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Nevada Bitcoin Poker Exec Bryan Micon: "I've Done Nothing Wrong"
Last Friday PokerListings was able to interview Bitcoin guru and SwCPoker chairman Bryan Micon from Antigua.
The interview covered Bitcoin, SwCPoker and Micon’s plan for the near future. Micon pointed out that technically he hadn’t been charged with anything. He was adamant he had done nothing wrong.
Micon previously helped co-found SealsWithClubs, a now-defunct Bitcoin poker site, from Nevada.
On Monday everything changed and Micon was formerly charged by the Nevada Attorney General for one count of operating an unlicensed interactive gaming system. The charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fee.
A $20,000 arrest warrant was also issued. It’s the first case in Nevada where someone has been charged for operating a gambling system entirely through Bitcoin.
Obviously the news changed the context of the interview substantially. We’ve since reached out to Micon but he directed us to his attorney at Chesnoff & Schonfeld.
Micon has since created a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for his legal defense fees. We’ve decided to publish the interview we conducted last Friday:
PokerListings: What’s the current state of SwC and how have things been going?
Bryan Micon: The site’s operational. Right now we’re peaking at about 148 players. It’s not the biggest but I think it’s a pretty big win.
It’s an exciting time. We wanted to explore all options and I wanted to play online, which you can’t do in the US.
Antigua is a great place. My family is good. Obviously having your front door broken down and guns pointed at me was pretty traumatizing for my daughter. Sadly that’s something that happens in the U.S. We are doing fine though.
I haven’t been charged with any crime. I’ve done nothing wrong. People have been mis-characterizing this saying I was running. Anybody who follows me on social media, knows I had this vacation planned earlier this year.
PL: Why did you choose to continue when much of the original SealsWithClubs management team decided to step down?
BM: It seemed ethical and right to continue. We’ve finally got a very player-friendly model. There’s quick withdrawal and it’s just so much fun.
So many players messaged before SwC was up and running and kept telling me ‘You have to bring this back. We don’t have any where else to go.’”
I think it’s a very strong statement for the model that everyone god paid back. It was an orderly shut down. Everyone got their money.
I can’t think of a poker site that’s been able to do that. Lock Poker is a really good contrast. There’s usually a trail of tears for poker sites that shut down.
PL: Can you talk a little bit about the new software for SwCpoker.eu?
BM: The technical team should be extremely proud. The new software is beautiful.
It gives us some flexibility. We’re spreading badeucy and badacy right now. I don’t know anybody else that’s doing that.
We’re hoping that in a few months we’ll have OFC on Android. The new software is just far superior.
PL: What’s going to happen with Bitcoin?
BM: I get asked that question a lot and I answer the same every time: I simply don’t know. It’s so volatile. Every year I’m shocked whether it’s the run up to $1,000 or the subsequent fall. I have absolutely no idea. I don’t think anyone does.
Who knows what will happen? As far as the math goes it’s fundamentally sound. It just keeps working. It’s strong and secure and I’m very hopeful towards the future. There are a lot of really smart people working on it.
The actual value is hotly debated. A lot of guys like me think it’s worth far more than it currently is.
PL: How does that affect SwC?
BM: It doesn’t affect the site. Every single chip on SwC is delimitated from Bitcoin. There’s no banking of any sort involved.
When it fluctuates it doesn’t change your account balance on the site. That’s only when you take it out into fiat currency. The price is the price.
PL: What’s the plan for SwC?
BM: The business development team is going to work very hard to find a jurisdiction where we can live although we may continue to explore a no-jurisdiction model.
I’m gonna keep traveling. Antigua is a lovely place. I’d love to base the site here.
The site is strong right now. We have a lot of support behind it. I have a feeling it will make a positive impact where ever it lands.
I see a lot of similarities between Bitcoin and Silicon Valley. There’s a lot of very smart, hard-working people involved.
I like the idea of gathering them all in once place like San Fransisco did for tech. We could have a central meeting place where people would feel safe.
PL: What about you personally? Will you return to the USA?
BM: I don’t have any long-term plans. A lot of it is up to my lawyer. I don’t make plans like that. I
have a two-year-old daughter and that affects a lot of my decisions. I play it a bit by ear.
PL: Do you miss the US?
BM: I love the WSOP, poker and I love certain things about it. There are certain other things I don’t miss.
The U.S. can be a pretty intense place. Raising a two-year-old in Las Vegas wasn’t the right answer.
I haven’t really properly traveled. I want to take a look at what else is there is.
I don’t know if my poker aspirations will be able to dictate my plans in the future.