Mining ASICs Technologies (MAT) was declared bankrupt by a Maastricht, Netherlands, judge on 30th December, one week after company CEO Marc Coumans filed for bankruptcy.
The Dutch ASIC manufacturer began to take pre-orders for its line of Scrypt-based miners in March of last year, and announced plans to expand its production line to include SHA-256 miners for bitcoin mining as well.
MAT's offerings were initially met with the skepticism on message boards such as Bitcoin Talk and Litecoin Talk. However, Coumans' public appearances at conferences like Inside Bitcoins Hong Kong and office visits conducted by local bitcoin miners and media provided many customers with the required confidence to make purchases.
Customers were required to pay 35% of the production costs upfront, while miners were expected to be shipped in Q3 2014.
Customers levied accusations of fraud and false advertising, claiming Coumans willfully lied about the speed of the chips. It was even asserted that no established partnership between MAT and Dream Chip Technologies existed. Dream Chip Technologies did not confirm or deny its involvement with MAT.
Moreover, as the end of the September approached, only a small fraction of customers had received their machines. According to e-mails sent out by Coumans, there was a problem with the air cooling of the chips, which he said should be resolved shortly.
According to a source close to MAT that wishes to remain anonymous, the company had been in trouble since June, months before it stopped pre-orders.
"MAT agreed to a joint venture with ASIC manufacturer Alcheminer, costing roughly $2m. As it turned out, however, pre-orders at MAT didn't add up to $2m-worth, which meant that MAT did not receive enough chips to meet all of these pre-orders," he told CoinDesk.
Alcheminer claims to have provided all of MAT's chips as promised, but says it hasn't been paid off in full. The source suggested MAT had insufficient funds to cover other costs required to build the ASIC miners, such as the cost of software and additional hardware, and that MAT engaged in questionable activities regarding its cloud mining operations.
Such statements were strongly contradicted by Coumans in a statement to CoinDesk.
"All of this is a blatant smear campaign,” Coumans said. “Because of these false allegations, a lot of our customers became scared they would lose all of their downpayments. This led to many of them asking for refunds, while some big customers even canceled their contracts with us."
He added: "This is what led to MAT's bankruptcy."
Customers remain waiting
Appointed bankruptcy curator Spreksel only just started to research the company's bookkeeping and history this week, but told CoinDesk that it will take another three to five weeks before any sort of meaningful conclusions can be drawn.
Estimates suggest that more than a dozen customers lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in investments with MAT, Spreksel said. Spreksel added that the prospects of any of MAT's customers and creditors having any money returned to them seems quite grim, but emphasized that it's too soon to know for sure.
Coumans told CoinDesk that he was unable to provide any further information at the time of publishing, due to legal reasons.
Bankruptcy image via Shutterstock