Controversial Bitcoin Startup CEO Resurfaces After Disappearance

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The long-lost CEO of what was once one of the most hyped bitcoin startups has resurfaced online after a near two-year absence from the community.

Danny Brewster, the founder and CEO of Cyprus-based bitcoin banking startup Neo Bee, is now tweeting from his former Twitter handle @BtcDanny, with messages including promises that he intends to reimburse investors for losses incurred during what can be best described as a contentious period of company turmoil at the start of 2014.

During that time, an arrest warrant was issued for Brewster, who faced allegations from law enforcement in Cyprus that he had defrauded at least two customers who paid €35,000 for bitcoins never received.

The @BtcDanny account issued its first tweet in almost two years on 31st December, and in follow-up messages, Brewster has suggested investors may soon “get everything back”, phrasing that implies he intends to reimburse those who invested in the crowdfunded startup.

In a statement to CoinDesk, Brewster reiterated the claims, adding that more information on their validity will be available at a later date.

Brewster said:

”I have every intention of getting things settled with the business and anything that is possible payed to investors as per the original agreement like I have been fighting to do for almost two years.”

The claims received mixed responses on Twitter, with some encouraging Brewster to repay investors and others casting doubt given Brewster’s troubled track record in the industry.

Brewster first solicited money from online bitcoin users in June 2013 for the idea of a bitcoin bank, with the idea attracting its first local media headlines by August.

Neo Bee had intended to raise 24,600 BTC for its operations at a time when the currency was worth roughly $120. Shares then were publicly traded via Panama-based Havelock Investments, a platform for the trading of bitcoin-denominated shares in companies before being halted amid company turmoil.

Brewster maintains that the company is still active and that it may soon emerge from a period of legal proceedings, a number of former employees have resigned.

Since then, Brewster’s whereabouts have been an irregular discussion topic on community forums.

Complicated history

Soon after the arrest warrant was issued for Brewster, former employees began coming forward to offer their versions of the events at the company.

At the time, employees gave statements to CoinDesk that included allegations Brewster absconded with corporate funds and lost money in the collapse of bitcoin exchange Mt Gox.

Theories abound as to the exact state of the startup’s finances at the time, with employees disclosing battles with Brewster over the apparent lack of clarity he was providing on the company’s financial situation. Documents provided to CoinDesk at the time were inconclusive at painting a full picture of the startup’s finances.

Employees say Brewster then flew to the UK in an attempt to seek investment, without, they said, appointing a decision-maker to lead the operations. Employees would later resign from the company amid what they described as confusion over direction.

Brewster ultimately did not return to Cyprus citing email threats against himself and his family, though how long he was gone is unclear.

Brewster did, however, suggest that the warrant was still active, but hinted that he has been seeking to contest the order.

Disappearing man via Shutterstock

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