In a surprising turn of events, former Ethereum advisor Steven Nerayoff has brought to light a critical decision from his past that sheds light on a significant rift between him and Ethereum founders Vitalik Buterin and Joseph Lubin. According to a detailed statement on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Nerayoff disclosed that he had turned down an allocation of over 1 million Ether (ETH), a decision rooted in his commitment to avoiding conflicts of interest and his vision for Ethereum, which he claims diverges from its current trajectory.
The candid post on X reads: “OVER 1 MILLION ETHER: Here is how much I care. I would have over 1 million Ether if I didn’t refuse my contribution, get reimbursed for expenses which was in Ether & choose not to invest in the ICO to avoid a conflict. I don’t regret it for a second. It’s not what I signed up for.”
Nerayoff attributed the surge in Ether’s price to the initial coin offering (ICO) and utility token model, which he believes played a crucial role in financing numerous projects on the Ethereum platform. Despite his contributions, he expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of Ethereum, highlighting that a focus on decentralized applications (DApps) could have significantly enhanced Ether’s value.
“I don’t say that to brag as I’m not happy; that’s the reason it’s valuable. If they had focused on DAPPs, then the world would have changed, PLUS Ether would be way more valuable. They have hurt the value of Ether. It’s just people don’t realize how much more valuable it would be today if they did what they said and created a truly decentralized scalable smart contracts platform,” he further remarked.
Nerayoff’s comments bring to the forefront a notable divergence in vision between him and the Ethereum leadership. He also revealed that, in addition to turning down the Ether allocation, he refused expense reimbursement, underscoring his commitment to changing the world rather than personal gain, unlike Buterin and Lubin. “I cared deeply about changing the world, not Vitalik & Lubin’s insatiable appetite for money & power,” he concluded in his statement.
To substantiate his claims, Nerayoff released communications with Ethereum co-founder Ethan Wilding and former Chief Communications Officer (CCO) at Ethereum, Stephan Tual. These communications, dating back to 2014 and 2015, revolved around the Ethereum endowment and the allocation of Ether to Nerayoff.
In an email dated March 12, 2015, from Ethan Wilding, he acknowledged Nerayoff’s decision to direct his Ether allocation elsewhere. Nerayoff’s response underscored his dedication to the project without expectation of financial return: “I see. I really was here to help the cause and continue to do so. As such, I wasn’t expecting anything in return. I donated, and continue to when asked, my time and passion to the project.”
Further, in communications with Stephan Tual, Nerayoff discussed his financial support for Ethereum, emphasizing his commitment without seeking reimbursement: “No, this was not approved, although I spoke with Joe [Lubin] about it at length. The issue is that it was the last large office space […] and create a community which will be very beneficial to Ethereum NYC. Right now, I’m paying for it out of my pocket… I suppose for now, consider this my gift to Ethereum (along with the Opinion Letter) and whatever the future holds on this is fine with me so long as we are successful.”
These revelations emerge in the midst of Nerayoff’s ongoing preparations for his legal battle with Buterin and Lubin, where he aims to prove fraud against them. The timing of the lawsuit filing remains uncertain.
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