Blockchain researcher ZachXBT was he sued for defamation by one of the people he accused of fraud, according to a June 16 social media post. Jeffrey Huang, known as MachiBigBrother on Twitter, accused ZachXBT of damaging his reputation with false allegations.
MachiBigBrother too posted notice that he is suing the detective on the chain.
A year ago, @zachxbt published a Medium article about me that damaged my reputation.
Today I filed a defamation suit against him in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.
— Machi Big Brother (@machhibigbrother) June 16, 2023
ZachXBT responded to the lawsuit by calling it “baseless” and “an attempt to freeze free speech.” He promised to “fight back” against it.
In a thread responding to his own post, ZachXBT linked to the Medium post accused of being offensive. Titled: 22,000 ETH embezzled and more than ten projects failed: Big Brother Machi Story (Jeff Huang) Article defendant Huang to launch “more than 10 failed pump and dump tokens and NFT projects,” including Formosa Financial’s treasury management service.
One of the claims in the article is that Formosa Financial co-founder George Hsieh removed 11,000 ether (ETH) from the project treasury:
“Formosa Financial took a turn for the worse when on June 22, 2018 two withdrawals of 11,000 ETH were made from the Formosa Financial cash wallet. Unbeknownst to investors, co-founder George Hsieh, acting as the sole director of the company, pushed through the share buyback through himself, executing on both sides.”
The article claimed that Hsieh subsequently left the project, leaving other officers in charge. According to ZachXBT, funds drained from the vault were sent to numerous other wallet accounts shortly thereafter, including one that also received funds from the Ethereum Name Service domain harrisonhuang.eth.
Combined with other blockchain data, ZachXBT concluded that “these addresses tie back to Jeff Huang/Mithril”. ZachXBT blamed Jeff Huang for draining the funds, stating: “This chart shows the ETH inflows of angel/private round funds into multisig before the two 11,000 ETH withdrawals by Jeff and George on June 22, 2018.”
Cointelegraph obtained the complaint filed on June 15 on behalf of Jeffrey Huang in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. In it, Huang’s attorney claims that his client has not drained the funds from the Formosa Financial project, stating:
“Not only did the complainant not embezzle funds from the Formosa Financial project, he also never had control over any Formosa Financial funds, making embezzlement effectively impossible. On information and belief, Defendant fully understood that as a mere outside consultant to the Formosa Financial Project, Plaintiff would have no way of directly accessing the allegedly stolen funds at all.”
Additionally, Huang’s legal team argued that the project’s founders were most likely the ones who stole the ETH from the treasury, as ZachXBT’s arguments “do not fit the far more likely and obvious explanation that company insiders, rather than outside consultants like the Plaintiff, coordinated to orchestrate the transfers.”
The lawsuit also alleges that ZachXBT makes money from donations through his work as an on-chain sleuth, which it says is the real reason he published the article.
In his Twitter thread on June 16, ZachXBT denied the allegations, saying Huang was trying to “silence” him. “It’s disgusting to see it happen,” ZachXBT said, “but I knew it was going to happen one day because the price of telling the truth sometimes is when people don’t like what you say.”
ZachXBT has previously exposed data on many different crypto scams and exploits. On June 10, he identified activity involving $1 million in cryptocurrencies exhausted via Twitter phishing frauds. On June 4, he revealed estimates that $35 million was lost from the exploit Atomic Wallet app.