CZ's time at blockchain.com appears to have been wholly uneventful - but this is not the case when looking into his subsequent place of employment, OKcoin (OKex will be used interchangeably throughout).
Roger vs. OKex (CZ Was Referee)
For reference, it may be best for readers to consult the following: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-advocate-roger-ver-on-okex-case-they-forged-my-signature
Long story, short Roger Ver signed a contract with OKex to allow them to borrow/rent the bitcoin.com domain for a predefined period (I think it was two years).
Their arrangement involved a fixed payment per month for usage of the domain.
According to Roger Ver, they just stopped paying him at some point.
So, he sent a cease and desist letter after not hearing back from the exchange for a certain period of time (Roger Ver's account of events).
According to Roger Ver, after he received an inadequate response to his legal demands, he felt as though his only remaining choice was to pursue litigation against the exchange.
Roger Ver Won By Summary Judgment
What makes this weird is that it was only after losing that OKex started issuing strong repsonses to Roger Ver's accusations. One can muse about why it took the initiation of litigious proceedings by Roger Ver to elicit a repsonse form the exchange (OKex), but it was clear at this point that the two parties were going to have to engage one another.
Of course, in their response (publicly), OKex claimed to have never have received any direct correspondence from Roger Ver re: legal proceedings over the ownership of the 'Bitcoin.com' domain name.
If you're looking for a more thorough breakdown of this situation that covers events as thery were unfolding in 'live time', start here with this Reddit thread:
How Changpeng Zhao Got Mixed Up in the Debacle
If you've been reading along, you're probably wondering how in the hell Changpeng Zhao ended up getting mixed in this whole debacle.
Specifically, Changpeng Zhao becomes relevant in the immediate aftermath of the summary judgment against OKex that Roger Ver won.
The details of said judgment can be found here in this CoinDesk article:
For those unaware, 'summary judgment' is a legal term that describes a "default award / decision / adjudication" handed down by the courts in a case where a claim has been made by a plaintiff (accuser) against a defendant (accused) that has failed to respond to the plaintiff's accusations (AKA: they didn't come to court).
Formal definition by Cornell Law: Summary judgment is a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another party without a full trial.
Apparently, however, once the summary judgment was handed down, OKex delivered a response through its legal counsel requesting for the matter to be resolved outside of court.
CoinDesk's report alleges that Roger Ver responded (via legal counsel), asking OKex to make him an offer (presumably to settle their dispute). Ver alleges that there was no response.
Allegations From Roger Ver Began Pouring In
Things began to get ugly between Ver and OKex after negotiations soured, with Ver accusing the exchange of committing forgery after it produced a contract that Ver claims was never signed by him.
Intro: Changpeng Zhao's Involvement in the Ver vs. OKex
Curiously, this is where Changpeng Zhao had chimed in to corroborate Roger Ver's claims.
His interjection was also captured at the time by CoinDesk (in a separate piece).
Specifically, 'CZ' stated:
"I signed version 7 of the contract with Roger. It was sent via email with my PGP signature. I do not recall a version 8,” he wrote. “With either version of the contract, OKCoin is seriously violating its obligations."
Changpeng Zhao also revealed that he had left OKex around February 2015 (the same year as the debacle between Ver and OKex).
Curiously, Changpeng Zhao's departure from the firm was before the implosion of OKex, which some could read as convenient timing (disclaimer: bias here is purposeful, because it is the author's opinion that the timeline of events involving Changpeng Zhao, when considered within the context of Changpeng Zhao's prior [assumed] relationship with Roger Ver via his previous tenure at blockchain.com as its CTO)
Curiously, during that year, the top two exchanges in the blockchain space were Bitfinex & OKex.
Fun Fact: At the time, 'Zane Tackett' was also working at OKex in the role of 'international operations manager' source. He also left OKex in that very same year...in fact, his departure was within the same 30-day period as CZ's exodus. This is worth noting because Zane Tackett would later go on to become the 'director and product manager' at Bitfinex source superscriptswouldhavebeenbetter
Curiously, this departure was timed in such a way to where it came **just before OKex began accusing Changpeng Zhao of colluding with Roger Ver to undermine the exchange on the 'bitcoin.com' domain licensing deal.
This was encapsulated in an article by Coinbuzz published over 6 years ago from the time of writing (piece is dated 2015), titled, 'Ex-CTO Accuses OKCoin of Misconduct, OKCoin Responds' (https://www.coinbuzz.com/2015/06/01/ex-cto-accuses-okcoin-of-misconduct-okcoin-responds/).
Its worth noting here that in the Binance whitepaper, it is stated that the CEO of Binance (Changpeng Zhao) was a co-founder of the OKex exchange. In addition, there is significant data (proof) via on-chain transactions to corroborate the idea that Binance and OKex still have a very strong working relationship. That latter point will be covered in a subsequent publication on librehash.org.
Following back up with the aforementioned Coinbuzz article, it states:
"OkCoin claims Zhao falsified his trading system experience during his job interview. Regarding Zhao's 'vow to make a significant contribution to the company', OKCoin states, '...upon arriving at [OKCoin], it was evident that [Zhao] did not understand the basics of the technology.'"
Yikes. That's a scathing review by the exchange that he allegdly co-founded (according to the Binance whitepaper). In fact, these statements against Changpeng Zhao are so strong that its worth digging up the original excerpts from Reddit (or wherever they were posted), in order to ascertain direct quotes from the exchange in question (OKex).
Fortunately, that statement can still be found here:
Given the importance and magnitude of the statement that was issued by OKCoin (OKex), the full statement issued by them is being re-published below:
"OKCoin would like to state that it wishes the following information did not have to be made public. However, the repeated allegations agaisnt the company by Roger Ver and Changpeng Zhao extends beyond a contract dispute. OKCoin must make the following statements to refute the allegations. It is not our intention nor our policy to hurt the careers of former employees nor the reputation of others."
"Mr. Roger Ver's allegations of forgery by Star Xu has already been refuted by Ben D. McGinnes in the conclusions of his report"
From here there is a link to a site that may or may not be online currently (http://okbounty.adversary.org/); however, there is an archived link that was saved and that can be sourced here: https://archive.is/JCVTe
This zipped file containing the full pdf of evidence that was presented by OKex can be found at that URL as well. Admittedly, the documentation as well as evidence that they provided is very extensive. This, in addition to the attestation by a 3rd-party professional that appraised the document to detect whether or not it was fraud yields a significant amount of credence to OKCoin's position in this situation.
In addition, there is a link on the site providing videographic evidence of the contract.
The site introduces this evidence stating:
"The first of the video footage showing the delivery of the forged document fromt he QQ account of the former CTO to the OKCoin accountant is now online here."
Surprisingly, it appears that the YouTube link to this document is still up at the time of writing. For the sake of preservation, Librehash took the liberty of scraping this video off of youtube and saving it within its personal archives in order to ensure that it can be viewed in perpetuity (shoot a request to the author for the download link if necessary).
For the time being - a secondary link to the video can be found here: https://reqs.librehash.org/admin/#/project/files/23
The GPG signatures as well as the additional respective zip files containing all of the e-mail correspondence relevant to the situation at hand was released by OKCoin as well.
Digging Deeper into the Statements Made by OKCoin Against Changpeng Zhao
If you think what was shown above is a lot...we're just getting started here in this saga.
The Reddit post in question was just warming up with the link to the video plus zip file document dumps.
In part one, it states:
"Changpeng Zhao previously told Roger Ver v8 waas forged by Star Xu which has been proven to be false. Changpeng Zhao stated to CoinDesk he deos not recall a v8 of the Bitcoin.com agreement. OKCoin has publicly released the video taken by the notary public of the QQ chat history on which platform Changpeng Zhao sent v8 to our accountant oin December 16th 2014."
"Changpeng Zhao also sought to conceal the QQ evidence by deleting the accountant he sent the v8 file to from his contact list on QQ. Changpeng Zhao believed this would prevent access to the chat history by the acocuntant toi prove his sending of v8 on December 16th, 2014. The chat history between CZ and our accountant remained accessible by our accountant because thet wo were in a joint group on QQ. Changpeng Zhao has claimed the screenshot of the QQ conversation is photo-shopped by OKCoin yet as CTO, he was unable to delete the QQ history properly. OKCoin was able to confirm his QQ chat history and released the video of his actions as evidence by the notary public."
From that point, there are links to yet two more videos in the Reddit thread and each video is meticulously annotated by OKCoin as well.
OKCoin Elaborates on Claims of Changpeng Zhao's Incompetence
Specifically they state:
"When CZ interviewed at OKCoin, CZ claimed to be an internet technology expert and particularly well versed in building trading systems. He vowed to make a significant contribution to the company. As such OKCoin gave a very high salary and a large amount of equity in hiring CZ and asked CZ to also serve as head of the international business. However, upon arriving at the company, it was evident that CZ did not understand the basics of the technology."
Then OKCoin goes on to list several examples that show CZ's alleged incompetence on the job.
The list is re-published below (verbatim):
- "When a performance problem occurred in our database, as a 'CTO' CZ coujdl only stand by and observe colleageus analyze and fix the problem."
- "When the company sought to build a FIX API, the comapny let CZ buil it as our other engineers at the time were not experts and left this to CZ due to his claimed proficiency. After a month, there was no progress by CZ and our other engineers spent a few days to write and release FIX."
- "When OKCoin's matching engine experienced bugs, CZ was unable to improve the matching engine, leaving Star Xu and engineers to design a new version of the matching engine. During this time CZ learned from our engineers on the process, then later claimed to others he was responsible for the development of the new matching engine."
- "CZ as CTO did not contribute to OKCoin a line of code nor solved a technical problem."
OKCoin then states that they became so fed up with CZ's incompetence that they eventually asked him to accept a demotion and rotation of his role or quit.
According to OKCoin, in response:
"CZ informed the company he would return home to Japan from Beijing where our office is located to consider. CZ returned to inform the company he would leave the company. After leaving, CZ stated to the public that he left citing different directions. The international team that CZ built mostly left the company as well. Under the leadership of our new head of international, our foregin business has achieved significant results and paved new strategies for the company."
The last sentence about their 'new direction' is irrelevant here, but the other details contained within OKCoin's denial rebuttal of CZ's actions are absolutely titulating.
The Biggest Bombshell in the Entire Post by OKex
Yes, it might seem impossible to imagine that there's a bigger bombshell than what has already been written thus far in this deep dive review of Changpeng Zhao, but it goes deeper still.
Specifically, under a section titled, 'CZ's deceitful tactics', OKCoin states:
"After CZ left, he wanted to create an exchange that linked to all exchanges. CZ told OKCoin that BTC China has already agreed to this agreement. Similarly, CZ also went to BTC China and said OKCoin had agreed to the agreement. Later CEO Bobby Lee called Star Xu to find out that neither BTC China nor OKCoin had agreed to the agreement in the first place."
What makes this such a bombshell revelation is the increasing evidence that Huobi and Binance are linked together as exchanges.
OKCoin does not elaborate on their claim that CZ was looking to create an exchange that "linked to all exchanges", but given the fact that this was published in 2015 and, now in 2020/2021, we're seeing a ton of evidence unfold that yields credence to the idea that there is some sort of linkage between the exchanges (including OKex now, ironically), one must consider whether this was part of the "grand plan" for Binance since the beginning.
And if this is the case, then one could peg Binance as the "ring leader" of this cabal of exchanges.
For readers that are unaware of what linkages are being referred to, it is advised that they visit the main site (librehash.org), then peruse among the published articles by using the search feature and typing in 'Binance Huobi' or simply 'Binance', and reviewing the results.
Roger Ver Provides a (Weaker) Response
All things considered, the response that OKex gave to the situation should be considered a 'haymaker' (boxing term for a punch loaded up with a lot of power).
The evidence that OKex provided was significant. It was well documented with plenty of 3rd-party corroborations. There are also multiple actions that were taken by CZ during the exchange that do create significant reason for question.
With that being said, the fact that OKCoin did not show up to the relevant court dates in order to contest the claims made by Roger Ver is something that must be held against them in adjudicating the veracity of this case.
Despite these facts, in the interest of remaining fair in coverage, Roger Ver's response and claims are covered extensively in this section as well.
Roger Ver's $1 Million Pledge
As the situation between OKex and Roger Ver / CZ was heating up, Ver countered hard with a public pledge of over $1 million to anyone that could prove that he signed the OKCoin contract - which, on its face seems like a strong affirmation of his position, but the burden of proof that must be met in order to prove such a claim could be exceedingly difficult, all things considered.
Someone would need to know the actual signature of Roger Ver (with repeated samples perhaps), in order to gather a baseline of some sort to draw a comparison from.
One would need access to the document that OKCoin has provided in order to analyze whether or not the signature given was forged.
Even if there were a forgery in this situation, that does not necessarily mean that there was fraud on the part of OKCoin in the situation. This is especially worth noting in light of their accusations against Changpeng Zhao (essentially asserting that he was a colluding entity on the 'inside' with Roger Ver working to defraud OKCoin as a whole).
CoinTelegraph did an excellent job of covering Roger Ver's side of the story at the time circa May 2015.
The link to that piece can be found here:
Surprisingly, this is just the second piece in a multi-part saga that will continue to dig ever deeper into the actions and cadence of the one they refer to as 'Changpeng Zhao'.