Michael Patryn, the early cofounder of failed crypto exchange QuadrigaCX, has returned to crypto. A convicted felon, Patryn slid out of public view after Quadriga CEO Gerald Cotten died in India, and all the news came out about Cotten running Quadriga like a Ponzi.
In Patryn’s latest incarnation, he is 0xSifu, cofounder and treasury manager of Wonderland (TIME token), a DeFi protocol that runs on the Avalanche network.
ZachXBT posted the news in a Twitter thread early today:
“This needs to be shared. @0xSifu is the Co-founder of QuadrigaCX, Michael Patryn. If you are unfamiliar that is the Canadian exchange that collapsed in 2019 after the founder Gerald Cotten disappeared with $169m. I have confirmed this with Daniele over messages.”
Daniele Sestagalli is the founder of Wonderland, who fully admitted to keeping 0xSifu’s true identity hidden from the rest of the group for a month.
Sestagalli posted a response to the doxxing in a Twitter thread, saying he felt Patryn — who he called a friend and “part of my family” — deserved a second chance:
“Today allegations about our team member @0xSifu will circulate. I want everyone to know that I was aware of this and decided that the past of an individual doesn’t determine their future. I choose to value the time we spent together without knowing his past more than anything.”
Sestagalli also issued an official statement on Mirror.xyz, reiterating that he believes in second chances. And reassuring everyone all the funds are safe, even though a convicted fraudster is watching over them. TIME’s treasury balance, as of Jan. 27, is nearly $680 million.
“I found out about this 1 month ago, I am of the opinion of giving second chances, as I have mentioned on Twitter. I’ve seen the community very divided about my choice of maintaining him as the treasury manager after finding out who he was and his past,” he said.
He added that Patryn will step down from his position at Wonderland. And there will be a vote as to whether or not he rejoins the team. “Wonderland has the say to who manages its treasury not me or the rest of the wonderland team,” said Sestagalli.
Of course, it wasn’t until now, they were working with full information.
Wonderland is a fork of OlympusDAO, an obvious Ponzi, as pointed out by Coindesk, who literally wrote: “Yes, it’s a Ponzi scheme. But who cares?” The project promised an annual yield of 7,000%. Compare that to Wonderland, which is currently offering crypto lenders 83,000% APY.
In addition to Wonderland, Sestagalli is behind Popsicle Finance and Abracadabra. He also headed the now-defunct Zulu Republic. Members of the collective, call themselves, “Frog Nation.”
Sestagalli doesn’t like to tell people who his is or talk about his background. When asked about himself at a 2021 conference, he replied, “I’m a frog. I identify as a frog.” You can see him speaking here.
Who is Michael Patryn?
Patryn is former convicted felon Omar Dhanani, who legally changed his name to cover up his criminal past. Patryn left Quadriga in early 2016, after he and Cotten allegedly had a quarrel and split ways.
Prior to founding Quadriga, Patryn was one of 28 people arrested in connection to operating an identity theft ring called Shadowcrew. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in a US federal prison. Upon his release, he was sent back to Canada, where he went right back to doing what he had been doing all along — moving money.
Operating as a type of middle man, Patryn ran several exchangers for early digital currencies, such as E-Gold and Liberty Reserve, both widely popular among underground economies.
Five years older than Cotten, Patryn was Cotten’s mentor, his big brother, and the controlling mind behind QuadrigaCX. The two had connections that went back to their early days on TalkGold, when Cotten was just settling into his career as a con man, running small time Ponzi’s and disappearing before they went bust. He died just as QuadrigaCX, a gold mine for the small-time con, was losing its wheels.
It should be of no surprise to anyone that Patryn has resurfaced again, or that he has found a trusting partner such as Sestagalli to kick off another business with.
Patryn is a one-trick pony. He’s not clever enough to reinvent himself, and his hubris makes it impossible for him to simply disappear and go and enjoy a quiet life somewhere.
MyCrypto founder Taylor Monohan, who was in the QuadrigaCX documentary Dead Man’s Switch, tagged Patryn’s wallet in 2019, after she herself lost money on QuadrigaCX. The wallet has remained active and shows transactions totaling 20 ETH to 0xSifu’s address, as Monohan points out on Twitter.
0xSifu’s wallet currently has $70 million worth of crypto in it. It’s been apparently offloading funds all day. Earlier, it held over $450 million worth of various coins.
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