End of an Era: LBRY Bids Adieu Due to Insurmountable Debt

In a somber farewell message to the crypto community, blockchain giant LBRY has announced its closure, citing “several million dollars” in debt that have effectively sealed its fate

by Faruk Imamovic
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End of an Era: LBRY Bids Adieu Due to Insurmountable Debt
© Getty Images News/Jack Taylor

In a somber farewell message to the crypto community, blockchain giant LBRY has announced its closure, citing “several million dollars” in debt that have effectively sealed its fate. The journey of this once-promising enterprise illuminates both the potential and pitfalls of the ever-evolving cryptocurrency landscape.

The Last Hurrah

On October 20th, the LBRY team made its final communication on Odysee, a video-sharing platform powered by the LBRY blockchain. The message, shared on X (previously known as Twitter), was clear: “This will be our last post,” and outlined the staggering debts owed to various entities including the SEC, their legal representation, and an undisclosed private debtor.

“LBRY Inc. must die, there is no escaping this,” the statement read, echoing a grim sentiment of finality. “It has lost a judgment to the federal government, has several million dollars in debts, and has pledged to shut down”.

Just a day before, they had expressed gratitude to their supporters: “Thank you to everyone who fought with us for online freedom”. The firm had originally signaled its imminent wind-down in July, following an unfavorable ruling by the SEC on July 11.

Although the SEC initially sought a whopping $22 million penalty, the amount was significantly reduced to $111,000 upon realization that LBRY was incapable of settling such a monumental sum.

Legacy of a Blockchain Pioneer

Despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding its departure, LBRY's legacy in the cryptocurrency world remains noteworthy.

Jeremy Kauffman, the former CEO, reminisced about LBRY’s remarkable eight-year tenure, stating, “It wasn’t a happy ending, but it was a happy journey”. While the firm's corporate structure is dissolving, with its executives, employees, and board members all resigning, the LBRY blockchain itself, being open-sourced and decentralized, is poised to live on.

As long as blocks continue to be mined, the system will function. Moreover, LBRY's influence is evident in platforms like Odysee, which recorded 5.3 million unique users per month from January to April 2023. This was more than any other decentralized social media platform in the market at the time, a fact supported by data from CoinGecko.

In a rapidly changing digital landscape, LBRY’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the volatility inherent in the crypto industry, even as it underscores the transformative potential of decentralized technologies.

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