.

Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin has publicly pledged "100%" of his support to ETH, the main blockchain for the Ethereum community.

Especially in light of Mr. Silbert's prior cryptocurrency run-in with the S.E.C., my source suggests a second look from authorities might result in more than a slap on the wrist this time, especially since CoinDesk - a leading cryptocurrency media outlet wholly acquired by Mr. Silbert's Digital Currency Group recently - has shifted to a "discernible" and "biased" promotional strategy for Classic since the acquisition.

"Kathryn [Haun] owes you a drink," the source joked, referring to assistant U.S. attorney Kathryn Haun, who heads up the digital currency crimes office for the United States Dept. of Justice in San Francisco.

Nearly a week after our first stories about Mr. Silbert broke, he finally responded to my multiple public inquiries asking for an explanation. "Yeah, I care what you think," Mr. Silbert tweeted to my personal Twitter account.

It's not what I think that remotely matters, Mr. Silbert. It's the Ethereum investors, the Ethereum developers, the American and international corporations developing on Ethereum, and the law enforcement community - they are the ones who want answers, not me.

I couldn't care less.

Disclosure: At time of publication, I hold some bitcoin, ether, US dollars, and gold in my long term portfolio. As I held ether at the time of the fork, I also have a "Classic" position by default but have not sold any - Classic is a scam and I am uninterested in profiting from the sale of duplicate tokens.