He Went After Crypto Companies. Then Someone Came After Him.

According to the statement, Kyle Roche went after more than a dozen crypto companies and filed cases against them. However, someone subsequently came after him.

When he arrived in London in late January 2022, Kyle Roche was riding high. At just 34 years old, he had established himself as one of the biggest players in the burgeoning field of cryptocurrency litigation. He boasted a law firm bearing his name, lawsuits filed against more than a dozen crypto companies and a huge verdict against the man who claimed to have invented Bitcoin.

Now a new opportunity beckoned. Two businessmen had flown Mr. Roche over from Miami to discuss investing in a new business venture he was forming. A waiting car whisked him from Heathrow Airport to meet the men in a plush townhouse in Mayfair.

That evening, Mr. Roche went to dinner with one of the men, who identified himself as Mauricio Andres Villavicencio de Aguilar. Mr. Villavicencio, who said he was from Argentina, had picked one of London’s fanciest restaurants, Jean-Georges in the Connaught hotel.

When he woke up the next morning, Mr. Roche says, he felt groggy. He couldn’t remember much aside from being pretty sure he had spotted Mr. Villavicencio’s business partner, a Norwegian named Christen Ager-Hanssen, lurking at a nearby table. The brain fog was odd because he didn’t think he’d had all that much to drink. As he flew back to Miami a few days later, Mr. Roche couldn’t shake the feeling that something was amiss.

Months passed. Then, one day last summer, Mr. Roche’s world detonated. A website called Crypto Leaks posted two dozen videos of him that had been secretly recorded during his meetings with Mr. Villavicencio and Mr. Ager-Hanssen.

The videos portrayed Mr. Roche and his law firm, Roche Freedman, as being in the pocket of one of their crypto clients. In one clip, Mr. Roche revealed that the client, a company called Ava Labs, had granted him tens of millions of dollars’ worth of its digital tokens, making him beholden to the company and its founder, whom he likened to a “brother.”

In other clips, Mr. Roche made it sound like his sole concern, even when representing other clients, was to promote Ava Labs’ interests. He bragged that he had managed to distract regulators from looking into Ava Labs and suggested that his lawsuits against other crypto companies were designed to harm Ava Labs’ competitors.

In the videos filmed at Jean-Georges, Mr. Roche looked intoxicated, waving his hands, cursing and referring to jurors as “idiots.”

After he got over his initial shock, Mr. Roche realized he had a major problem on his hands. The videos made him look corrupt. To defend himself, he published a piece on Medium saying they had been “illegally obtained” and “spliced out of context,” and he denied being in cahoots with Ava Labs.

It was too late. One after another, companies that Roche Freedman had sued filed motions to disqualify the firm from their cases. In October, the first of those motions succeeded: A federal judge in New York tossed Roche Freedman from a case it had filed against Tether, the operator of the world’s most used “stablecoin.”

Within days, Mr. Roche was forced to resign from the law firm he had founded. With his career in tatters, he says, he enrolled in ethics classes and began to see a therapist.

Mr. Roche was felled by his own loose lips and his overly cozy relationship with a client. But he also was the victim of an elaborate international setup.

The question was: Who was behind it?

Bitcoin is the foundation. Everything that happens, every technology, every tool, every innovation, such as Artificial Intelligence, enlarges the total Bitcoin pie.

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