Former Ethereum Foundation advisor Steven Nerayoff alleges that along with his father, Eth co-founder Vitalik Buterin orchestrated a character assassination campaign against him, citing a video where Vitalik accuses him of ICO-related fraud.
The news betrays a bout of political intrigue concerning potentially consequential revelations about irregularities regarding Ethereum’s 2014 ICO, and long-standing accusations that the Foundation abandoned senior researcher Virgil Griffith following his North Korea-related arrest.
Ethereum has becomes a major powerhouse for thousands of projects in the crypto ecosystem, reaching a market capitalisation of $571 billion at its peak in Nov. 2021, at the height of the so-called pandemic. At a $191 billion market cap today, the platform’s relative success has attracted both investor interest and outside scrutiny regarding its inner workings and its most prominent characters.
Suffice it to say, critics view Ethereum as the main platform that underpins wild pump and dumps and various forms of financial misconduct. However, these fresh accusations may cast doubt over the very integrity of Ethereum’s operations all together, especially during its formative years.
Nerayoff also challenges the ethos and motives behind Ethereum, pitting key figures against each other which may in turn threaten to reveal insider secrets that could shake the foundations of the community (or not).
Alleged Fraud and Character Assassination
In a post on X, Nerayoff said that both Vitalik Buterin and his father, Dimirty Buterin, “coordinated & scripted character assassination” to make Nerayoff the “fall guy”. He cited a video in which Vitalik alleged that Nerayoff was involved in fraudulent activities connected to the extortion of an ICO.
— Digital Asset Investor.XRP (@digitalassetbuy) September 22, 2023
In his statement, Nerayoff questioned the motives behind Vitalik’s actions.
This is a Father/Son coordinated & scripted character assassination to make me their fall guy. Vitalik Buterin falsely accused me of committing a ‘huge amount of fraud’ – or was he just diverting attention from himself?
New Revelations Regarding the ETH ICO
As covered by crypto news outlet coingape, suspicions don’t end there. XRP lawyer, John Deaton, has revealed that he too has receipts held by Nerayoff, indicating inconsistencies in Ethereum’s initial coin offering (ICO) in 2014, adding a layer of controversy about the platform’s early days.
Both Nerayoff and Deaton claim to have documents that reveal malpractices within the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the time of Ethereum’s ICO launch. The suggestion is that individuals within the Ethereum Foundation might not have been fully forthcoming about the accusations levied against Nerayoff.
Deaton alluded to further revelations on the horizon, stating, “The truth will come out, and we are getting closer.”
Ethereum foundation accused of abandoning senior researcher following arrest
Beyond that, Nerayoff has said that under the guidance of Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum Foundation threw senior researcher, Virgil Griffith, under the bus following his arrest. The researcher was “convicted of helping North Korea evade sanctions.” In 2019, an article from Trust Nodes highlighted the ordeal, where the Ethereum Foundation appeared to distance themselves from the arrest.
Nerayoff emphasised Ethereum’s lack of support for Griffith after his arrest, which in his view was a black on white display of their true colours, leaving one of their own to face life-changing charges without support. Nerayoff has yet to publish documents backing his claims, and community members have told him to “do the right thing and show some action.”
The story underscores how the cryptocurrency space is not free from deep-seated internal conflicts, with these fresh revelations painting a picture of political intrigue and potential misconduct at some of the highest levels in crypto.
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