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Seals With Clubs Bitcoin Poker Site Ceases Operations

Fledgling Bitcoin-based online poker site Seals With Clubs has announced that it has ceased operations, effective immediately, following nine days of unexpected downtime that began on February 11th.  Operators of the site’s Internet home page — sealswithclubs.eu — announced the site’s discontinuation earlier today, while continuing to provide a mechanism for cashing out users’ on-site Bitcoin balances to players’ personal online Bitcoin wallets.

seals_logoA brief message posted on the Seals With Clubs home page, reprinted below, also confirmed speculation that former SWC “Chairman” Bryan Micon is in the process of relocating to Antigua.  Micon, generally alleged to be one of the owners of SWC, is described in the statement as having the intent of relaunching an updated version of the SWC software platform under a new brand name.

Whether the site came under pressure from US government officials remains unknown and unlikely to be commented on in the near future.  The cryptic message regarding the site’s closure stated that an undeclared event that occurred on February 11th — the day the site went offline — would have meant the site would’ve needed to operate in a “perpetual state of jeopardy,” something a majority of the site’s owners decided was an unwise option.

Instead, SWC has terminated active online play and has urged players to withdraw remaining funds, as has already been ongoing in recent days.

The BTC-based site was the largest of all Bitcoin poker site, though still tiny by the standards of major mainstream online sites.  Former SWC Chairman Micon has yet to issue a formal statement of his own regarding the site’s closure.  Several days ago, Micon tweeted, in part, “I have a lot of work to do,” adding “#Bitcoin Poker with SwC will be back. It will be a grind, but it will be back.”

Here’s the statement as released by “Seals Administration” regarding the immediate shutdown of the site:

2015-02-20

Loyal players,

Effective immediately, SealsWithClubs will cease providing Bitcoin poker and will be shutting down all operations except to allow player funds to be withdrawn for a limited period of time. SealsWithClubs is, and has been, completely solvent up to this point in operations.

WE URGE ALL PLAYERS TO WITHDRAW THEIR FUNDS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. PLAYERS SHOULD CEASE ALL ACTIVITY TO THEIR ACCOUNT DEPOSIT ADDRESSSES NOW.

On approximately February 11th, 2015, several events occurred related to operational security that we consider to indicate SealsWithClubs now operates in a perpetual state of jeopardy. We will not divulge details publically, but they may come to light if any team member chooses to come forward of their own volition at a later date. All player funds and data remain intact and the issue was not software related. We do not believe any of our Bitcoin wallets used in operations to be compromised or lost. However, this event has made the majority vote of the ownership and team agree that shutting down operations is the best move for safety and security purposes.

SealsWithClubs Chairman, Bryan Micon, would like to carry forward the business with his own team (currently settling in Antigua) but the majority ownership cannot guarantee the future security, solvency, and integrity of that operation because there will be no administrative oversight carried over from SealsWithClubs. Members of the SealsWithClubs team and ownership are not ones to lightly endorse anything, not even our own longstanding trustworthy team members, which is why nobody ever makes a sole decision. This dynamic has saved the business several times throughout the years. With Micon operating on his own with his own team, the checks and balances we have kept in place against one another internally for 3+ years will have been removed.

As the majority ownership & team will not go forward with operations but Micon is still in a position to do so, it makes the most sense to hand off assets to Micon in order to enable him to provide to our players the best Bitcoin poker experience he can. Micon has been extremely enthusiastic and dedicated to SealsWithClubs for longer than any member of SealsWithClubs historically, and we truly believe he wants what’s best for its players.

We’ve made considerable effort and expense on a SwC 2.0 software package over an extended period of time; we are transferring the rights to that package in full to Micon with the understanding he will remain faithful to the revenue share and licensing agreement SealsWithClubs had with its primary developer(s) that continue work on it. We suspect that the primary developer(s) behind that project will gladly continue working with Micon. Micon will also be provided the swcpoker.eu domain from which we were planning to continue operations from once SwC 2.0 was ready to deploy. As such, we believe Micon will have the resources at his disposal to bring the new site up, backed by the new SwC 2.0 software package, at a rapid pace.

The traditional SwC 1.0 clients and server, based upon the PokerMavens server/client software and protocol, will be retired. There are a number of operational and security considerations to the SwC 1.0 architecture that we do not feel could be properly documented and conveyed to any new team for further operations or development. At this time, those available must focus our efforts elsewhere.

While the majority ownership and team wish the best for Micon and his operation, we prioritize remaining faithful to our player’s balances and security first and foremost. The SealsWithClubs.eu domain, related social media accounts and support e-mail addresses (for the duration they are still active and being checked) will solely be used for administrating and paying out all remaining player withdrawal requests. In the event the domain is seized or the current withdrawal server is made inoperational during the period withdrawals are still being administrated, a signed GPG message from hdev or xdev will provide definitive instructions for players to continue making withdrawal requests assuming we are still available and able to draft such a message. Any unsigned or invalidly signed instructions by others should not be considered legitimate.

Please note that withdrawals will only be open for a limited period of time and be solely administrated by those uninvolved with Micon’s new operation who have been charged historically with maintaining SealsWithClubs solvency. Those able to stick around to process these withdrawals are hoping to commit to at least a few months of availability. We hope that this is sufficient in allowing all players to make their appropriate claims to their funds before they are made unavailable; in addition, we hope our players will do their part by spreading the word.

In line with remaining faithful to player security, we will not be providing Micon or his team with account passwords or authentication information or balance details. We will provide to him account names and the current e-mail addresses associated with them, as well as the krill amount associated to each account. This should allow his team, if they choose, to reserve usernames and e-mail password resets to users as well as honor their Krill amounts. Micon will also be provided the current e-mail address and account names of any affiliate accounts and the accounts associated under them so that he can choose to remain true to the affiliates in the affiliate program that he pioneered through the years for SealsWithClubs.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AN EMAIL ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR ACCOUNT YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CLAIM YOUR KRILL AT SWCPOKER.EU IN THE FUTURE. YOU HAVE THE OPTION TO ADD OR CHANGE IT NOW USING THE FORM BELOW.

I reiterate for emphasis: Micon nor his team have not and will not be provided access to SealsWithClubs player funds or account credentials at any time. This limitation is not placed in order to hinder Micon or his operation, but rather, to remain true to the SealsWithClubs administration’s commitment to player security and balance integrity to the very end.

Thank you to all of our players for your support, trust, loyalty and enthusiasm throughout the years. We know that cryptocurrency poker is here to stay and it saddens us all to be in a position that we can no longer reliably be the ones to provide it to you.

Seals Administration

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