It's the equivalent of a boxing match between two heavyweights.
On the one hand, we have BitBoy, whose real name is Benjamin Armstrong. He is one of the biggest crypto influencers on Youtube with more than 1.44 million subscribers on his channel and more than 221 million views since the launch in February 2018.
On the other Atozy, whose real name is Erling Mengshoel Jr, with 1.23 million subscribers to his channel which has accumulated more than 233 million views since its start in March 2012.
In the center, the referee, who is in this case the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Armstrong has just filed a complaint against Mengshoel for "defamation, defamation per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference with business relations or potential business relations."
BitBoy is seeking damages and attorney's fees.
In the 24-page complaint filed on August 12 and viewed by TheStreet, BitBoy focused on a video posted on November 8, 2021 by Atozy.
"Atozy’s video makes repeated attacks on Armstrong’s honesty, credibility and reliability," BitBoy alleged. "Atozy’s video repeatedly calls Armstrong a 'dirtbag' stating that he is a 'shady dirtbag' and a 'dirtbag YouTuber'. Atozy’s video claims that it will 'expose him [Armstrong] as the dirtbag he is,' and states several times that Armstrong is one of a group of 'dirtbag influencers'.”
The complaint is a litany of similar accusations. BitBoy, for example, accused Atozy of having attacked his livelihood which is "cryptocurrency advice."
"To drive the point home, Atozy’s video asks 'how is this man a reputable source for crypto investment advice?' The Atozy video answers its own rhetorical question stating that Armstrong 'cannot be trusted with financial advice because you don’t know whether he’s trying to enrich you or himself.”
In the video in question, Atozy indeed uses an example of the Pamp network project and its native token PAMP. BitBoy was praising the merits of the project on his channel. PAMP, whose prices hit a record high of $2.70 on July 27, 2020, according to data firm CoinGecko, is currently trading around $0.00021084. Trading volumes are extremely low.
On November 7, the day before the broadcast of the video in which Atozy attacked BitBoy, PAMP's prices were at $0.00080295, far from their record of $2.70.
"I think what happened is he [BitBoy] got paid to make this video because whoever's paying him to make this video clearly needed some exit liquidity," Atozy concluded.
Scammers vs. 'Inexperienced' Investors
Atozy then elaborated:
"Essentially, if you hold scam tokens, you need a sucker to buy it from you. What these people normally do is hire dirtbag influencers to then show that to their fans so the scammers can then find suckers through them who then buy the scam token off of the scammer. That's why you can see the volume is going crazy around the time he released this video. Essentially Big Boy and other dirtbag influencers brought the scammers to the inexperienced investor who is in this case sadly, the sucker."
The video has already been viewed nearly 166,000 times at the time of writing and commented on over 1,400 times.
"Mengshoel via his Atozy video is publishing to the public false accusations that Armstrong engages in fraud, deceit and theft that will result in civil and/or criminal charges against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission-- the government agency that oversees investments," BitBoy claims in his lawsuit.
"Can there be a more damaging assertion for someone like BitBoy Crypto who engages in the business of providing advice and commentary on cryptocurrency investments?" the suit adds.
The problem with this last statement is that BitBoy presents himself differently on its channel.
"Please be advised that I am not a professional advisor in business areas involving finance, cryptocurrency, taxation, securities and commodities trading, or the practice of law. The information and content written, broadcasted, and/or disseminated by and through 'BitBoy Crypto' is intended FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. Nothing written or discussed is intended to be construed, or relied upon, as investment, financial, legal, regulatory, accounting, tax or similar advice, nor should it be," the influencer wrote on his channel.
BitBoy Has Some Remorse
"As a result of the wrongful conduct of Atozy, Armstrong and BitBoy Crypto suffered harm to their reputations. This harm caused a diminution in Armstrong’s business and a reduction in the generation of new business," the influencer alleges.
Atozy didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a recent investigation, CNBC reported that BitBoy could easily make over $100,000 per month for paid promotions of cryptocurrencies. The influencer told the news outlet that he made $30,000 for a promotional video for DistX, a cryptocurrency which ended being a rug pull scam. He said he stopped accepting payments to promote products last January
"I hate it when we talk about stuff that didn’t do well,” he told CNBC, adding that he feels responsible for the losses suffered by his followers.
But Armstrong also advertised other crypto scam projects like Ethereum Yield, Cypherium, and MYX Network whose videos were taken down after they collapsed.