Contributor: Elizabeth Smillie (Trainee Solicitor, Financial Services Disputes & Investigations) Written by. David Gardner. Dave Smillie launched and largely single-handedly ran EZ-BTC, one of four firms entrusted with determining bitcoin price in Canada. No one had any visibility. Canadian cryptocurrency platforms in operation, most of which have a good reputation. But some, like sportsplay1xbet.website, owned and operated by David Smillie. BET365 TENNIS BETTING TRENDS
David Smillie Global attention is gathering apace on blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum as part of the latest wave of financial technology innovation and the digitisation of financial services. The FMA has recently released commentary on two aspects of cryptocurrencies: Initial Coin Offers and investor cryptocurrency services and how these relate to the existing financial market framework set out in the Financial Markets Conduct Act FMCA.
This means that the services that facilitate investment and trading in cryptocurrencies will be regulated accordingly. Investment in cryptocurrencies is similar to investment in traditional securities in that it involves dealing with a market called an exchange and an account called a wallet.
Exchanges are often the first port of call for investors exchanging New Zealand dollars into a cryptocurrency or vice versa and are then also used to exchange one cryptocurrency for another. A wallet is simply an account that holds the cryptocurrency and can make and receive transfers of cryptocurrencies in the same way a bank account or trading account does. I cast it out of my mind. I had little idea of the turmoil beneath the surface.
Now I have discovered I was far from the only one to experience withdrawal delays. In fact, some users who tried to take out their money last year say they are still owed to this day. While it is unclear how many claimants there are, or how much is being claimed in total, ezBtc faces at least six lawsuits in British Columbia alone.
Among them are two from former business associates claiming millions. Sound familiar? It was a similar story with the ill-fated QuadrigaCX , also from Vancouver. Such incidents create colourful copy. The cryptocurrency realm is populated by intriguing characters worthy of Hollywood. My inquiries into ezBtc turned up yet another one, David Smillie.
But shadowy as it seems, the world of cryptocurrency is painfully real for people who lose money. And critics pounce on such moments as proof a lawless realm needs policing. Exchanges handle billions in assets and allow effortless yet irreversible transactions, but operate with little regulatory oversight and are surprisingly easy to set up. As Bitcoin becomes mainstream, any accusation against a platform could greatly stain cryptocurrency in the eyes of the public. Now it seems ezBtc risks becoming the next cautionary tale.
In some of the lawsuits, the court ruled against ezBtc because the company failed to respond on time or show up at trial. By all appearances, it was a high-flying career. Smillie moved between high-profile media outlets and his work took him around the world. London treated him well. He even met a girl. Yet Smillie did not stay. He eventually went back home. A novel idea ran through his head.
He was going to start a cryptocurrency exchange. In the summer of , Smillie registered a numbered corporation, B. Initially based in Vancouver, its address is now a brick-red office block in downtown Nanaimo, B. Pre-packaged exchange code is widely and cheaply available. Or you can just hire someone on the freelancing website Fiverr to build the platform.
The next steps are a little harder. An exchange needs good banking relations because it moves around a lot of money, as Smillie told me in an email last year. They met via the website LocalBitcoins, which connects cryptocurrency buyers and sellers directly, Godwin said in an interview. He added that it was before Smillie launched ezBtc.
That was low in the cryptocurrency world, he added. Godwin lent Smillie the Bitcoin. That loan would spark a fierce dispute that is still unfolding. A Christmas Eve confrontation A software developer, Godwin had been on the internet so early he was able to own a one-word domain name, snowboard. Godwin is old-school internet. He still uses Hotmail for email.
In , Godwin sold snowboard. Godwin had also participated in what was then a blockchain crown jewel, The DAO , a sort of investor-directed venture capital fund that collapsed in after a colossal hack. The dastardly deeds, brazen thefts and the highs and lows of the techno Wild West — Godwin has seen them all.
And he is wary. Godwin said he made sure to put everything on paper when he eventually lent ezBtc Bitcoins. In March , Godwin sued for more than bitcoins, taking into account what he said was interest.
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No name? That man doesn't have a name? So young, only 17 and is already in High End car business, imagine when he reach his 30s, probably he will be biger business man the Al Capone was Weather statement issued as summer rains set to fall Thursday on B. A pattern of non-payment Johnston said he has been in contact with at least three dozen people who have been unable to withdraw their money from ezBtc. While CTV News could not independently confirm this number of complaints, reviewing various social media platforms yields a conservative estimate of at least 12 unique individuals posting about unreceived withdrawals from ezBtc.
And then they call support and then they get the runaround, constant excuses, phone calls with kind of incoherent explanations, promises that payment is coming. Nothing happens. In theory, ezBtc functions in essentially the same way as a brokerage account. Users can make deposits from their bank accounts, as well as from their cryptocurrency wallets, and use the funds deposited to purchase a portfolio of cryptocurrencies.
Over the course of more than two weeks, CTV repeatedly requested interviews with Blair to discuss the existing research licences slowly being processed from compliance with the Narcotics Act to the Cannabis Act, in addition to new applications at various stages of the review process.
Unlike traditional banks, however, cryptocurrency exchanges like ezBtc are not covered by securities laws. Deposits are not insured, and securities regulators are limited in their ability to police such organizations. The search for a legal remedy One ezBtc customer who asked not to be named in this story told CTV News that his complaint about the company to the B. Securities Commission went nowhere. While the BCSC does not comment on whether it has received complaints about specific businesses or individuals, the commission told CTV News that its mandate is limited to the regulation of securities and derivatives.
Efforts to go through police have also not been fruitful. Six lawsuits in progress A total of six lawsuits have been filed against ezBtc, four of them in small claims and two in B. Deposits are not insured, and securities regulators are limited in their ability to police such organizations. The search for a legal remedy One ezBtc customer who asked not to be named in this story told CTV News that his complaint about the company to the B. Securities Commission went nowhere. While the BCSC does not comment on whether it has received complaints about specific businesses or individuals, the commission told CTV News that its mandate is limited to the regulation of securities and derivatives.
Efforts to go through police have also not been fruitful. Johnston said he spoke with an officer from Nanaimo RCMP about ezBtc for a potential fraud investigation, but a spokesman for the detachment told CTV News its investigators had concluded that the evidence in the case "did not meet the threshold of criminality. Six lawsuits in progress A total of six lawsuits have been filed against ezBtc, four of them in small claims and two in B.
Supreme Court. The small claims plaintiffs all seek payment from the company, claiming that withdrawals were either partially paid or not paid at all. EzBtc does not appear to have replied to either of these cases. The two Supreme Court cases involve associates of ezBtc who were asked to lend Bitcoin to the company or its founder and president David Smillie.
In his response to Godwin's lawsuit, Smillie and ezBtc deny all of the allegations against them, arguing that the company fulfilled all of its obligations to Godwin. They also allege that the loan agreement charged an illegally high interest rate, amounting to per cent per year. The plaintiff in the other lawsuit is Joseph Goldlust, who court documents say was hired as ezBtc's director of operations in July According to the documents, Goldlust loaned Smillie 1.
After that initial loan, Goldlust's lawsuit alleges, Smillie requested three additional loans worth a total of 13 bitcoins, only 0. Neither Smillie nor ezBtc appear to have responded to Goldlust's suit. He told CTV News the lower amount he is seeking makes him feel like he has less to lose in confronting ezBtc online.
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