Bitcoin community members simply can’t seem to catch a break these days. After all of the bad news coming from exchanges such as BitStamp, Bter and KipCoin, the biggest Bitcoin poker site – called SealsWithClubs – has shut down all operations without prior announcement. All users are advised to withdraw funds as soon as possible.
SealsWithClubs – Offline For Nearly Two Weeks
Trouble started brewing when the SealsWithClubs website went dark on February 11th, and took quite a long time to get back online. Despite posting regular updates on Twitter, rumours were rampant in the Bitcoin community, as they feared something was wrong , and many assumed the site had been breached, like so many other platforms have been in 2015.
Considering SealsWithClubs is the largest Bitcoin poker site since the digital currency’s inception, it comes as a great shock to everyone to hear the site is closing down for good. Ceasing operations all of a sudden is reminiscent of what happened over at CaVirtex, the Canadian exchange who noticed a breach of sensitive user data, albeit no funds has been lost or stolen.
“On approximately February 11th, 2015, several events occurred related to operational security that we consider to indicate SealsWithClubs now operates in a perpetual state of jeopardy. We will not divulge details publically, but they may come to light if any team member chooses to come forward of their own volition at a later date. All player funds and data remain intact and the issue was not software related. We do not believe any of our Bitcoin wallets used in operations to be compromised or lost. However, this event has made the majority vote of the ownership and team agree that shutting down operations is the best move for safety and security purposes.”
Judging from that piece of the message, it does look like the SealsWithClubs database has been breached and some sensitive data has probably leaked. However, many people will be assured by the fact that all funds is accounted for, and users have a limited period of time to withdraw all of their funds from their respective accounts.
Confusing Message Regarding the Future of SWC
“SealsWithClubs Chairman, Bryan Micon, would like to carry forward the business with his own team (currently settling in Antigua) but the majority ownership cannot guarantee the future security, solvency, and integrity of that operation because there will be no administrative oversight carried over from SealsWithClubs. Members of the SealsWithClubs team and ownership are not ones to lightly endorse anything, not even our own longstanding trustworthy team members, which is why nobody ever makes a sole decision. This dynamic has saved the business several times throughout the years. With Micon operating on his own with his own team, the checks and balances we have kept in place against one another internally for 3+ years will have been removed.”
Needless to say, the message above is quite cryptic at best, but it offers a shimmer of hope of seeing SealsWithClubs resurfacing in the future. In regards to how that platform will be established, let alone kept solvent, is an entirely different matter. An internal dispute between SWC team members seems to be brewing at this point in time.
Unfortunately for SealsWithClubs fans, this is not the first time the platform has been breached. A similar incident occurred in 2013, when their entire password database was leaked. The platform did manage to recover from that incident however, but it looks like their security was not in prime condition ever since, which could be one of the reasons for this sudden announcement.