A Chinese entrepreneur who recently made headlines by announcing his plan for a blockchain “Uber”, may have got himself in legal hot water over his claims about a bitcoin tycoon, also from China.
Chen Weixing made a number of accusations in a WeChat post on June 9, taking aim at Li Xiaolai, a successful Chinese cryptocurrency investor and an early bitcoin evangelist in the country.
In his post, Chen most notably claimed that Li had raised a fund of 30,000 bitcoins in 2013 that was to mature in September 2017, yet Li pushed back the deadline to September of this year.
The reason, Chen alleged, was that Li had spent all the raised bitcoins on Just-Dice, a bitcoin gambling site.
“Everyone who’s been in blockchain industry long enough knows this. I’m not lying,” Chen wrote.
Having offered no proof to back his claim, Chen’s accusation of a 30,000 BTC debt – an amount worth nearly $200 million at press time – immediately stirred up heated discussion in the Chinese crypto community.
As the allegation emerged, Li originally said he did not care to comment on the accusation and it was Chen’s responsibility to present evidence to back up his claim.
Yet, on Wednesday, Chen took another shot at Li, publishing 11 further allegations against Li, which also accused him of luring retail investors during the bull market in order to liquidate his profits.
Following that, on Thursday, Li published an article in which he denied all of Chen’s accusations, providing individual responses to each.
In explaining the 30,000 BTC debt claim, Li wrote:
Once again, it’s not true. The fund was a private equity ‘equivalent to 20 million yuan ($3 million).’ And I never promised to guarantee the fund’s value using bitcoin. My quote was ‘We hope (this fund) can outrun the bitcoin market.’ As for the ‘due in September’ part, the fund was set up in a ‘4+1’ model, so it ought to due in September this year. Chen is just muddying the water.”
Li went further, saying that Chen has no evidence to back up the claims, which are “blunt defamation.”
In a response to CoinDesk, Li said he is “definitely” mulling the option of taking proper legal measures against Chen.
Chen has not yet publically responded to Li’s article and could not be reached by CoinDesk for comment.
This isn’t the first time Chen has sparked controversy in the cryptocurrency community with contentious remarks.
Earlier this year, Zhu Xiaohu, a notable Chinese investor and managing director at GSR Ventures Management, openly said he does not want to be involved in any blockchain-themed WeChat group discussions, because he wanted to “maintain his integrity.”
Responding to that, Chen said:
Zhu just wants to die in the old world but I want to live in the new world to come. … He doesn’t event care to keep learning. He’s also killing the innovation of a group of passionate young people while pretending to maintain that integrity of his.”