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Popular crypto influencer Alex Saunders is under fire, with numerous associates alleging that Saunders owes them large sums of Bitcoin.
Alex Saunders, the popular crypto influencer behind Nuggets News, is facing a slew of allegations that he failed to repay crypto loans and that funds invested in a new project were redirected to a crypto exchange.
Saunders is one of Australia’s most well-known crypto educators. He offers a paid service and has 140,000 YouTube subscribers.
Over recent days, crypto Twitter has been ablaze with allegations that Saunders has run out of capital. Numerous individuals including YouTuber Bitboy claim that Saunders personally owes them multiple Bitcoin each, prompting investigations from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Australian Financial Review (AFR).
According to the AFR, Saunders received approximately $7 million from 100 or so investors interested in supporting his upcoming stablecoin project, Decentral Bank, after promoting it to Nuggets News subscribers in April. The publication claims to have spoken with more than a dozen investors who backed the project, with each estimating a $50,000 investment.
The AFR reported that investments to Saunders’ wallet appear to have quickly been moved onto popular crypto derivatives exchange, FTX. The exchange’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, has indicated the team is already investigating the allegations.
Would be nice to know if there is a chance of recovery for these people……..This is now over 8 figures of fraud.https://t.co/4KT6w5rKTY
— DeFi Ted (0xbakes) (@DeFi_Ted) July 22, 2021
Shot through the Heart
Saunders’ public fall from grace appears to have started on July 19, when he appeared on a live stream with the controversial HEX founder, Richard Heart.
Saunders used data from crypto data aggregator Santiment to argue that HEX’s order books are thin, claiming that its markets are unable to support meaningful selling pressure.
I just exposed $HEX on a live stream so thoroughly @RichardHeartWin cut the stream. This is the first time he has ever cut a video mid stream. Thanks to @santimentfeed for the great data that allowed me to expose this fraud. Watch here before he deletes: https://t.co/zM7IYjJg6g
— Alex Saunders ???? (@AlexSaundersAU) July 18, 2021
Heart took to Twitter after removing Saunders from the live stream to share apparent screenshots from private conversations with Saunders, claiming that he had “begged” him for a 50 BTC loan and attempted to solicit a “pre allocation” in a forthcoming token.
Heart’s post reportedly made Decentral Bank backers fearful of their investments, and many sought refunds. According to the AFR, they saw posts in a private Facebook group in which Saunders agreed to repay his investors, though refunds have yet to be issued.
I’ve never shared a conversation publicly before, but I feel I have to here. @AlexSaundersAU. Alex begged me for a 50 BTC loan. Then tried to sell me a “pre allocation” in a token. Then tried to sell me on just giving him money to talk. I feel this may represent most paid groups. pic.twitter.com/rAoleiDKHv
— R.Heart’s forking ETH. HEX.com 40% APR 3866x @558d (@RichardHeartWin) July 18, 2021
According to the ABC’s July 28 report, screenshots of dialogue between Saunders and an overseas hedge fund manager show requests to borrow Bitcoin back on two separate occasions, with the fund claiming not to have repaid the BTC it lent Saunders back in January. According to one of the messages attributed to Saunders:
“Sorry to put this on you mate. But I felt like I could trust you. I’d 10x’d my FTX account. Then got greedy.”
According to the ABC, it has spoken with five people in Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand who claim Saunders owes them money.
Saunders has yet to respond to the allegations on social media, and he hasn’t been active on Twitter since July 23.
Blockchain Australia stated that it is aware of the allegations levelled against Saunders and has been informed that the allegations are “being handled by his legal representative.” In 2019, Saunders was appointed to the board of Blockchain Australia.
Nuggets News became the Collective Shift platform. On Sunday, Managing Director Ben Simpson sent a video update to members in which he stated that he had spoken with Saunders about the allegations.
“He looked at me straight in the eye and said ‘don’t worry about, like, you know, there is a couple of people I owe money, I am on repayment plans, don’t worry about it.'”
Simpson told the ABC Saunders is no longer involved with Collective Shift, either as a shareholder or contributor.