Steven Nerayoff, an early adviser to the Ethereum network, has filed a lawsuit against the United States government for false charges and mistreatment by federal agents between 2019 and 2023.

Nerayoff — known for publicly accusing Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin of fraud — filed a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) lawsuit suing the U.S. for $9.6 billion in damages for the extortion case brought against him in 2019.

The legal battle lasted for about four years, with the U.S. government eventually dismissing the lawsuit in May 2023.

According to the new SF-95 filing posted by FOX Business journalist Eleanor Terrett, Nerayoff sued the federal government based on claims that its agents were aware of the baseless nature of the charges.

He also argued that some agents engaged in harassment and intimidation tactics, including fabrication of evidence, in order to prosecute him for extortion.

Nerayoffs’s legal team believes that damages caused to Nerayoff’s reputation and businesses are significant enough to file a lawsuit against the U.S. government. The filing reads:

“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.”

According to Terrett, Nerayoff hired prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz as a consultant on the case, who believes that the case is “unusual.”

Nerayoff is a serial entrepreneur, attorney, inventor of multiple international patents and founder of the blockchain consulting firm Alchemist. He is also a blockchain pioneer, known for his early involvement in projects like Ethereum in 2015.

Source: Steven Nerayoff

Nerayoff was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alongside his Alchemist associate Michael Hlady in September 2019. Both Nerayoff and Hlady were charged with extortion, with authorities arguing that they threatened to “destroy a cryptocurrency startup if they were not paid millions of dollars” in Ether (ETH).

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An early player in the cryptocurrency scene, Nerayoff has been at the center of diverse controversies and legal battles. The former Ethereum advisor repeatedly attacked Ethereum in the past, making serious allegations against founders Buterin, Joe Lubin, as well as the Ethereum Foundation.

Nerayoff’s allegations included various aspects of Ethereum’s development and operations, including fraudulent initial coin offerings, personal misconduct, and collusion with corrupt officials. One of Nerayoff’s claims is that Ethereum received preferential treatment from regulators, which is referred to as “ETHGate” in the community.

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