GAW Miners is a company that started out as a reputable and respected company in the bitcoin field, selling mining devices. They shipped quickly and prices were very reasonable, but it somehow resulted in a collapsed scam, with its CEO, Josh Garza, trying to cover up everything.
GAW Miners ran their own forum, HashTalk, where the company and other subjects were discussed. However, as GAW Miners slowly transitioned from a legit hardware seller to a cloud mining ponzi, many tactics were put in place to cover up the scheme. One of these tactics were used by moderators on HashTalk, and we have an exclusive interview with a former moderator on HashTalk, cooldgamer.
Can you please briefly explain your duties while working for GAW Miners?
I was a moderator on the forum, but actually didn’t do much moderating. Mainly I hung out in the charity/marketplace sections and tried to stop what I suspected to be a scam, or verified that people taking donations worked with who they claimed to (and streamlined the process for that).
Did you have any participation with the PayCoin project, or anything related to it, such as ZenCloud or PayBase?
My only involvement was at the very beginning when I found a few promising looking coin devs and listed them off. I had no involvement in anything besides Hashtalk otherwise.
Did you notice anything suspicious while working for GAW Miners?
Nothing besides the outline of the coin itself. Since I was brought on the team by somebody I trusted, I mistakenly let my concerns get swept under ‘they’re a massive company, too big to be a scam’. The moderation was too strict for my taste, but I figured this was the company wanting their forum to be professional. Its hard to go from ‘awesome, I got a job’ to ‘holy crap, I’m working for a scam’.
You mentioned that you noticed nothing suspicious besides the outline of the coin itself. By that, what exactly do you mean?
Initial coins being bought for $4 and turning into $20, then 20 into 80-100, with no proof of the reserve fund.
As far as I know, you’re no longer working for them. Why is that? Did you get fired, or did you resign?
It was at the very end of December, right after they missed the deadline to buy people’s coins for $20 through PayBase. I didn’t post my reasons out of fear of the NDA, but that was the point; it was obvious that this wasn’t what it appeared to be.
Does this mean that you didn’t know Josh Garza’s exact plans, but you noticed something shady was going on?
Everything was run on an extremely need to know basis. I didn’t know anything the general public didn’t, only difference was I had a ban button. It was supposed to be the big Paybase launch during that period, and almost none of the promised features were delivered on, so I resigned based on not wanting to work for a lying company. I had no idea about what his plans were, all I knew was that he didn’t keep his promises. He blew his big chance, and so I stepped down.
What did you do after you stepped down from your position? Did you raise your suspicions to the public?
For the first bit I just stayed quiet and watched the show. I would have raised my concerns, but Garza loves to send out legal threats and I didn’t exactly have the resources to respond if he sent one for libel/slander against my NDA
After a little bit it became obvious that he wouldn’t follow through because what he was doing was so scammy himself, so I started speaking out.
During your employment by GAW Miners, did you assist them in censoring anything negative about their company that they didn’t want on HashTalk?
Yes, everything was done under the guise of “keeping things professional and respectful”. While the censored claims were accurate in hindsight, they were deleted for having no solid evidence. It was pretty much “prove it or shut up”, and it was impossible to come up with inarguable proof of the claims, even though Garza should have been the one providing evidence to disprove the accusations.
Did you receive any direct instructions from Garza for your job? Have you ever communicated with him directly?
Yes. There was a Google Hangout chat that was used for the majority of moderator communication that Josh was in.
There have been rumors about Josh Garza threatening his former employees for speaking out. Is that true, and have you received any such threats?
I have not received a legal threat from Josh Garza or GAW Miners, but I know that some of my former colleagues have.
Finally, what are your views on the fact that Josh Garza commited charity fraud? Would you have expected something like that from him when you first started to work at GAW Miners?
I would have never thought something like that during my period working there, but a lot has changed since them. I think it is a despicable thing and hope he gets prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Thank you for speaking out and conducting this interview. I’m sure that many in the bitcoin community will appreciate this.
Glad to help, thank you for helping to show GAW for what it really is.
This conducts the interview made with cooldgamer, a former employee at GAW Miners who worked as a moderator on HashTalk.
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