: If you are not using epik escrow, you are wasting your time
Can you comment on whether Epik is registered as an Escrow Agent anywhere in the US?
I am very familiar with your firm's efforts to dispatch various state agencies to investigate compliance against your definition of escrow however, the valid definition is simply to function as trusted third party.
Regardless of the definition of the property being transacted, if the escrow company is not being examined regularly it's impossible to know that those funds would go to the seller if the company got into trouble.
PayPal is licensed as a money transmitter
in the US States in which they operate, otherwise they'd be shut down.
Commenting on TheDomains.com, Brandon Abbey said
"From Freelancer 2018 annual report regarding Escrow.com – “as part of this process, in FY18 the division incurred one-off regulatory penalties of $0.8 million
"The point is it’s hard enough to get offers on our domains, then reach a mutually agreed price, then have the buyer pay for our domains, and now to face this additional obstacle of KYC verification"
Which if I remember 2019 correctly, a big draw for using epik escrow was less hoops verification wise to jump through than escrow.com. So dating back to 2019, there appears to be a feud, or even maybe migration of domain escrow business to an extent away from escrow.com, and onto epik.com corresponding with their epik escrow marketing pushes.
October 2020: Epik loses PayPal
cites, "A source close to the situation put the issue more bluntly: money laundering."
Rob Davis Email to PayPal CEO
"This is before we even address what looks like the intentional and inaccurate classification of our proven business model as a domain registrar, as a possible money laundering operation invoking compartmentalized handling procedures for convenient cover related to the Patriot Act. You have misclassified the operations of our company, ignored guidance otherwise regarding provisions that have nothing to do with our activities, and failed to recognize the services we offer and extend..."
"You have also grossly underestimated the depth and impact of the hardships that you now threaten to create, by eliminating the primary method that many thousands of customers have on file
as their only listed payment mechanism to satisfy renewal requirements of critical domain properties. These are domain names that our customers utilize and rely upon to run their businesses, to operate their ecommerce platforms and online stores, to provide for their families, and in many cases feed their children.
"I would add further that many of the initial round of questions related to offshore numbered accounts, money transmission licenses, Patriot Act certificates, AML
, external process flows, and other queries related to cross‐ border activities and law enforcement, were absolutely absurd, and well outside of any knowledge or experience we have as a domain registrar."
Epik Mashable Blog Response
"The only reference to AML or KYC programs received by Epik in 2020
, was a request on May 29th
for routine updates to payment flow and process handling. PayPal had reportedly flagged Epik – along with thousands of other organizations – as having possible irregularities, and inadvertently suspended services for a time period of less than three hours. An escalation to CEO Dan Schulman’s own office, promptly resulted not only in the questionnaire being removed from Epik’s PayPal terminal, but yielded the admittance that PayPal had no idea what Epik’s business model was as a domain registrar. With no prompt from Epik whatsoever, PayPal would go on to even offer and approve a working capital loan to Epik on August 23rd.
This was on top of significant of working capital loans offered to Epik over the course of the first half of the year, along with repeated attempts to take over all merchant business and credit card processing activities."
April 2022: DomainGang PayPal Restored at Epik
"The conversation on Twitter further clarifies that exchanges of Masterbacks cannot use PayPal as a withdrawal option, apparently a key decision to restoring PayPal as a transaction method on Epik."
Early September 2022:
Epik, we have a problem! (Domain removed from account)
I will continue as Chairman and majority shareholder, but will now be able to devote more time to a number of passion projects including Kingdom Ventures
Thanks in advance for welcoming Brian.
.... which ummm.... IDK if it's irony or a slap in the face that the same month Rob leaves epik CEO position to focus his time a "Kingdom Venture Fund" while later in the same month, MasterBucks stops paying out Epik customers, and now Rob is conveniently removed from the public equation.
Late September 2022
: Epik says MasterBucks will return soon!
"Royce said Masterbucks is a big part of Epik’s future and he plans to turn Masterbucks into a Paypal competitor."
I'm sure I missed a bunch, but just wanted to point out while there appears to have been historical cash crunches, and maybe current cash crunches, (and) despite epik regaining PayPal, their publicly indication of wanting to turn masterbucks into a paypal competitor seems like it all may wind back up in the state licensing money transmitter discussion of which both paypal.com and escrow.com seem compliant, where I can't seem to find any epik filings yet. Not my area of expertise, so maybe I'm missing some stuff on how epik intends to make the paypal jump. Maybe this is what new CEO Brian Royce was trying to contact Elon about...
All these AML and KYC accusations, lapses, laxes, feueds just seems like it was inivitable that some sort of compliance regulation audit of some sort would reign down on MasterBucks. If MasterBucks makes it through the regulatory/compliance/cashcrunch/whatever hoops, and somehow is able to become a paypal competitor great, but that seems like a tall order given how they are responding to this current masterbucks crisis, and how they have historically responded to escrow regulatory, and licensing questions from industry peers.