A short note: Persona project was handed over to Hodler Entreprises. Not sold, not acquired but handed over.
As most of the Persona community know, Persona ICO took place between December 15th, 2017 and February 24, 2018.
The BTC value on December 15th was USD 17.706 and by the February 24th dropped to USD 9813.
The ETH value had a different movement. The value raised from USD 684.45 to USD 840.525.
The ARK value was in line with BTC behavior and dropped from USD 4.28 to USD 3.66.
The funds were escrowed by ARK, and they were released only after the Persona token distribution has ended. As you can see in any of the explorers (BTC, ETH or ARK), the funds have been released to Persona controlled wallets on August 28, 2018. The value of BTC at that moment was USD 7096, ETH value was USD 296.50 and ARK’s value was USD 0.949118.
The costs during the moment of the ICO end and the release of the funds from ICO were supported by me, out of the pocket. After we received the ICO funds, I’ve signed a memorandum of collaboration with LiquidBit, an OTC desk and I decided to work only with them. Since we did not want to perform KYC during our ICO (it was not mandatory at that time and it was and still is a broken system) the OTC team said that we can not exchange ICO funds for which we don’t have KYC or proven source of funds.
At that time it was not a problem, I was just continuing to support the costs of development from my pocket, selling tokens whose origin I could have proven. So I exchanged tokens from my portfolio to support further development of Persona.
But all this changed on September 13, 2018, when all my Ledger stored tokens (my own and ICO funds) were moved to a BTC and ETH addresses I had no control over. I was accessing my Ledger very carefully, and on that day I was transferring the second payment in order get Persona listed on LAToken. I observed the theft in the morning the next day, and immediately went to the police and filed a complaint.
The whole process was very hard, the police was not very responsive, they were not understanding what I’m talking about, and due to the fact that it was Saturday, there was no personnel at the Cyber Crime Division, but as two policemen were in the building registering some material evidence from a police raid one day before and attracted by the case I was trying to fill the complaint, they were nice enough to take my declaration and have it registered on Monday morning, as soon as the registry office was open. For those of you who want to know the number of the file, this is 3364/D/P2018 and the number of my initial complaint is 2234/VIII-1/2018.
I started to contact exchanges and ask them if those addresses are theirs and if yes to block the funds, but every time the response was that those addresses are not generated on their systems.
The first thing that stroke me was that the tokens never moved from the addresses. Even now, one year after, the funds are in the same addresses. On Monday, seeing that the funds are still in those addresses, the police asked me not to say anything about the theft so they have time on their side and to perform whatever operations police are performing. Which I did. After all, I was funding Persona from my funds, it wouldn’t make any difference. It’s just that most of my portfolio was stolen.
In that period, a lot of things happened to me. There were two LinkedIn accounts with my details, but only one was mine. My account to a music streaming service has been hacked, by smartwatch was registered to another email address and I was being blackmailed being asked to send money to some BTC address.
Seeing that for the police this case is a new thing I offered them all the support, explained to them that this is not just a regular theft, because of the way happened and put them in contact with all the people from the industry that could have helped them. There are some more details but being an investigation in progress I can’t say much more than this. Anyway, according to the Romanian law, after one year if there are reasons to complain about police or judiciary progress you can sue them, and this is what I’m doing. Since April this year, I have a lawyer that keeps contact with the people handling my case and next week he’s going to fill on my behalf a sanction request to the Court House against the people handling my case.
Nevertheless, I continued to support the Persona development from my pocket, pay taxes, salaries, marketing and such, but with the current drop in Ark’s value (June 2019- USD 0.52/ September 2019 USD 0.22) it became impossible for me to further support the development of Persona.
So I contacted again Nayiem (with whom I was trying to get a partnership between our products and who asked me long before if I don’t want to sell Persona). I told him that I’m not selling Persona but I’m handing it over, offering it, with the rest of remaining ICO funds that were under my control)and with the promise that when the stolen funds will be recovered to get receive everything (he has also the passphrase of the initial BTC and ETH wallets).
I always said that Persona is my second child. And this was and still is true. And because I care about what happens with Persona I spent all this money out of the pocket. And when I couldn’t do it anymore, I looked for someone to continue the development and the vision I had about Persona. It hurt me seeing some of you accusing me of scamming or spending your money on vacations but as police asked me I couldn’t responded back and at the end of the day all that mattered was seeing Persona alive.
This is why all the partnerships, and as we speak, there is an ICO project that wants to use Persona for their KYC. Since Nayiem asked me, I will continue to support him in every way I can, with the current partnerships and the ones in the pipeline so one day I can see Persona where I first saw it. Right now we are in the middle of the transferring the infrastructure. This is all that remained, everything else had been transferred already to Hodler Enterprises team.
About the theft, I strongly believe that this was not random or executed by chance. The way the theft took place is not ordinary and the most difficult modus-operandi was the choice of thefts. The fact that the tokens are still in those addresses and were not exchanged seconds after into Monero or some other tokens, transacted between various exchanges and mixers shows me that is more than meets the eye and I hope to discover one day what this was about. I already have some ideas about how this would have been imposibile to happen in the first place, but I’ll tell you more about this later.
As I’m still waiting for some details from my accountant, in the coming days I’ll produce an expenses situation for everyone to see how the money were spent until the moment I handed over Persona.