The domain registrar experienced a run on the bank this year, and it continues to try to make customers whole.
From the outside, everything seemed to be going well at Epik. Sure, the domain name registrar known for catering to controversial customers was hacked the prior year. But it seemed to have recovered.
Not all was well beneath the veil, however.
In September, Epik announced that Rob Monster was departing as CEO. This came as a shock; Monster was the founder and face of the company and frequently interacted with domain investors on domain forums and via email.
Brian Royce (podcast), who is new to the domain business, stepped into the CEO role.
Now we know why there was a sudden change.
It all seems to stem from an investment Monster took in Epik. It was a two-tranche investment, and the investor was displeased after making the first tranche. The investor negotiated a settlement with Monster, and that is apparently related to his departure.
Then came a surprising revelation: Epik owed its customers a lot of money that it didn’t have on hand.
Much of that money was socked away in Masterbucks, a type of virtual currency that Epik managed. Customers could ask for this money to be converted to dollars at any time. When they became spooked that the money wasn’t really there, it led to a bank run on the company.
Epik went into triage mode to pay out some customers while pushing others off or making partial payments. It continued to accept payments through its escrow service and used the new money to pay off others, leading to “new” customers waiting for their money.
One of the challenges, at least according to Royce, is that the company lacks good records of who it owes money to.
Epik’s creditors are in a tricky situation. On the one hand, they are unhappy with Epik and are publicly expressing their displeasure. On the other hand, they need the company to survive if they want to get their money.
This is a continuing story to watch in 2023.
Thanks for putting the pieces of this puzzle together, Andrew. Let’s see if Epik is able to make things right with its customers and regain the trust of the community. In the meantime, it may be wise to think twice before spending money on domain registrations, transfers, renewals, or their escrow service.
NetOperator Wibby says
I think the moral of the story for 2022 is, if a company is offering their own currency it’s most likely not backed by anything. Epik FTX
Igor Gabrielan says
Why is money called virtual? Epic owes me 55,433 regular dollars. Do dollars become virtual if they are stolen?
It will be interesting to see if Royce can turn Epik around. I have my doubts.
Ankit Puri says
Thanks for this info. I have been trying to push domain out of Epik but they are all locked and they are not unlocking them despite several mails and reminders. Any suggestion??
This is very strange. Unlocking domains at Epik is usually a one-click action. I just did it with 5 domains yesterday. I recommend contacting their support as soon as possible. This is not normal.
Mark Thorpe says
.XYZ could be next
Epik probably should have appointed administrators long ago. What is the legal situation of continuing to take payments whilst insolvent?
I am with EPIK for many years. I am experiencing the following EPIK issues at this time:
1. EPIK does not register or renew domains even though they take the money out of your account right away and send the receipt showing domains have been registered.
2. You have to spend days begging the Epik support to make it right and they keeps saying their engineers are working on the issue.
3. EPIK now saying they do NOT cash out the money in the “in-store” credits. I have hogh $$$ in this and they refuse to cash out.
4. I have arounf mid-four figure ($$$$) in the “Master Bucks” account and requested a withdrawal on Jan 16. I verified the security etc and it’s still in pending. I need money to pay health expenses urgently. I checked with Epik support and they said they it’s accounting have not cleared funds for people who are ahead of me and told me to just keep waiting indefinitely for it’s accounting to review/send funds.
5. My rate dot-com registration/renewal bulk account rate was set at $8.03 which is now set at $9.99 without even informing me or sending any email notification etc.
Do you have similar issues at EPIK?
Please advise what should I do to get my funds totaling about $5k.
I have approximately 750 domain names at Epik and they are all set to auto renew… the original renewal price was approximately $8.48, but they are automatically charging my card $10.99 each, even though their website clearly says 9.99 for dot com!
After learning about the Epik problems I want to transfer my domains to another registrar…
Epik changed their sign in page to Identity.com which is a name that is registered to Rob Monster. They make it very difficult to log in to your dashboard… I believe they are trying to steal my property.
Andrew, please interview EPIK CEO and help us get the updates/money from EPIK.