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This time, Ava Labs is taking (conspiracy) centre stage after being accused of effectively paying off a law firm to to sue their competitors.
According to a report from whistleblower Crypto Leaks, Ava Labs allocated 1% of the AVAX token supply and Ava Labs stock to Roche Freedman to stage litigations and class-action lawsuits against its rivals.
The lawfirm recently sued Binance.us – the US-registered entity of the crypto exchange behemoth – in regards to the LUNA crash and also filed a lawsuit against Solana Labs, claiming SOL is an illegal security.
In leaked video footage, Kyle Roche, founder of the law firm, revealed that Roche Freedman was paid to attack competitors such as Dfinity and Solana.
Roche explains how he started his law firm in August 2019 and “on the same day, Ava Lab launched in the same co-working space. Ava Labs CEO Emin Gün Sirer and I knew each other because of academic writings.”
In a separate video, Roche describes his relationship with Sirer (who he refers to as Gün) as being “like brothers” and that they have “the same interests.”
“We did a deal where I agreed to provide legal services in exchange for a certain percentage of the token supply,” Roche continues.
“Besides Andreessen Horowitz, I was the first person on their cap table,” Roche says. “Obviously I’m biased. I have a stake in Ava Labs – a big one, I did very well, around a point on the token supply and equity” adding his allocation was around a third of Ava Labs co-founder and COO Kevin Sekniqi’s allocation.
Roche then goes on to reveal how his firm sued other parties in crypto as a “strategic instrument” to support Ava Labs to become a partner, describing litigation as “an underused tool.”
Elsewhere, Roche revealed he has moved to Miami for “tax purposes” and is currently living with Sekniqi. Roche further claimed he had inside knowledge of the crypto space. “Because I sue half of the companies in this space, I know where the market is going,” he says. “I believe [I am] one of the top 10 [crypto experts] in this world… I’ve seen the insides of every single crypto company.”
Sirer has refuted the allegations, labelling them as “conspiracy theory nonsense.” In a tweet, Sirer wrote, “How could anyone believe something so ridiculous as the conspiracy theory nonsense on Cryptoleaks? We would never engage in the unlawful, unethical and just plain wrong behavior claimed in these self-serving videos and inflammatory article. Our tech & team speak for themselves.”
Sekniqi similarly tweeted, “Tldr: stupidity to the maximum mega giga level written by some ICP conspiracy site, the shit against Ava labs is idiotic and false and the rest idk about, wait for official statements.”
Video evidence tends to be the most compelling, but the crypto community are still torn. Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao described the scandal as “wild”, tweeting, “not sure if this is true, but assuming the videos are not deep fake… And of course, #binance was a target. We are not even a competitor.”
Famed crypto Twitter commentator FatMan questioned Sirer’s defensive tweet, asking, “Are the videos fake, or is Kyle Roche lying about the nature of his special arrangement with Ava Labs? I think some more clarity & a detailed statement is in order here.”
Others compared the “similar energy” between Sekniqi and Do Kwon when Do Kwon responded to a scandalous article about Terra.
However, some still questioned whether the entire story is simply more FUD-mongering. “After going through the article and clips, I found the clips are not substantiating their claim, yes, there were clip about Kyle Roche talking about his work, but it could easily be taken out of context to fud someone without full unedited clip , this is probably another fud campaign created to bring avalanche down imo,” wrote one member of the Avalanche Official Telegram channel.
Others described it as a “Fud campaign against avax” whilst one group member said “Crypto Leaks, I feel sick just watching it. Great tech was overshadowed by some interview and some guy not being able to hold his mouth.”
Our favourite tweet amid the Ava Labs scandal simply reads, “k so avax is basically hitler,” which is a humourlsly extreme and inappropriate take on an unfolding crypto conspiracy. Dubbed an “Ethereum-killer,” Avalanche’s popularity has remained unmatched…until now. Cynics and media have thus been waiting on the sidelines to pounce on Avalanche to step one foot out of line. As popular as Avalanche is for some, bringing down the giant is great business for others.
However, as CZ so astutely pointed out, there is yet to be any evidence that the videos of Roche were faked. There’s also no evidence that Roche is telling the truth or lying through his teeth – of course, there would be little incentive to carry out the latter from Roche’s point of view.
For now, it saddens Blockhead to see such a promising project as Avalanche crumble but we’re still looking for more answers to surface before we take sides on this.