Germany’s most prolific Bitcoin journalist is getting legally intimidated by OneCoin and needs our help!


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Edit: removed bitcoin address because of automoderation.

Disclaimer to their lawyers: the title and notes are my personal opinion. The translation is mine.

link to the original blog article: Coinspondent

English translation below:

*Bitcoin vs Onecoin – in court? *

This is the most important article in this blog and, indeed, the future of this site depends on it. Please read it!

tl;dr Onecoin lawyers are sending massive amount of Abmahnungen (translator's note: An "Abmahnung" is a written warning in German law that demands from the recipient to sign a declaration that he will abstain from something and also to pay a large lawyer fee, in order to avoid being sued. Some people in other countries might call it an extortion.) to me that contain construed claims. I want to turn the tables on them, take the Onecoin actors to court and make it all public. That is what they want to avoid. However, I need your support for that.

In the past days I have received legal letters from several (!) Onecoin lawyers that are extremely irritated about an article I have published. In this article I was simply pointing out two publications by BaFin (t.n.: the German banking watchdog) concerning Onecoin. Concretely, the two publications in the section of "illegitimate business" are this one and this one.

For legally tactical reasons I have taken the original article offline, even though all the non-Onecoin people I have talked to about them couldn't find anything wrong with it. Onecoin advocates, however, are known for being very sensitive about criticism. They react all the more fiercely for it.

Full-on intimidation scenario by Onecoin Abmahn lawers

In the past days I have received one Abmahnung from Hamburg (pdf) and one from Cologne (pdf), plus another one went to my web hoster that is meant to get them to take my entire web site down for "Störerhaftung" (t.n.: another strange German legal concept that seems to imply that, e.g., as a hoster you might be partially responsible for what people write on the websites you host). Pretty heavy artillery against a little blog as this one. They might have just quickly sent a mail asking for clarification. Obviously, that is not what the Onecoin side wants.

Rather absurd and construed allegations at times

If you do read the Abmahnungen, you might be astonished about their arguments. I know I was. They seem quite arbitrarily construed in some places. For example, it is alleged that I should have had to check if legal countermeasures had been put in place against the "illegal" (sic!) BaFin decision. Indeed, I could have tried, but that wouldn't have changed a thing since, according to BaFin "BaFin is not authorized to provide information about this." Ongoing proceeding, privacy laws and so on. I am truly amazed that lawyers don't know these kinds of things.

Nonetheless, the artillery that has been put into position against me is extraordinary. And it appears that the intimidation has been big enough to get many other website publishers to take their Onecoin articles down for good. At least that is what the lawyers proudly list.

However, it hasn't been proven that the respective publishers have done anything wrong. Presumably, they just didn't want any legal battles and rather bit the bullet of Abmahn costs instead of having decided right and wrong juristically. Understandably so, since "being right" and "being proven right" are not the same as we know, and in the worst case these things can get really expensive. Possibly even threatening livelihoods. Does one really want that? For Onecoin?

Back down or resist?

That is exactly the decision I am having to make right now: Should I back down, let the article stay offline and pay a non negligible – for me – sum for reasons I don't understand to some lawyers whose clients feel trodden on their toes without it being clear that someone even stepped on their toes?

Just having to ask myself this question makes me angry. VERY, VERY ANGRY! Because I know it is important and morally right to report critically about Onecoin. Because I know I haven't done anything wrong. Because all this is unnecessary taking my time, strength and money. Because they have been successful with this Abmahn-intimidation-story way too often already. And because I simply don't want it. End of story.

Onecoin may not win!

I don't want to give money to the Onecoin lawyers with their artificial intimidation scenario, their quibbling hair splitting and their disturbing view of right and wrong. I don't want to take back statements that I feel have been legal as well as important. In short: I don't want to let Onecoin win.

What's more: I want to do exactly what they want to avoid with their actions. I want to shine a light on the people that are being represented by the Onecoin lawyers. I want the public to address the "business" these people do – their practices, their models, their way of dealing with justified criticism. I want exactly what the Onecoin advocates want the least: That society takes a look at Onecoin and the responsible have to justify themselves. At least those who press ahead so aggressively in this case.

I can't do it without support

The only problem: I can't do it alone. Because "being right" and "being proven right" are not the same and as a family man I can't afford the worst case. So I have thought long and hard and there will be one of these two scenarios happening:

  1. Scenario 1: Bitcoin vs. Onecoin — I am starting a bitcoin community crowd fund and until tuesday we gather a sum that makes it possible for me to fully confront Onecoin.
  2. Onecoin wins — I, too, bite the bullet of Abmahn fees, back down, and generally avoid Onecoin and similar projects in my list of topics.

There is no question that I prefer the first scenario, but I can live – if reluctantly – with both. The first one will cost me considerably more time, energy and money. In the latter one, I get to live in peace more quickly and can get to other important topics. And that is what will happen if scenario 1 does not come to pass.

The decision is (also) yours!

The ones who ultimately influence the decision are you, the bitcoin community. I have had so many people tell me they support me, that we can't let Onecoin win no matter what. These are comforting, reassuring and welcome words. As ugly as it is, what ultimately has to decide is – the money.

So I am hereby starting the crown fund and I hope that we as the bitcoin community together can defeat Onecoin (who have been abusing the good name of Bitcoin). At least make a honorable effort.

I myself will put as much money in the fund as I would have to spend in the unwanted "scenario 2" anyway. That is, however, just a small share of what would be necessary in the worst case scenario.

BITCOIN NEEDS YOU

This is where you come in:

  • Is Onecoin a thorn in your side?
  • Are you pissed off by the way their advocates deal with critics?
  • Do you find this blog valuable and worth supporting?
  • Have you personally profited from real crypto currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Litecoin etc.?
  • Have you donated for anything last week?
  • Are you a fan of justice?
  • Can you afford giving something?

If you can answer one of these questions with a Yes, I am happy if you are prepared to contribute an appropriate amount to the legal defense fund "Bitcoin vs. Onecoin".

Bitcoin address: see original Article

All further questions are answered in the following FAQ. If there is one missing – write me an email!

FAQ for the "Bitcoin vs. Onecoin" fund

How much money is necessary for you to go to court?

That's hard to say because there are many factors that influence the costs. My lawyer says that five figures (t.n.: in Euro) is a realistic order of magnitude. Unfortunately that is a rather vague assessment. So if in doubt rather give a bit more.

Until when does the crowd fund run?

Tuesday, 2nd of May, 12:00 CEST – the short notice comes from the legal deadlines.

What happens with the money if it's not enough or if there is no court proceedings?

I am not counting on it, but in the case that there are no costs I will send the money back to the respective donor's address (t.n.: So please make sure you control that address!).

What happens with surplus money?

The money is given back to the respective donor's address pro rata. Moreover, there will be an account of how much has been spent for what here in the blog.

How are the chances in court?

That's also hard to say. However, I am very optimistic. Onecoin and their representatives are under pressure in this country (t.n.: and world wide). After all, BaFin has given another statement yesterday: Onecoin Ltd (Dubai), OneLife Network Ltd (Belize) and One Network Services Ltd (Sofia/Bulgaria): Prohibition of business dealing with "OneCoins" in Germany (For the Abmahn lawyers reading this: "Die Verfügungen beruhen auf § 37 Absatz 1 Satz 1 und 4 KWG. Sie sind von Gesetzes wegen sofort vollziehbar, jedoch noch nicht bestandskräftig." and no, the BaFin has not provided information to me whether or not there have been appeals filed. Because it is not allowed to.)

Are the donated bitcoins securely stored?

Yes, cold storage.

Is there another donation option besides bitcoin?

Accepting other crypto currencies would be too much of an organisation effort. By way of an exception, however, there is a paypal donation button in the original article.

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