It’s one of the stranger cryptocurrency stories, but as he swings back in his Central London office chair overlooking the afternoon sunlight across the Thames River, the controversial innovator and author of four books on Blockchain recounts how he often contemplates that with even the most surreal events, it’s hard to fathom how penetratingly real the effects can be. Daniel Mark Harrison is certainly qualified to talk about this, no doubt. In the past 18 months, big-name innovator and personality of the digital asset world Daniel Mark Harrison, whose family are the original printers of over 150 global currencies, has come to terms with the fact that someone is pursuing a personal vendetta against him.
“It’s one of those things that you think may be the case at first,” Mr. Harrison says, opening the door to his office balcony and lighting up a Marlboro Red. He takes a drag and breathes out a plumb of smoke. “I should really quit this, you know. But then again, you don’t know – you don’t know if it’s just a cavalcarde of crazies or whether there is some psycho out to shoot you. Turns out more often than not a psycho is the cause, apparently.”
A lot of our conversation is like this – it jumps in abstract tangents between one topic, to another and then back to the original topic. It’s a style of speech he says when I question him about it that often drives people mad.
“Then again, most people think I am legitimately mad on some level,” says Mr. Harrison, laughing at his own self-portrayal. He pauses a minute. “And they are right. But they have also failed to see that their way of thinking is not sane. To focus on detail and obsession – like, like this psychopath, you know, the one who is chasing me now – that’s absolutely barmy. Don’t you think?”
Right here is probably about as appropriate an entry point as any to get right into the story. Daniel Mark Harrison, the oldest of the ninth generation in a long line of Harrisons who go back to about 1560 if you’re counting properly, and who printed among others, the first works of Shakespeare, the Holy Bible (illegally for a little while, apparently), the British Stamp, the sterling banknote, Harper’s Magazine, the London Gazette, pretty much all the Foreign Office War Correspondence and a lot of other things that form most of our recollection of British industrialisation, for the past 18 months has been followed. Well, not followed exactly – although that may be true – but stalked. Mr. Harrison has a stalker and this stalker is obsessed with taking him down.
Initially, during early 2017, the stalker, who cannot be named in this article for legal reasons, succeeded in having Mr. Harrison arrested (he was released without charge) for his non-role in a housing development scheme that he tried to save back in 2015, and posed as hundreds of different characters online in the form of avatars in chat room when the budding entrepreneur began his innovation path in cryptocurrencies.
“Cryptos are a strange world, so at first I didn’t think much of it. But then I began to see the relentless and obsessive tenacity this person had to connect the housing thing with the digital currency thing, especially after they smashed my market to pieces,” says Mr. Harrison.
In mid-2017, according to evidence so far seen by The Currency Journal, the stalker orchestrated a mass-sell-off via another alternately named character online who advised everyone he had previously told to buy Mr. Harrison’s asset Coeval up, to sell overnight. The result, predictably enough, was a 95% drop in the price of the token. Oh, and a class action lawsuit by crypto legal firm Silver Miller which was later thrown out and re-attempted as five individual suits. The class action, which alleged “hundreds and possibly thousands” of out-of-pocket investors appears to have been made up out of thin air. Like fiction. So how is he coping with it all?
“It’s been pretty mental but then that’s innovation for you,” says Mr. Harrison, brushing off the suggestion that the stalker has caused any lingering harm. “At the end of the day if your products are the best, and your knowledge is supreme, no bunny boiler is going to spoil the party.”
This is Part 1 in a 3-Part serialisation of John Clare’s exclusive interviews with the one they say is pegged to be cryptocurrency’s Steve Jobs. Read Part 2 here.