After announcing the closure of its recently launched Paybase earlier this month, GAW Miners CEO Josh Garza has restricted access to his Twitter feed, allowing only his approved Twitter followers to view them.
Garza currently has over 45,000 purported followers and has tweeted 1,000 times. His tweets were viewable up until a few days ago, although activity had slowed considerably during the preceding period. Previously, he had been highly active on the microblogging forum, particularly around the time of the launch of Paybase/Paycoin. He had tweeted several times a day, often to the accompaniment of purported supporters celebrating various achievements.
GAW Miners burst onto the scene only last summer, announcing a multi-million dollar merger with a ZenMiner, which was recently claimed to have been “a total lie”. Promising to revolutionize the world of cryptocurrency, Garza also reportedly purchased the BTC.com domain for $1.1 million. After only a few months of operating its flagship Hashlet product, GAW suddenly shifted gears, unveiling a new altcoin, Paycoin, and a supporting payments network, Paybase.
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Paycoin was guaranteed a $20 price floor. It currently trades at $0.20, 99% off its target. 18 days ago, Paybase was unexpectedly shut down, according to a GAW-run blog post, offering seemingly strategic reasons for the move. Earlier, withdrawals were halted. More recently, the company was sued for unpaid utility bills for its Mississippi data center, which reportedly housed its mining operations. The latest iteration sees Garza moving the Paybase operation from the US to Hong Kong, renaming it Mineral. Residents of the territory, recently stung by the MyCoin scam, are not yet as familiar with Garza as their American counterparts. Inevitably, there will be more victims.
The unusual move of blocking public access to Twitter activity comes as no surprise. MtGox deleted all of its tweets during the final days before its collapse.
By now, GAW has been thoroughly recognized as a complete scam. But this is only very recent. During its summer announcements, the noise around it was no more audible than that surrounding your average mining company. As recently as late November, the operation got a huge boost from a highly upbeat, unskeptical Wall Street Journal article, which required a separate follow-up piece to put things in perspective.
The fact that such schemes can fester for lengthy periods highlights one of the challenges faced by the cryptocurrency industry, one which partially revolves around the “currency of the internet”. In a world of virtual currencies, virtual identities and which was originally designed to operate out of the reach of authorities, such challenges are inevitable.