Who owns 8chan?

N.T. Technology owns 8chan.

And who owns N.T. Technology?

Jim Watkins.

How did that happen? What about Hotwheels?

To understand this, you have to understand 8chan's actual history and not the erroneous meme histories on, e.g., Wikipedia or Encylopedia Dramatica.

8chan was created with a quick hack to the vichan imageboard software in October 2013. It had few fans and most boards were in languages other than English.

When the GamerGate drama began on 4chan in August 2014, a small 8chan archive board called /burgers/ was created. However, owing to revelations about 4chan's founder and a subsequent crackdown on GamerGate threads by 4chan's moderation team, GamerGate posters searched the web for an alternative anonymous discussion board to use.

After either being ousted by the moderators of other websites or having to leave due to server issues, the /burgers/ archive board became a de facto base of operations.

When the then-owner Hotwheels upgraded the servers to support the higher capacity demanded by the many GamerGate users, 8chan became their home and some users took it upon themselves to create the many general-interest boards available on 8chan today.

Okay, but how did Hotwheels lose control of 8chan?

With 8chan's increasing popularity and media attention, the American hosting company N.T. Technology noticed the struggling imageboard and offered Hotwheels an attractive hosting agreement: they would not shut down the site over abuse reports unless they were not acted on in a timely manner after being filed; they would give 8chan an entire rack in their data center; and they would do all of this for free so long as they were entitled to 60% of any profit 8chan would generate while being hosted by them.

Since Hotwheels believed 8chan was either many years away from any profit or that it would never make one at all, he accepted the offer, which put all of the risk on N.T. Technology and would allow 8chan to continue existing, as it was having a difficult time finding a host that would put up with the antics of the site's anonymous users. 8chan switched hosting providers due to differences in opinion over takedowns and content five times in the month of September 2014. That would not happen ever again.

However, the story doesn't end here. The original agreement dealt only with servers and bandwidth, but in January 2015, everything changed. At the height of GamerGate, 8chan sustained a massive DDoS attack using the for-hire Lizard Squad stresser. After that attack subsided, the domain registrar of 8chan's original domain, internet.bs, seized control of the domain and redirected all users to a landing page advertising jailbait pornography.

To bring the site back online, a new domain, 8ch.net, owned by Jim Watkins, was used. This was originally meant to be temporary. At the same time, a lawyer in the Bahamas was contacted to take internet.bs to task. However, once the 8chan.co domain was retrieved, both the lawyer and world-renowned computer hacker Andrew "weev" Auernheimer recommended turning 8chan.co into a simple redirect and keeping 8ch.net as the domain for the real site, due to the increased respect for property rights inherent in the .com, .org, and .net domains, which are operated by American company Verisign instead of the government of Colombia, as 8chan.co was.

And so Jim Watkins became the owner of the most immutable part of 8chan, its domain, along with the servers. Furthermore, he retained Hotwheels as 8chan's Administrator in charge of technical and community matters and offered him projects, doing tasks such as adding oekaki support to 2ch.

Okay, but who is Race Queen?

While N.T. Technology is Jim's American company, Race Queen is his Filipino one. Race Queen is mostly unrelated to 8chan, being an outsourcing company with a primary focus on making utilities and mobile applications for 2channel. However, in recent months, Race Queen worked on 8chan for the first time by writing Softserve, the self-serve advertising system.

Has 8chan ever turned a profit?

No.

Why should I trust Jim?

He's kept the lights on, hasn't he? There is nothing certain in this world, but without Jim or a similar offer, all that would have remained of 8chan would have been an article on Encyclopedia Dramatica.

How come I'm just learning about all of this now?

You are either too new to 8chan to have seen it happen or you weren't paying enough attention while it was happening.

I read that N.T. Technology sold 2channel user data. Is this true?

No. Hiroyuki Nishimura, former 2ch.net Administrator and current 4chan Administrator, did that. You can read more about Hiroyuki and why he was fired by Jim here:

https://8ch.net/newspaper/res/3.html

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/2ch_Chronicle

Unfortunately, most primary sources are in Japanese.

[This page was updated on May 19, 2017. The previous version looked like this.]