Brawker.com described itself as “an online service for individuals who want to buy and spend bitcoins. Bitcoin buyers want to buy bitcoins using a credit card or a PayPal account. Bitcoin spenders would like to use their bitcoins to purchase products and services from online merchants who do not yet take bitcoins. Brawker brings both parties together and facilitates the transaction.”
The site, which used 2 of 3 multi-signature addresses, claims that users send coins to an escrow address and the seller releases the coins once the transaction is complete. A key is held by both the buyer and seller in the browser and a final key is held by the service.
Recently, the company has been plagued with issues regarding the multi-signature implementation and how it handles incoming transactions. In mid-March, the site came to a halt as the company fought with what it called “a bad environment configuration.” The issues, which were eventually resolved, came as a shock to many of the users of the service who suddenly found transactions were no longer being completed.
Just two short weeks ago, the site was once again facing a variety of technical issues with transactions no longer being confirmed. Deposits to multi-signature addresses were not being immediately confirmed even after 30 or more confirmations from the bitcoin network. This issue impacted the entire site once again.
As the issues began to grow and more users found themselves unable to complete transactions, many in the community began to question what was happening inside the company with support tickets, emails, and frustration via various social media channels. The company knew that it needed to make a public statement about the operations of the site.
Brawker posted a blog entry on March 29th stating that CEO Cyril Houri had left the company and that the company was attempting to take a new “direction.”
Cyril Houri is a serial entrepreneur from France who helped found Brawker and Navizon, among other companies. Cyril has served as the public face of the company in a plethora of interviews, discussions, and articles since the formation of the Hong Kong based company which launched on March 31st, 2014.
The company’s blog post stated,
We recently had a change in management and Cyril is not involved in the company anymore. Brawker is now fully operated by us, the developers.
Further details on where Mr. Houri has gone have not been offered at this time, and Mr. Houri did not return a comment to Coin Fire regarding the situation.
Reports that the developers had taken over the site were further confirmed by one of the developers on reddit. A company insider told Coin Fire’s staff that the developers assumed leadership of the site and have not been paid for an extended period of time. They also reiterated that the site was not profitable and unable to pay staff, but that they hoped to turn things around by moving to more cost-effective infrastructure and re-evaluating how they do business.
Late last night, the service announced on a blog post that it would be shutting down operations.
In a blog post, the company stated,
All good things have to come to an end, and now is a good time to move on to our next projects, and build something new that is even more useful to the community.
The company is not allowing new transactions to be created on the site and will be releasing key elements of the Brawker platform via open source in the future.