June 09, 2011
I have some things I've learned about the different players in this drama recently but they were a bit too random to go into any of the other posts, so I thought I'd make a generic background info entry.
Some of this info is a bit obvious when you think about it, but I figure it's worth spelling out because with all of the distractions, it's sometimes easy to miss things.
The whole idea behind UseMyWallet is one of abstraction. This type of idea is very common in the software development world. For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept, the idea of abstraction is basically that you can make generic frameworks that know how to communicate with each other through an interface, but they don't get bogged down in each other's nitty gritty details.
UseMyWallet is essentially the abstract idea of an e-wallet. It's the interface by which a pokers site agrees to talk to the actual payment processor. In this most recent case, the implementation I've been talking about is quicktender.com. The purpose of setting the site up this way is to handle the situation that has occurred most recently - pressure/seizures by the U.S. Government. Let me explain:
John Briggs is the owner of Chargestream LTD, QuickTender, UseMyWallet, Psi-Pay, EcoCard, and a number of other companies involved in payment processing. He also used to work for Neteller.com. This is not his first rodeo. He knows this business inside and out. His partner in Chargestream, and I'm assuming several other businesses, is Paul Templeman - former Neteller.com CEO.
With UseMyWallet, Briggs has designed his business so he inks a deal with the poker sites so that they support UseMyWallet. The underlying implementation of that UseMyWallet interface is/was QuickTender.com. When (not if) the U.S. Government comes at his implementation he can simply spin out another implementation using the same protocols (perhaps "fast-tender") and be back up and running without any heavy changes to the poker sites. In other words, the poker sites know how to talk to this generic "UseMyWallet" interface which hides the layer underneath it, QuickTender.com (or "Fast-Tender"), so that when QuickTender is gone, he can just turn on another implementation and be back up and running.
Given the email I detailed in the last post, I believe this is what could be happening right now. I suspect they are making slight implementation changes to handle Euros instead of USD, get different bank accounts set up, and be ready to spin out another payment processor that the poker sites can talk to via the UseMyWallet interface.
The whole reason things would be set up this way is because Briggs probably realizes that seizures are inevitable. I would assume he wants to be back up and running ASAP and doesn't want to be held hostage to delays by their own developers coming up with new protocols and new code as well as avoiding delays from the poker site developers learning a new API (Application Programming Interface). The UseMyWallet is the generic API.
Now, I'd like to detail a bit more about what I've learned from the other side of the drama... The Maryland ICE/HSI.
The more people I talk to, the more it's becoming clear that the Maryland ICE/HSI has very little sympathy for the plight of the players. The fact that we have millions of dollars either in limbo, in the government's pockets, or in the pockets disappearing payment processors is of little concern to them. In fact, their viewpoint is that us playing poker is illegal and they are teaching us a lesson. From reading various poker forums, people have taken their frustrations out by sending nasty emails to some of the government officials. I begged and pleaded people on the 2+2 forums to be as nice and understanding as possible when dealing with any of these government figures. Apparently, my pleas fell on deaf ears. I am worried that if this continues, they may simply cut us all off completely. Even if they have no sympathy for us, we still need their help. Please keep a cool head with these people. Even though we may disagree with them, they are doing their job and they think they are doing the right things.
Also, it is fairly common knowledge that the ACH transactions they seized with the 2 Linwood accounts were very small, under $2,000 USD per transaction. The ACH transfers were capped at $2,000 as this was the standard with any gaming operator in the industry for ACH. The real money was in those 2 Chargestream accounts in the Netherlands, as I had expected and those funds will be liquidated by Briggs and company well before the U.S. government gets there. At this point, I'm glad that's the case and I hope Briggs gets the money. If the government is trying to teach us a lesson then I don't have much hope for getting any money from them. This has been somewhat confirmed by my conversation with Jim Eastman a few posts back, where it was his opinion that the money taken from the Secret Service and his speculation that any money seized by the Maryland HSI would not be returned to the players.
I only hope this is not the case for the DOJ in New York.