Oh God, Not Brock Pierce Again

Brock Pierce isn’t exactly the number one topic at the forefront of cryptocurrency these days, though there was a time that he was a big point of contention:

John Oliver calls Brock Pierce a “sleepy, creepy cowboy from the future” in a 2018 segment.

But it’s important to understand that people familiar with Brock Pierce as a — let’s not mince words here — gross dude, fail to recognize just how many times Brock has made strange business decisions that hurt others.

Let’s delve into the sordid past of Brock Pierce.

The Beginning

Most are aware that Brock Pierce got his start as a child actor, featured in such films as The Mighty Ducks and First Kid. In 1998, as a 17 year old, Brock was brought on to be executive vice-president for a now-infamous company called Digital Entertainment Network, or DEN for short. DEN was an internet start-up that was essentially an early iteration of Netflix, but with extremely targeted sitcoms produced by Hollywood executives rather than a platform that creates and purchases a wide-variety of media. Show titles included Chad’s World (targeted toward a young, gay audience), The Chang Gang (targeted toward a young, Asian audience), and Redemption High (an evangelic Christian, high school drama).

The DEN logo

DEN was founded by Marc-Collins Rector and Chad Shackley and received funding from the the likes of Chase Manhattan, David Geffen, and Bryan Singer. Within a year of being founded, DEN was on the fast-track to an IPO, reportedly being valued over $50 million at the time.

But the IPO never saw the light of day. Just as DEN was about to publicly list, an unnamed defendant brought a lawsuit alleging that Marc-Collins Rector, Chad Shackley, and Brock Pierce had sexually abused him as a minor when he worked at DEN.

MCR, Shackley, and Pierce immediately resigned. The IPO was scrapped, new executives were brought on in an attempt to salvage what they could, and by June of 2000, DEN filed bankruptcy and ceased to exist. Two months later, it was investigated for fraud.

Ojala, Marbella

This wasn’t the end of the problems for the trio. Shortly after the bankruptcy, MCR was indicted by a New Jersey grand jury for transporting minors across state lines for the purpose of having sex with them. For some reason, Shackley and Pierce decided to flee the United States of America with an indicted child molester and move to Marbella, Spain. Weird life choices, but hey, whatever.

MCR’s sexual offender/predator flyer

An Interpol warrant was issued for MCR’s arrest.

A Virtual Currency Empire is Born

At the same time that MCR was actively avoiding US and European authorities, Brock Pierce was beginning his new venture, called Internet Gaming Entertainment, or IGE for short, and ya know, for some reason, founded it in Marbella, Spain. Pierce won’t publicly admit it, but many to this day believe that IGE was shadow-funded by MCR. However, let’s not get too hung up on the fact that Pierce lived with a child molester on the run.

IGE’s business model — which Brock Pierce is still very proud of — was to underpay a bunch of Chinese kids (“virtual sweathshops”) to play games like EverQuest (similar to World of Warcraft, but older and worse), accrue a ton of in-game items and currencies, then sell these items and currencies to Westerners for a massive upsale. The legality of this is… questionable.

A Little Hiccup

A year after Pierce founded IGE, authorities finally nabbed MCR, and Shackley and Pierce were arrested with him. Because they were living with him. In Marbella, Spain. In a mansion filled with child pornography.

But again, not getting too hung up on that.

Pierce and Shackley were released without charge and Pierce continued his virtual currency empire.

The waves were being felt throughout the gaming world: MMO gamers were united in a hatred of IGE, which they saw as ruining the dynamics of the games they loved, instead turning them into basic lootbox, pay-to-play adventure games.

By 2004, IGE was buying out competitors and scaling up. In fact, it was making such big waves that it brought on a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who a handful of people know by name: Steve Motherfucking Bannon.

Photo via Aljazeera

Steve Bannon, supposedly, liked working in the grey markets and saw huge potential for IGE. When news of him being on-boarded caught wind, venture capitalists and hedge funds poured money into IGE.

This proved to be a mistake.

Piss Off the Players, Piss Off the Developers

As a growing chorus of MMO gaming fans joined in forums to discuss their hatred of IGE’s business model, others were deciding it more worthwhile to file lawsuits against the business and destroy it in alternative ways.

Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of World of Warcraft, put measures into place to make reselling of in-game items and currency almost entirely forbidden. This took a massive toll on the income of IGE, and soon it was drastically hemorrhaging cash.

And then a young bro in Florida by the name of Antonio filed suit:

Antonio alleged that, as someone who devoted 35–40 hours a week to World of Warcraft, IGE had disproportionately ruined his gaming experience.

Little did Antonio know that Pierce had one-upped him by selling his own stake in IGE and letting the US branch wither and die. Antonio was suing a company worth nothing.

Virtual Currencies are so 2004 — Brock Gets into Bitcoin

Similar to what Brock did with DEN, after leaving IGE he immediately fell head first into yet another grey market — this time, Bitcoin. In interviews, Brock claims he was one of the top, if not *the number one* Bitcoin miner in the world for awhile.

After getting involved in the mining aspects of Bitcoin, Brock became chairman of the board for Mastercoin (now Omni), a board member at the Bitcoin Foundation and helped found Tether.

Even with all of this information, I’m failing to mention that he hung out with Jeffrey Epstein on numerous occasions, took advantage of a US tax loophole for living in Puerto Rico and pretended it was for charitable reasons, and lastly, tried to resurrect MtGox with a shitcoin.

The First President Pierce Sucked, This One Would Suck More

The reason for this long summary of Brock’s tawdry past is that — and God only knows why — Brock Pierce is running for President of the United States of America (BrOcK tHe VoTe BrOs!). There are reasons a skeptic like myself can think that Brock would do something like run for president — mostly regarding lax regulation for political action committees, lax regulation for political campaigns, lax regulation for loans for political campaigns, and, of course, exposure to the public (redefining himself publicly while pasting a new face on his past).

I know Brock Pierce won’t win anything. I know Brock knows he won’t win anything.

If this is for positive public exposure, I want to negate that. If it’s for some shady monetary reasons, I want to help people recall his past financial relations. If it’s because he actually thinks he can win, I want to be the one to assure him there isn’t a cold chance in hell that he’ll receive a single electoral college vote.

Mostly, I want to remind everyone that Brock Pierce is a gross dude who shouldn’t be trusted. Never, ever forget it.

Stay skeptical, friends.

Fraud. Fraud everywhere.