Photo via Twitter
Pharmaceutical CEO and American bad guy Martin Shkreli has taken great pleasure in being a full-time societal troll. He’s raised the price of critical HIV treatment drug by 5000%, then made a mockery of his Congressional hearing on the controversial decision. He also purchased the single copy of Wu Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin then threatened to have Ghost Face Killah scrubbed from its tracks. For some who has so delighted in screwing others, it would be only a matter of before someone screwed him. That time has come.
In a bid to own exclusive rights to Kanye West’s forthcoming album The Life of Pablo, Shkreli evidently struck a deal and sent 15 million in Bitcoin (which comes out to over 6 billion US dollars) to someone he believed to be a representative from West’s legal team. Shkreli, who seems to relish in bragging about his business transactions on Twitter, tweeted the sale, attempting to turn around a 10 million dollar profit before the transaction had even been confirmed.
Things took an unexpected turn when Shkreli supposedly didn’t receive what he paid for:
But then came hints that this was Martin all just taking the piss out of everyone. He tried to rally together an impromptu investigative team via a public video chat, then claimed both to be starting a GoFundMe and that Bitcoin’s mysterious founder Satoshi Sakamoto (who’s identity remains unconfirmed) was helping him get his money back.
According to Finance Magnates who devote a section of their magazine to cryptocurrency, the easiest way to know if Shkreli indeed lost 15 million in Bitcoin on a deal would be to simply look at the ledger. Like all digital currencies, every transaction of Bitcoin leaves a trackable mark by being recorded onto a “block chain” ledger. It’s impossible to bypass the ledger when using Bitcoin, though you can make it a pain to track down a transaction by withholding the record (which is like refusing to hand over a receipt when attempting to prove a sale). Though Shkreli has thus far refused to share the transaction information, Bitcoin experts, the magazine suspects, should be able to verify track the transaction history down. 15 million in Bitcoin, after all, is a lot of money.
[Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that Shkreli had spent 15 million Bitcoins, or over six billion USD, to acquire The Life of Pablo. Shkreli actually spent 15 million USD worth of Bitcoin.]