Ethereum Network Advisor Files Lawsuit Against the US Govt.


Steven Nerayoff, an early advisor to the Ethereum network, has taken legal action against the United States government, filing a lawsuit for false charges and mistreatment by federal agents spanning from 2019 to 2023.

Nerayoff, who gained attention for publicly accusing Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin of fraud, has initiated a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) lawsuit, seeking $9.6 billion in damages for the extortion case brought against him in 2019. The lawsuit endured for approximately four years before being dismissed by the U.S. government in May 2023.

Ethereum Network Advisor Files Lawsuit

According to documents filed in the SF-95 form, the Ethereum network advisor alleges that federal agents were aware of the groundless nature of the charges against him. 

He further contends that some agents resorted to harassment, intimidation tactics, and fabrication of evidence to prosecute him for extortion.

Damages Inflicted

Nerayoff’s legal team asserts that the damages inflicted upon his reputation and businesses warrant legal action against the U.S. government. The filing highlights the irreparable harm caused to Nerayoff’s personal life, career, and financial stability:

“As a direct and proximate result of the wrongful conduct of federal agents and/or officers, Mr. Nerayoff’s well-being, personal life and career were irreparably harmed. […] He incurred significant legal fees to defend himself while simultaneously losing income as a result of becoming a feared pariah in the crypto community.”

‘Unusual’ Case of the Ethereum Network Advisor

Renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz has been engaged as a consultant on the case, describing it as “unusual.” Nerayoff, a serial entrepreneur, attorney, and blockchain pioneer, founded the blockchain consulting firm Alchemist and holds multiple international patents.

In September 2019, the Ethereum network advisor was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alongside his Alchemist associate Michael Hlady, facing charges of extortion. Authorities alleged that they threatened to “destroy a cryptocurrency startup if they were not paid millions of dollars” in Ether.

Nerayoff’s history in the cryptocurrency scene has been marked by controversies and legal battles. He has previously levied serious allegations against Ethereum founders and the Ethereum Foundation, including claims of fraudulent initial coin offerings, personal misconduct, and collusion with corrupt officials, often referred to as “ETHGate” within the community.

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