Cyprus Mail
Business Cyprus

Bitcoin CEO flees Cyprus after threats

By George Psyllides

THE CEO of a company dealing in Bitcoin appears to have left Cyprus, following threats against his family, reports said on Wednesday.

Danny Brewster, chief of Neo & Bee, told web-based newsBTC that he decided to leave the island after threats were made against his daughter.

NewsBTC reported that Havelock Investments were halting trading of the Neo & Bee fund due to “abnormal activity” a few days ago.

Brewster said that he was not running away with people’s cash or their Bitcoins, but his employees and people he owed money to were concerned on Wednesday that they would never see their money. Neo & Bee launched in Cyprus less than two months ago with an extensive advertising campaign promoting its peer-to-peer digital currency that functions without a central authority.

“I left Cyprus on a short term temporary basis for reasons that will follow, I haven’t shipped anything from Cyprus and I certainly haven’t run away with company or people’s money or bitcoins,” Brewster is quoted as saying by newsBTC. “I received direct threats targeted directly at my daughter. They have been reported to the relevant authorities. Once those threats were made I took the advice to remain outside of Cyprus and remove contact with anyone that could be responsible for the threats, this included not speaking with members of staff that could be responsible.”

Brewster said every single Bitcoin raised and spent was accounted for and any suggestions of “embezzlement are nothing but empty claims with no foundation”.

He claimed that his original plan was to raise more capital to allow the company to achieve its potential through the sale of some of his equity.

After the threats however, the plan changed and he decided to sell all his equity, allowing the new owner to appoint a new CEO.

“I apologise for my silence but I would like to reiterate that zero customer funds are under my control and none have been lost or used for business purposes,” Brewster said. “My decisions are based on what I deem to be the best option for my family.”

Known as crypto-currency, Bitcoin was first introduced in January 2009 by a person (or persons, no one knows for sure) going by the handle ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’.

The digital currency is stored in anonymous “electronic wallets”, or code, and can travel from one wallet to another by means of an online peer-to-peer network transaction.

Bitcoin uses a shared transaction database called the “block chain”, or log, to achieve distributed consensus about coin ownership. Once accepted, transactions can’t be undone or denied. And it’s open source.

Authorities had warned the public that there were no specific regulatory protection measures to cover losses for the users of virtual currencies if the platform that exchanges and deals if that specific currency collapses.

The Central Bank of Cyprus said there was no guarantee or legal obligation to reimburse at face value virtual currency owners, nor to reimburse them at any time.

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