After being offline for more than a week, the Bitcoin only poker site sealswithclubs.eu is shutting down for good, the site’s team announced the news earlier today. Users have been given a limited time to withdraw their funds.
The announcement didn’t give details on the reason for the site shutting down, only clarifying that it is due to “operational security” but stressed that they believe their, and their player’s Bitcoin balances are safe. The Bitcoin blockchain should make that verifiable but the post didn’t expand.
There are several possibilities what could explain why the site is shutting down. The post references security concerns in their current system. A 2.0 was planned to launch later next month but instead that software will be moving with site “Chairman” Bryon Micon as he moves on to create a new site.
The majority of the team, according to the post, will not be moving on with Micon and will instead be moving onto other projects individually. An internal power struggle seems like a possibility, the old team declined to endorse Micon’s new venture, but there is nothing concrete to support that hypothesis. The old team did note that the internal checks and balances would no longer be present at the new site. It is not clear if this decision has anything to do with the team not following Micon and his new team.
Bryon Micon and his new team will be settling in Antigua, the main island in the small West Indies nation Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda is known for licensing online gambling operations. While no one has commented publicly on why Micon and his team are moving down there, the legal shield the country would be an obvious bet.
The old team will not be providing user information or passwords to Micon and his team. They will be providing the new team with accounts names, their associated email addresses and Krill (Seals with Club’s reward system) point levels. Presumably this is being done so that Krill amounts can be carried over to the new site, but Micon has yet to comment on that himself.
Seal with Clubs formed in the wake of the 2011 government crack down on online gambling sites. The pseudonymous nature of Bitcoin allowed Seal with Clubs to provide more anonymity than traditional sites that required credit card information. This feature helped them grow in popularity since their August 2011 launch.
Seals with Clubs remains the number one Google search result for “bitcoin poker.”