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Evan Luthra Sues Bitget Exchange for Account Freeze, Crypto Leaders Show Support

Crypto influencer Evan Luthra, recently a part of Forbes' 30 Under 30, takes legal action against Bitget over a frozen account amid REELT token controversy, claiming over $16 million for damages

Shashank Bhardwaj
Published: Aug 9, 2023 09:39:12 AM IST
Updated: Aug 10, 2023 12:14:23 PM IST

Evan Luthra Sues Bitget Exchange for Account Freeze, Crypto Leaders Show SupportImage: Shutterstock

Entrepreneur and crypto influencer Evan Luthra announced on Twitter that he has initiated legal action against crypto exchange Bitget, alleging the unlawful freezing of his account following the listing of the REELT token. Luthra, who boasts a following of nearly 100,000 on Twitter (X) and 2 million on Instagram, asserts that Bitget's actions violated his rights and undermined his advisory role in the ReelStar token project.

Luthra's involvement with ReelStar, a startup focused on developing a blockchain-based social media app for content creators, included promoting the project and receiving compensation through REELT tokens. Luthra started advising ReelStar in October 2022 and was promised 150 million REELT as compensation over the next 20 months. Before the listing, Luthra accordingly received 7.5 million tokens, out of which he sold 1.3 million on Bitget, a Seychelles-registered crypto exchange. This is where the situation became contentious.

In response, Bitget froze Luthra's account, stating concerns about token dumping and potential market manipulation. The exchange claimed that multiple accounts, including Luthra's, had sold over 2 million REELT tokens soon after listing, causing a sharp price decline of 60%. Following this, Bitget stated its intention to “cooperate with the relevant authorities to investigate if any illegal activity has been carried out, such as insider trading or price manipulation.”

On the other hand, Luthra denied any wrongdoing, asserting that he had received approval from ReelStar's CEO, Navdeep Sharma, to sell his tokens. He further emphasised that his actions were not unusual and that other exchanges, such as MEXC and Gate, had raised no objections to his token sales.

As a result of the dispute, Luthra has initiated legal proceedings against Bitget, seeking $16 million in damages along with the release of $200,000 that remains frozen in his account. In his words, “...overall they stole over $200,000 directly and then many, many more millions indirectly from me.”

The lawsuit aims to shed light on the situation and hold Bitget accountable for what Luthra perceives as an unjustified account freeze. Meanwhile, Gracy Chen, the Managing Director at Bitget took to Twitter to state that Luthra’s potential lawsuit “contains both facts and FUDs”.

Regarding the current events, she further added “At the moment, we have not received any formal court notices on this matter. And we reserve the right to take legal action against any FUDs about our platform.”

While Bitget defends its actions asserting a commitment to user protection and transparent investigations, Luthra's lawsuit has garnered attention from within the crypto community. Several prominent crypto influencers, leaders and enthusiasts - including Neeraj Khandelwal (co-founder, CoinDCX), The Moon Carl, Sumit Kapoor and others - seem to be monitoring the developments, and have taken to Twitter to show support. Other projects - such as GPT Guru - have also tweeted about feeling ‘targeted’ by Bitget. The dispute does raise questions about accountability and due process within the digital asset space.

It remains to be seen how this legal battle will unfold and its implications for the broader crypto landscape. As the crypto community awaits further updates, the controversy underscores the need for clear regulations and safeguards to prevent similar conflicts in the future.

Shashank is the founder of yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash