On-Chain Detective ZachXBT Slapped with Defamation Lawsuit
Prominent on-chain detective ZachXBT has been sued by NFT trader MachiBigBrother, otherwise known as Jeffrey Huang.
Huang alleged ZachXBT defamed him by publishing a report last year that claimed Huang embezzled tens of millions of dollars worth of crypto from unsuspecting NFT users, the crypto sleuth said in a Friday Twitter thread.
"It’s unfortunate I have to make this thread but I am being sued by MachiBigBrother for an article I published in June 2022," he said in a tweet.
"Today Machi filed the defamation lawsuit. The lawsuit is baseless and an attempt to chill free speech. I intend to fight back & defend free speech."
A screenshot shared by ZachXBT shows that the lawsuit was filed on Friday in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas.
It alleges ZachXBT defamed MachiBigBrother, "inflict[ing] serious reputational and monetary harm” on him. ZachXBT faces one count of libel and one count of libel per se, according to the complaint.
"Without any regard for the ruinous effect that public allegations of criminal conduct can produce for the accused individual, [ZachXBT] not only proceeded to publish his defamatory article on Medium.com, he also maliciously promoted the article to his more than 300,000 Twitter followers," MachiBigBrother's lawyer said in the complaint.
ZachXBT Alleges Huang Defrauded NFT Users
ZachXBT shared a link to the Medium post in the Twitter thread.
Titled “22,000 ETH Embezzled and Over Ten Projects Failed: The Story of Machi Big Brother (Jeff Huang),” the article accused Huang of launching “over 10 failed pump and dump tokens and NFT projects,” including treasury management service Formosa Financial.
The article claimed that Formosa Financial co-founder George Hsieh removed 11,000 Ether from the project’s treasury. The funds were then sent to numerous other wallet accounts shortly afterward, including one that had received funds from the ENS domain harrisonhuang.eth.
Using blockchain data, ZachXBT concluded that “these addresses tie back to Jeff Huang/Mithril.”
ZachXBT blamed Jeff Huang for the draining of funds, stating “This chart displays the ETH inflows of angel/private round funds into the multisig before the two 11,000 ETH withdrawals were made by Jeff and George on June 22, 2018.”
Meanwhile, ZachXBT has asked his followers to donate crypto to a wallet dedicated to his legal costs, predicting that fighting the lawsuit could cost more than $1 million.
"I am creating a donation address to assist with legal costs associated with the defense of this matter, which could easily exceed $1m USD," he said. "All leftover funds will be returned on a pro rata basis to contributors."
At the time of writing, the crypto wallet shared by ZachXBT has received more than $230,000 worth of crypto assets, which include $176,000 USDC, over $31,000 USDT, $10,000 TUSD, and more.
ZachXBT has found increasing popularity within the crypto community for publishing original blockchain data analyses aimed to expose the misdeeds of bad actors populating decentralized finance and Web3 spaces.