In brief:

  • A canceled Bitcoin conference prompts lawyer to aid claimants pro-bono.
  • The organizer refuses to give proof of processed refunds until Covid-19 blows over.
  • Legal proceedings may be the only course of action.

A canceled Bitcoin conference has left hundreds out of pocket and its organizer has so far failed to issue refunds. Now, prominent investment loss attorney David Silver has pledged to represent claimants free of charge.

Massive Adoption—a Bitcoin conference due to be held in February—was forced to cancel in late January. Unlike the myriad other conferences driven to closure by Covid-19, the organizer of the event, Jacob Kostecki, blamed the cancellation on cash flow problems and "limited experience."

"My excitement and naivete, coupled with limited experience in putting on large events, added to the difficulties," said Kostecki in an open letter on the event's now-shuttered website.

Despite promising refunds, Kostecki allegedly failed to deliver.

As a consequence, lawyer David Silver, founding Partner of Silver Miller law firm, took action.

“I believe in providing pro-bono services. Here, the average person lost between $300-$600 dollars. That’s their hard earned money. Jacob has promised that money back. I have offered to facilitate that transaction for free,” Silver told Decrypt.

Within a tweethread on Wednesday, he laid out a proposal to represent anyone with losses amounting to $1,000 or less.

"My firm has made this offer publicly: If @jacobkostecki provides the list of people to whom he owes refunds -- something he has publicly offered -- my law firm, #FreeOfCharge, will provide settlement and release agreements," Silver wrote

Silver also pressed Kostecki on claims that some refunds had already been processed.

"He can easily demonstrate that to #SilverMiller when he provides the list and demonstrates he has paid refunds. That would be demonstrating good faith and would show he deserves some leniency," Silver added. 

Speaking to Decrypt, Kostecki explained he was happy to cooperate with Mr. Silver, but not until restrictions arising from Covid-19 had been lifted.

"Entering into any new arrangements at this time is not prudent, but once this situation passes I'm happy to have a conversation with him," he added.

No proof of refunds … yet 

Over the past few months, Kostecki has been tweeting updates on the progress of the refunds. In February, he asserted that refunds would be processed by the end of the month. However, per disgruntled responses, it seems not everyone was made aware of the plans—or indeed received any compensation.

"He gave me the same excuses he gives everyone. Then told me if I keep bugging him I wouldn't get my money (In so many words of course)," wrote one affected Twitter user.

"I would just like to hear from /about ONE identified individual who has received a refund," added another.

When quizzed on the February refunds, Kostecki told Decrypt that "many" refunds were processed, and others are still being prepared.

“People who have received them have been notified and I will provide that information directly at a later time and in court if necessary,” Kostecki said when pressed for proof. 

“While everyone is of course entitled to join any action that Mr. Silver would like to undertake and honestly I welcome them to do so, a formal class action will radically impede my ability to issue them refunds in a timely manner," Kostecki added.  

This article has been updated with a response from Silver.