Cypherpunx, we love you. Let us all pause for a moment to laugh till we cry at Wirecard. Why? Because all we ever hear is bitcoin bad, criminals use it. Therefore, governments are "right" to ban Bitcoin. Right ? NO. Bitcoin is risky, sometimes bad things happen. But in the REAL, GROWNUP world... ah hah hah hah hah. Sniff. Next time someone scoffs at blockchain, howl at Wirecard... which way would you trust your money to move???
TBF Bitcoin stories are astounding. But THIS story has it all baby. Started on porn and gambling cash, Wirecard is a payments processor. Around 2008, ex managment consultant, reclusive CEO Markus Braun starts wearing a Steve Jobs black turtleneck. He announces at a rare company appearance that English will be the main language of Wirecard, oddly since most of Wirecard did not speak English. Wirecard makes top of the pops in Germany, breaks into the DAX index of the largest Germanic corporations, has a valuation over 30 Billion USD. Marcus appoints his protege Jan Masalek to lead the international expansion.
Things get weirder as Markus is only ever seen sipping mint tea and watching the Wirecard stock price on his phone, and demanding that his senior staff "do something about this" when the stock dips (which stressed them out to the max.) Markus is known to be afraid of flying, and unlike most tech CEO's, won't visit his clients and seems uninterested in tech. He speaks vaguely, with his employees counting how he always repeats certain words in his rare speeches - "strong," "ecosytem," "machine learning." One investor said Markus was not a tech visionary, but a "man without qualities" speaking "gobbeldegook" and bailed the eff out, but most investors remained until just now.
Last week Wirecard went bankrupt. Announced that two BILLION cash reserves did not exist, probably never did. They were in a fictional branch of a Philippines bank ( actual address a fisherman's house.) . Apparently the protege Jan is now missing in the Philiipines as well. Oh yeah, and Wirecard has over four Billion in debt. Stock price collapses, perhaps the whole 30 billion in equity is gone? Markus in jail, 6MM bail. No sign of stunning young Jan. Bitcoin scandals got NUTHIN on Wirecard.
Look at this smug hatchetman. Known for only wearing a suit and tie when Markus was in town. He was the trustee of the 2 billion cash "reserves", fired just as things went south, which gave him time to disappear, moving freely despite COVID ( billions of traveling cash does that sometimes.) Hell, I bet he got a golden parachute. See ya with Ylang Ylang.
What's the real story here? what about the regulators ?? bad things happen to Bitcoin because it is not regulated, right ? Funny story(s) about that.
#1, Ernst & Young - now EY - signed off on the Wirecard accounts every year in a full audit. Without ever doing audit 101 - which is, IF SOMEONE SAYS THEY HAVE BILLIONS IN A BANK CALL THE BANK DIRECTLY TO CHECK. The bank says no one ever spoke to them at all, from Wirecard nor EY.
But you know EY was paid great money every year. And we know EY has been in on many fine accounting scandals. Hey, maybe accounting fraud is an EY core competency used for client retention ? MAYBE just maybe there is a huge cottage industry of people making up lies to fulfill "regulation."
#2 - around 2015, other auditing firms ( price waterhouse) started to make snarky comments. Finally in 2017, reporters from the Financial Times published some of these mutterings. OK, cue BaFin ( sounds like barfing with a boston accent.) That's the action call for the #1 big old bad German regulator, the Bundesanstalt fur Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht. BaFin swung into motion. Thank god the securities market is regulated!! and safe!! What was BaFin's first ( and only, to date ) action ? OF COURSE, the BaFin filed lawsuits AGAINST the FT reporters.
Look at this schmuck. Ya, I am der big powerful German government regulator. I know better than you nasty little people. How dare you reporters say anything about my darling German high tech company ??!!? I VILL SUE YOU, little men.
So there we have it, cypherpunks. 30 billion, that's 30,000,000,000.00 USD in value shot to hell. While the regulators sued the reporters. And the accounting firms signed off on lies year after year. So what did all that regulatory kabuki theater amount to ?
These are the institutions we are supposed to trust with the value of our money. For the love of mankind, buy bitcoin - "BITCOIN -There's no way it can be worse than Wirecard." And vote for politicians that agree.