Before I get in to the meat of the post, I want to thank everyone in the industry who reached out to provide support.
The community is why I love this industry so much and why I believe crypto will make the world a better place for billions of people. Now on to the post.
I’ve been around the block. So this is not the first time I’ve been sued. In fact, it’s the fourth time.
UMG sued for copyright infringement for a music video someone uploaded to our site. It was total bullshit. We did nothing wrong. There was a tremendous amount of case law in our favor. But our lawyers said it would cost tens of millions to defend ourselves. So we sold ourselves for $20 million, plus an earn out, dependent on settling the suit. We eventually offered the $20 million to UMG, but they refused, stating the were intent on changing the law. Grouper, owned by Sony, eventually won the suit, after spending $50 million to defend itself. Bolt was forced to liquidate. It was the most devastating time of my career. Our system was broken, and as a result, I paid a very hefty price.
The second time I got sued was when I left one Wall Street firm and moved to another one in 2011:
Once again, it was total bullshit. So myself, and the junior person I brought with me, hired a lawyer. Three months, and $80,000 in legal fees later, I came realized I didn’t need a lawyer to defend myself. I had done nothing wrong, and I just needed to state the truth. The father of the junior person I brought with me was a lawyer, and he wanted his son to be represented. So they paid more than $100,000 over the next 6+ months before we each reached a settlement. I paid $25k to make it go away. The lawyer for my junior, who was less culpable then me, under any circumstance, agreed to settle for $75,000. Our system is broken. But at least I saved the money on lawyers.
The third time was when my wife sued for divorce in April of 2017. The marriage had run its course. I once again fired my lawyer after three months. I’ve been representing myself for over two years, and I have yet to lose a motion. I haven’t done anything wrong. So I just go in and tell the truth. My ex, who has incurred more than $500,000 in legal fees, just fired her second lawyer. We’re 2 1/2 years in, and there’s no end in sight. Our system’s broken.
Now I’m being sued for the 4th time (read the 31 page claim here). This suit is total bullshit too. It’s the most laughable of the four suits. Here are the five reasons I’m LMAO about the suit
1. The Lawsuit Is Riddled With Factual Errors
Let’s start with factual errors on Page 3.
They couldn’t even get our address right, stating that we’re “..domiciled at 25 West 39th Street, 10th Floor, New York, New York 10018.” We moved from there six months ago. That could be why I haven’t gotten served yet.
On page 3 they state that “CryptoOracle purports to be a VC firm.” While we set out to be a VC , we pivoted six months ago. If the lawyers had visited our site over the last number of months, they would have seen this landing page:
They would also see our current address. I’m saving the dozens of other factual errors for court
2. CryptoOracle’s Primary Focus Is DAO-ifying CryptoMondays
As I wrote in this recent piece, we’re in the process of turning CryptoMondays in to a DAO. It’s an incredibly exciting project, and we have help from the leading minds in DAOs (e.g. Matan Field & Ameen Soleimani). Page 2 of the complaint states that Oracle would “ ..otherwise welcome some of defendants’ endeavors, including events aimed at fostering a community around innovative and curious blockchain-enthusiasts”. They state they must press the case to to stop CryptoOracle “…from trading on the reputation and goodwill that Oracle has earned among consumers throughout the tech industry, including in relation to plaintiffs’ own consulting and finance-related services, and solutions for use in blockchain and cryptocurrency applications”. That’s simply non-sensical given the scope of our operations.
3. The Biggest Laugh Is Their Claim That We Included “Oracle” in Our Name To Trade on Oracle’s Reputation
Page 19 states “Defendants intentionally incorporated the ORACLE trademark in the CryptoOracle business name and brand in order to trade on Oracle’s reputation as an innovator and leader within the tech industry, and to evoke among consumers the goodwill that Oracle’s built in its own famous brand.” I have three quick thoughts here.
First, Wikipedia states that the first recorded use of the term “Oracle” was in the second millennium B.C.. Which pre-dates the formation of Oracle (formed in 1977), by a few millennium.
Second, an “Oracle Machine” has been a term used to describe “..an abstract machine used to study decision problems” years before Oracle started. But more importantly “Blockchain Oracles” are a part of the crypto infrastructure. So given that we are in crypto, and the fact that oracles are a major thing in crypto, it will be obvious to any judge why we picked the name.
Finally, Oracle is the antithesis of what crypto is all about. They are a poster child of the monopolistic mega corporation that seeks to maximize its rent at the expense of its customers. Even the U.S. government has sued Oracle for overcharging. Companies like Oracle is what crypto is trying to solve for.
The best analogy I could come up with is if I started a company called “Bitcoin Trumps Gold”, and I got sued by Donald Trump for trading on his reputation as an outstanding business man.
In fact, I first started writing about the negative implications of monopolistic companies like Oracle in Jan., 2017, six months before I saw the crypto light. I wrote about it again and again. This piece got 44,000 views:
I’m not sating Oracle is a bad company. But, it’s not often you see a Board of Directors approve a shareholder lawsuit against their CEO & President:
What I do think is that Oracle’s management are great capitalists. It just turns out that crypto brings the promise of a better solution, and a better world, for billions of people. So for the lawyers to state that I’m trading off the reputation and goodwill of Oracle is either a blatant lie, or it shows remarkable ignorance with regards to understanding the situation.
4. They Sued Us In California. We Don’t Do Operate In California
We don’t have any employees in California. We don’t make any revenue in California. We start CryptoMondays and we run CryptoMondays NYC. But we’re a decentralized organization. CryptoMondays San Francisco runs it’s own events. And they do it really really well.
5. There are lots and lots of “Crypto Oracles”
When we formed CryptoOracle, we couldn’t even get the CryptoOracle Twitter handle because it had been taken four years earlier:
If you Google “Crypto Oracle Twitter”, this is the first result:
And so on…
And so on …
Is Oracle going to sue all these people?
What about all the people using “Oracle” in other ways relevant to crypto:
You get where I’m going.
One of my favorite jokes is “What’s the difference between comedy and tragedy?”. The answer is …. comedy is when it happens to someone else.
Well in this instance, it happened to me, and it’s still pretty hilarious. It’s total bullshit. We did nothing wrong. So, once again, I’m going to represent myself. And I look forward to live streaming whatever I’m able to.
But I think Oracle will drop the suit before it gets to court, because Oracle will likely lose the case. And if they lose the case, they weaken their trademark. So they use suits like this as a bully tactic to pressure the little guy (me) to relent. I relented at Bolt 13 years ago, and I deeply regret that.
In my core, I fervently believe that the set of technologies I refer to as crypto (blockchain, cryptocurrency, smart contracts, zero knowledge proof ..) has the potential to have a profound impact on our planet. The biggest threat to that positive impact on society, is if crypto gets co-opted by tech giants like Oracle. That’s the epic battle I write about. That battle is why I’m working to build the crypto community. That’s the battle I’m going to fight.
Bring it on!
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