“Unhackable” BitFi crypto wallet has been hacked

The BitFi crypto wallet was supposed to be unhackable and none other than famous weirdo John McAfee claimed that the device – essentially an Android-based mini tablet – would withstand any attack. Spoiler alert: it couldn’t.

First, a bit of background. The $120 device launched at the beginning of this month to much fanfare. It consisted of a device that McAfee claimed contained no software or storage and was instead a standalone wallet similar to the Trezor. The website featured a bold claim by McAfee himself, one that would give a normal security researcher pause:

Further, the company offered a bug bounty that seems to be slowly being eroded by outside forces. They asked hackers to pull coins off of a specially prepared $10 wallet, a move that is uncommon in the world of bug bounties. They wrote:

We deposit coins into a Bitfi wallet
If you wish to participate in the bounty program, you will purchase a Bitfi wallet that is preloaded with coins for just an additional $10 (the reason for the charge is because we need to ensure serious inquiries only)
If you successfully extract the coins and empty the wallet, this would be considered a successful hack
You can then keep the coins and Bitfi will make a payment to you of $250,000
Please note that we grant anyone who participates in this bounty permission to use all possible attack vectors, including our servers, nodes, and our infrastructure

Hackers began attacking the device immediately, eventually hacking it to find the passphrase used to move crypto in and out of the the wallet. In a detailed set of Tweets, security researchers Andrew Tierney and Alan Woodward began finding holes by attacking the operating system itself. However, this did not match the bounty to the letter, claimed BitFi, even though they did not actually ship any bounty-ready devices.

Then, to add insult injury, the company earned a Pwnies award at security conference Defcon. The award was given for worst vendor response. As hackers began dismantling the device, BitFi went on the defensive, consistently claiming that their device was secure. And the hackers had a field day. One hacker, 15-year-old Saleem Rashid, was able to play Doom on the device.

The hacks kept coming. McAfee, for his part, kept refusing to accept the hacks as genuine.

Unfortunately, the latest hack may have just fulfilled all of BitFi’s requirements. Rashid and Tierney have been able to pull cash out of the wallet by hacking the passphrase, a primary requirement for the bounty. “We have sent the seed and phrase from the device to another server, it just gets sent using netcat, nothing fancy.” Tierney said. “We believe all conditions have been met.”

The end state of this crypto mess? BitFi did what most hacked crypto companies do: double down on the threats. In a recently deleted Tweet they made it clear that they were not to be messed with:

The researchers, however, may still have the last laugh.

Instagram now lets you send private polls through DMs

Starting today, you’ll be able to send polls through direct messages in Instagram. It works the same as adding the poll sticker to your stories, but now, you’ll be presented with the option to send the story to your own selection of users. Everyone in the group chat will be able to view the poll results as they vote in real time. It’s not as groundbreaking of an update as, say, the ability to mute your friends’ posts, but it’s still a useful tool for when you just want to poll a small group of relevant people, like a dinner party or family members.

The poll sticker has been available for Stories since last October, and since then, it has been joined by the Emoji slider and the Questions sticker. Instagram is going full-force to increase engagement between users, even if it means turning the platform into something like ask.fm.

Like many of Instagram’s new features, the update is rolling out now to a select group of users on Android and iOS.

Brother’s new laser printers spit out prints with just a tap thanks to NFC

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Brother has launched a lineup of seven new color laser printers designed for home offices and small businesses. The new printers integrate access to cloud storage options like Dropbox and Google Drive while mixing in wireless printing and NFC.

The lineup includes seven new models, from a basic printer to all-in-ones with copy, scan, and fax functions. The list includes the $349 MFC-L3710CW; $399 MFC-L3750CDW and MFC-L3770CDW; the $199 HL-L3210CW; the $249 HL-L3230CDW and HL-L3270CDW; and the $329 HL-L3290CDW.

Compared to the previous generation, Brother says the new lineup offers faster printing — between 19 and 25 pages per minute — along with design improvements. Some of the models also integrate NFC that allows users to tap a mobile device to initiate printing. Three of the models are all-in-one printers with scan and fax options.

The most advanced printer in the group is the MFC-L3770CDW all-in-one, which boasts the most features, including an auto document feeder and a multipurpose tray. Brother says the printer’s predecessor is the best-selling color laser printer in the U.S.

“We took one of the industry’s leading lineups of digital color printers and made it even better by listening to our home office and small office customers and addressing more of their printing and imaging challenges,” Eric Dahl, director of B2C product marketing at Brother, said in a press release. “With this new lineup, customers can reliably and affordably add laser-quality sharp text and vivid color images to their important documents.”

Designed for small business and home offices, the lineup aims to mix size and features. Brother says that the blend helps maximize office space as trends for virtual telecommuting increase. Four of the printers use a color touchscreen to choose printing options while five include duplex or double-sided printing.

“Research has shown measurable results from printing business documents in color,” Dahl added. “From increasing recall to emphasizing important messaging and information, color printing can be a dynamic tool for small businesses with employees on the go, and with the new lineup, we’ve made it easier and more affordable than ever before.”

All seven new printers include Brother At Your Side customer support along with automatic refill programs, including Brother’s own Brother Refresh and Amazon Dash Replenishment. The new color laser printers are now available online and from select retailers.

Editors’ Recommendations

Sprint and LG team up on a 5G smartphone set for release in first half of 2019

sprint 5g network 2019 building sign logo headquarters hq store

Sprint and LG are teaming up to bring customers what would be the first 5G smartphone in the U.S. in the first half of 2019.

The 5G smartphone is claimed to be capable of providing Sprint customers with a faster and more reliable experience. The press release specifically points out that the shift from 4G to 5G will be apparent — users will have the ability to download full-length HD movies in only seconds or play Internet-connected, graphics-intensive video games without any disruptions.

In an interview with PCMag, John Tudhope, Sprint’s director of product marketing, said the device isn’t a prototype or an idea. In fact, the 5G smartphone has already moved into the testing phase.

“We have a final hardware design that we’re pretty excited about … It is 100 percent a truly integrated smartphone that we think will be the first of its kind. It is a really elegant, high-end premium-look-and-feel phone … not much thicker than a normal high-end premium smartphone, and will have the appropriate battery to account for the power needs,” Tudhope told PCMag.

Tudhope also mentioned to PCMag that “it will be a lot less clunky than Motorola’s 5G mod approach.” Motorola launched its 5G mod in conjunction with its latest flagship, the Moto Z3, in the beginning of August.

Available in early 2019 exclusively through Verizon, users will be able to snap the 5G Moto Mod onto the Moto Z3 ,which will be capable of delivering up to 5Gbps download speeds. If there’s no 5G service in the area, users will receive 2Gbps speeds on 4G LTE.

As for Sprint’s 5G smartphone with LG, PCMag notes that since the device has already been built, it most likely won’t have Qualcomm’s upcoming 4G/5G Snapdragon 855 chipset, which is expected to be announced in December. It’s also rumored to be included in Samsung’s Galaxy S10.

The report goes on to suggest that the LG phone might feature a Snapdragon 845, along with an add-on Qualcomm X50 5G modem — the same modem built into the Motorola’s 5G Moto Mod.

The carrier didn’t provide additional information in terms of the smartphone’s design or specifications, but says more details, including an exact release date, will be announced later on.

Smartphone out of juice? Get this Anker power bank for half its normal price

anker powercore 1300 portable power bank deal

What would we do without our smartphones? With all of humanity’s collective knowledge, cat GIFs, and services in the palm of our hands, it’s no surprise we spend all of our free time staring at them. Your phone is there for you when you’re bored, when you need information, and even when you’re just trying to avoid eye contact with a random stranger — but it has its limitations. Its only ever as good as its battery life.

No matter how wonderful your phone is when it’s turned on, once the battery runs out, its about as useful as a brick. It isn’t that big of a deal if you’re near an outlet  — you’ll just need to huddle awkwardly near it while you recharge, but what if there aren’t any outlets? You can either suffer on without it, or just pull out a portable power bank and plug back in. If you need a little extra juice on the go, you can snag an Anker PowerCore 1300 portable charger for just $29 — about half its regular price.

This portable battery charger from Anker is one of the most compact and powerful battery chargers you can find on Amazon. With 1300mAH under the hood, you’ll have enough power to fully charge your smartphone multiple times over. It can charge an iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy S8 three times, and it can even fully recharge an iPhone 8 almost 5 times. It also has two USB ports, so you can charge multiple devices at once if you’re feeling kind enough to share with a friend. Unlike many cheap power banks on the market, the Anker PowerCore 1300 has PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology to allow for high speed charging on any compatible device. And despite having all of these awesome features, this pocketable device is smaller than a wallet.

Until we invent an unlimited power source or perfect wireless charging, everyone who has a smartphone could probably benefit from a portable battery charger. If you’re going to get one, you might as well get one as powerful as this one — especially since its discounted right now. The Anker PowerCore 1300 power bank is normally priced at $56, but for a limited time, you can get it for just $29 on Amazon.

$29 | Amazon

Looking for more great stuff? Find smartphone deals and more on our curated deals page, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for regular updates.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and choose what we cover carefully and independently. If you find a better price for a product listed here, or want to suggest one of your own, email us at dealsteam@digitaltrends.com.

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Editors’ Recommendations

HQ Trivia introduces an Apple TV app to less efficiently play with friends

HQ Trivia might be waning in popularity, but it’s not dead yet. Now, it’s getting an Apple TV app so that you can more easily — but less efficiently — play with friends, via TechCrunch.

It’s a move that makes a lot of sense, partly. HQ has always chased the classic game show presentation that shows like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? or Jeopardy made famous. So making the jump to an actual TV feels like a natural extension of that. And playing on a TV, in theory, makes it easier to play HQ with more friends and family members.

But the problem is: if you’re playing HQ with friends, chances are everyone is already on their phone anyway, since more players essentially means more chances to progress, especially on tougher rounds.

It also feels like HQ may have missed the boat on its own popularity here. An Apple TV app likely won’t help revive it. But better late than never, I suppose.

StarVR’s One headset flaunts eye-tracking and a double-wide field of view

While the field of VR headsets used to be more or less limited to Oculus and Vive, numerous competitors have sprung up as the technology has matured — and some are out to beat the market leaders at their own game. StarVR’s latest headset brings eye-tracking and a seriously expanded field of view to the game, and the latter especially is a treat to experience.

The company announced the new hardware at SIGGRAPH in Vancouver, where I got to go hands-on and eyes-in with the headset. Before you get too excited, though, keep in mind this set is meant for commercial applications — car showrooms, aircraft simulators, and so on. What that means is it’s going to be expensive and not as polished a user experience as consumer-focused sets.

That said, the improvements present in the StarVR One are significant and immediately obvious. Most important is probably the expanded FOV — 210 degrees horizontal and 130 vertical. That’s nearly twice as wide as the 110 degrees wide that the most popular headsets have, and believe me, it makes a difference. (I haven’t tried the Pimax 8K, which has a similarly wide FOV.)

On Vive and Oculus sets I always had the feeling that I was looking through a hole into the VR world — a large hole, to be sure, but having your peripheral vision be essentially blank made it a bit claustrophobic.

In the StarVR headset, I felt like the virtual environment was actually around me, not just in front of me. I moved my eyes around much more rather than turning my head, with no worries about accidentally gazing at the fuzzy edge of the display. A 90 Hz refresh rate meant things were nice and smooth.

To throw shade at competitors, the demo I played (I was a giant cyber-ape defending a tower) could switch between the full FOV and a simulation of the 110-degree one found in other headsets. I suspect it was slightly exaggerated, but the difference really is clear.

It’s reasonably light and comfortable — no VR headset is really either. But it doesn’t feel as chunky as it looks.

The resolution of the custom AMOLED display is supposedly 5K. But the company declined to specify the actual resolution when I asked. They did, however, proudly proclaim full RGB pixels and 16 million sub-pixels. Let’s do the math:

16 million divided by 3 makes around 5.3 million full pixels. 5K isn’t a real standard, just shorthand for having around 5,000 horizontal pixels between the two displays. Divide 5.3 million by that and you get 1060. Rounding those off to semi-known numbers gives us 2560 pixels (per eye) for the horizontal and 1080 for the vertical resolution.

That doesn’t fit the approximately 16:10 ratio of the field of view, but who knows? Let’s not get too bogged down in unknowns. Resolution isn’t everything — but generally, the more pixels the better.

The other major new inclusion is an eye-tracking system provided by Tobii. We knew eye-tracking in VR was coming; it was demonstrated at CES, and the Fove Kickstarter showed it was at least conceivable to integrate into a headset now-ish.

Unfortunately the demos of eye-tracking were pretty limited (think a heatmap of where you looked on a car) so, being hungry, I skipped them. The promise is good enough for now — eye tracking allows for all kinds of things, including a “foveated rendering” that focuses display power where you’re looking. This too was not being shown, however, and it strikes me that it is likely phenomenally difficult to pull off well — so it may be a while before we see a good demo of it.

One small but welcome improvement that eye-tracking also enables is automatic detection of intrapupillary distance, or IPD — it’s different for everyone and can be important to rendering the image correctly. One less thing to worry about.

The StarVR One is compatible with SteamVR tracking, or you can get the XT version and build your own optical tracking rig — that’s for the commercial providers for whom it’s an option.

Although this headset will be going to high-end commercial types, you can bet that the wide FOV and eye tracking in it will be standard in the next generation of consumer devices. Having tried most of the other headsets, I can say with certainty that I wouldn’t want to go back to some of them after having experienced this one. VR is still a long way off from convincing me it’s worthwhile, but major improvements like these definitely help.

Apple wants to build a custom health chip for processing biometric data

Apple is working on a dedicated custom health chip that would help it process biometric data from its suite of devices, according to job listings unearthed by CNBC today. The company currently designs custom chips for its iPhone and is rumored to switch to custom processors for its Mac line of computers as early as 2020. Currently, the Apple Watch is powered by the custom S3 chip.

CNBC reports that these new job listings indicate Apple would like to go one step further with regard to health data and integrate a custom chip that would be solely responsible for processing metrics like heart rate and helping improve battery efficiency on devices like the Apple Watch.

One listing reads, “We are looking for sensor ASIC architects to help develop ASICs for new sensors and sensing systems for future Apple products. We have openings for analog as well as digital ASIC architects.” Another says Apple is looking for engineers to “help develop health, wellness, and fitness sensors.” The job listings have since been removed.

We don’t know if Apple is simply looking to integrate better health tracking and monitoring features or sensors into its existing chip sets for the iPhone or Apple Watch, or if it’s interested in developing a custom chip that would work in tandem with other hardware components. At the moment, the Apple Watch uses a custom optical sensor for measuring heart rate. A new chip could work with that existing sensor or a next-generation one to better process the data, or it could help the accompanying device be more efficient while it collects and analyzes that data.

The A11 Bionic chip, found in both the iPhone X and iPhone 8, contains a special “Neural Engine” dedicated to helping speed up artificial intelligence-related tasks like FaceID and Animoji. A new health-focused chip could be engineered similarly, in that it’s responsible for standard computing tasks in addition to health-related ones. The next Apple Watch is expected to launch this fall alongside the newest iPhone models. However, the timing of the job listings indicate that these efforts may not manifest in parts used in consumer products for quite some time.

5 Strategies for Collecting, Creating and Circulating Customer Testimonials

Most of us understand how overwhelming it can be moving to a new city. Surrounded by a host of options for dining, shopping, daycare, leisure time, auto mechanics and everything else under the sun, making an educated decision on where to go involves some groundwork. So what is there to do?

While many of us will start by going online and checking out reviews for businesses on popular aggregate sites, our choices more likely may stem from a conversation with a new coworker or neighbor for recommendations ranging from a great dentist to the best gelato in the area.

The fact is that we hold social proof from our friends, family and even complete strangers with incredibly high regard.

Based on a Nielsen research poll, “92 percent of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and a remarkable 70 percent of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.”

The words of a peer are understandable; there’s an unspoken social contract involved. When you make a recommendation to a friend, you’re doing it based on trust in your relationship and with the implication that you will see each other again, so a poor recommendation inevitably will resurface in future meetings.

Why do we value the personal opinions of relative strangers so highly? A big part of it is visual evidence, which takes social proof one step further. Customers place far more trust in a review when they can see another customer speak, feel the emotion and sincerity in their words, and determine from body language and context clues the extent to which they’re being genuine.

This is what makes video testimonials such a critical facet of any business marketing plan. There’s incredible brand value to be found in sharing real customer documentation of an experience with your product and service. With the explosion of social media branding, quick testimonials that clock in at under a minute are ready-made for sharing on social media platforms and can attract a wide audience of potential customers.

So how do you manage to find customers that are willing to sit down and record a video of them selling your product for you? Sure there’s greater finesse to it, but ultimately for this to work you need passionate customers that really are willing to preach the virtues of your brand.

Fortunately, it’s not quite as big of marketing hill to climb as it may seem. Following are five awesome strategies to take advantage of when obtaining and circulating real-life, genuine customer testimonials.

1. Find the Faithful

Before you can think about creating or distributing customer testimonials, you have to find customers who are loyal to the brand. This won’t be as hard as you think. One option is through creating social media contests, which are a great way to get customer-created content on the fly through the use of an entire campaign — more on that below.

If you’re looking to create a testimonial to display on the front page of your site, producing in-house is a great way to go.

Reach out to large-scale buyers of your products and send a request asking if they’d like to take part in testing an upcoming product, or if they’d like to tour your facilities. Offer a discount on their next purchase in exchange for them coming to a lunch at your office and having a quick on-video conversation about your products.

Be up front about creating the testimonial and try to find a customer that really would appreciate you taking notice of them. (This can lead to both a great testimonial and to your sales team being thrilled with the stronger connection.)

Remember to have all the technical side set up beforehand. Do a quick trial run with a colleague to make sure your camera, memory and mics are good to go. If everything goes to plan, all it should take is a lunch meeting to get a fantastic, shareable customer testimonial for your business.

2. Skip the Scripting

Once it’s time to record, it’s completely OK to have some semblance of a plan in place. Maybe you want to touch on a few points of concern, like price versus competitors or quality. Maybe there are a few things you don’t want to talk about, like mentioning specific competitor names or special rates that are negotiated on a per-contract basis. These are all completely acceptable terms to run through prior to shooting the video.

With that said, don’t play director too much during the recording process. If you create a script, or specify lines or phrases to include, you risk calling into question the sincerity of the video. This defeats the whole purpose of a testimonial, which is meant to demonstrate a customer’s genuine satisfaction and feelings about a product.

Have a general plan for how you’d like the meeting to go. Don’t start with the video. Give a tour of your offices, chat for a while. Warm up your customer, both to you and to your product line. Then, when the time seems right, invite your customer to sit down for the interview portion.

Make it a conversation. You’re not running this live and can edit afterward (though you want to be up front about what you edit, and consider sending a copy of the final product to the customer before sharing it publicly).

You can prepare a few questions to guide things along a narrative path in an interview format, but don’t fret about time or direction. What’s most important is to capture genuine thoughts and reactions to your brand.

Customers viewing a testimonial know in a matter of seconds when something feels contrived and immediately will tune out. Grab the genuine moments of excitement that occurred during your recording. Don’t create a script or checklist and just check your way down.

Keep things relaxed and conversational and you’ll be delighted with your results; sometimes a 5-second frame is all it takes to put your video over.

3. Keep It Short and Sweet, but Record… Record… Record…

Piggybacking off the idea of maintaining a free-flow conversation, keep the camera running. In all likelihood, 30 minutes of recording will produce 5 minutes or less of content. That’s just how it goes, and it’s not a bad thing.

Statistics show you have 10 seconds to grab a viewer’s attention, and you’ll lose one-third of your viewers by the 30-second mark. This number continues to climb to 60 percent of viewers tuning out by the 2-minute mark, meaning that delivering testimonials in short spurts of minute-long clips can be the most effective way to share your content. Put another way, you will be doing some editing.

With that said, don’t rush the interviewee! Record everything. If you have the capability, even consider recording the whole day, including the tour of your facility. Capture the moments of your customer meeting team members or viewing your manufacturing process. There are gems of content to be found around every corner!

Let your customer elaborate on thoughts in the video. Don’t worry about the good and the bad, all of that can be taken care of later on. Just keep it moving and remember: Everything can be edited, but authenticity cannot be created.

4. Use Social Media Contests to Generate Testimonials

Call it killing two birds with one stone. Using social media to generate testimonials is an easy way to connect directly with your customers, improve your brand image, and generate content for pennies on the dollar.

The simplest format for a social media testimonial contest is to create a call to action on your social media platform, announcing a giveaway for a free product to the customer who posts a video using one of your products or services, espousing love for your product, whatever you want! You can have fun with it by asking your customers to post a video of the most creative way to use your product beyond its intended purpose. Run with it!

On the surface, you’re getting testimonial videos from actual customers or would-be customers from a minimal cost and time investment. However, these contests run much deeper than that by creating followers. For instance, asking your customers to include a specific hashtag in their post has the potential to get your brand trending on social media before a whole new set of eyes.

By posting the video content, your customers are not only getting your attention, but also that of their own followers. Think about it this way: Let’s say you’re a growing company with just 1,000 followers on social media, but looking to grow. You create a social media testimonial contest and only 10 of your followers post a video. You might have some content to reuse, but you also might feel discouraged. Well, don’t be.

The average Facebook user has about 338 friends. The median number of Instagram followers is just shy of 200. If just 10 users post a video testimonial for your contest, you’ve suddenly reached a potential audience of between 2,000-3,000 users, depending on the platform! For a company with 1,000 followers, these are hardly numbers to scoff at and can lead to real growth.

Add another layer by creating a raffle-based contest. For one week, post the best testimonial as it pertains to a theme. Then, at the end of the week, either enter the entrants into a raffle or have a vote on your platform for the best overall video.

This will create an entire week’s worth of content and a ton of back-and-forth via social media engagements, possibly with customers creating their own calls to action to get their friends to vote for them. It’s a low-cost way to run an engaging campaign that, in the end, will produce a ton of genuine, customer-created content.

5. Unboxing: The Christmas of Testimonials

This last strategy for collecting customer testimonials is a whole lot of fun for everyone. In recent years, “unboxing” videos have trended on YouTube, taking the video marketing industry by storm. After all, doesn’t everyone remember that feeling of complete joy at the holiday season when you sit down and get ready to tear into your presents? Why not harness that youthful exuberance inside all of us?

The concept is really pretty simple: Reach out to a few of your most valued customers, or maybe even your most lively customers. Offer to send them a free package with one of your products in exchange for sitting in front of their webcam and recording a video opening the product and testing it out. It’s low-effort for everyone involved, but creates some spot-on content.

Many customers will be thrilled to participate, and knowing that they’re in front of a camera by themselves, they’re likely to get into the spirit of things. These videos are awesome at accomplishing a few different marketing goals.

One of the reasons viewers enjoy unboxing videos so much is that they elicit nostalgia and a general feeling of wanting to share in the experience. It also is bound to generate a natural excitement, as your customer will be narrating the experience throughout the video.

The process also pushes you to think about your product from the customer experience point of view. You want the video to be great; you want to avoid any awkward moments during the unboxing. You’ll work to make sure the packaging is easy and that getting started is a piece of cake.

In the end, you’ll have yet another trusted outlet of customer testimonials that will create buzz about your business. Work with all of these approaches and experiment with your own tactics and strategies along the way! The key to this process is staying creative and exploring new ways to capture the thrill of your customers on video. So what are you waiting for?

Sean Gordon is chief executive officer of
HireNami. His experience recruiting, hiring, training and building teams inspired him to found HireNami to convert these challenges from painful, inefficient and time consuming to quick and effective.

Sean Rad, early Tinder employees, sue Tinder owners IAC/Match for billions

Justin Mateen and Sean Rad want what they say they're due.
Justin Mateen and Sean Rad want what they say they’re due.

Image: Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic/getty images

They call it selling out for a reason.

On Tuesday, ten Tinder co-founders and early employees filed a lawsuit against the dating app’s overlords, InterActiveCorp (IAC) and Match Group. The plaintiffs, who include co-founders Sean Rad, Justin Mateen, and Jonathan Badeen, allege that the corporate owners deliberately sought to manipulate the valuation of Tinder, in order to lower the pay-out price for these early employees’ stock options, and that it restructured Tinder within Match to deny them future pay-outs. 

Gibson Dunn is representing the ten plaintiffs.

“Tinder is one of the fastest growing startups in the history of the technology industry,” the suit reads. “This case arises from Defendants’ scheme to cheat the Tinder Plaintiffs out of billions of dollars by violating their contractual rights as option holders.”

IAC denies the allegations. It provided the following (surprisingly sassy) statement to Mashable:

The allegations in the complaint are meritless, and IAC and Match Group intend to vigorously defend against them.

Since Tinder’s inception, Match Group has paid out in excess of a billion dollars in equity compensation to Tinder’s founders and employees. With respect to the matters alleged in the complaint, the facts are simple: Match Group and the plaintiffs went through a rigorous, contractually-defined valuation process involving two independent global investment banks, and Mr. Rad and his merry band of plaintiffs did not like the outcome. Mr. Rad (who was dismissed from the Company a year ago) and Mr. Mateen (who has not been with the Company in years) may not like the fact that Tinder has experienced enormous success following their respective departures, but sour grapes alone do not a lawsuit make. Mr. Rad has a rich history of outlandish public statements, and this lawsuit contains just another series of them. We look forward to defending our position in court.

🔥, indeed.

The lawsuit says that IAC/Match owes the plaintiffs “billions.” It accuses IAC/Match of installing executives that would make false financial statements, and that the company manipulated media and financial industry reports to further lower stock prices. It allegedly delayed transformative product launches, including Tinder Gold, until after the plaintiffs’ buyout windows. And it reorganized Twitter’s role within IAC, absorbing it into Match, specifically in order to strip the plaintiffs of their options and future selling windows.

A lot of this has to do with Tinder’s 2017 valuation of $3 billion, which the lawsuit alleges is bogus, and was established specifically to minimize the amount that IAC/Match would have to pay out the Plaintiffs for their options. It says that the $3 billion made no sense, since it was the same valuation as 2014, despite astronomical growth. Just one week after the valuation, the suit says that “Match’s market capitalization incrased by approximately one billion dollars.” Additionally, it projected that Tinder would earn $454 million in revenue, while at the most recent earnings call, Mtach said that it was “on pace to exceed $800 million.” 

“Defendants’ admissions of Tinder’s continued explosive growth and financial succcess confirm that their valuation projections in 2017 were a farce,” the suit reads.

If the allegations made in the suit are true, this story represents how a corporation can use corporate re-structuring and disinformation to bilk a tech company’s young, early founders. On the other hand, perhaps IAC/Match really can take credit for differentiating and monetizing Tinder, taking it from a problem-plagued company to a multibillion dollar dating empire. 

We’ll just have to find out in court.

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