- Ava Labs co-developed an Avalanche-based litigation platform with Roche Freedman founding partner Kyle Roche.
- Ava Labs has been accused of paying Roche to sue its competitors and keep regulators at a distance.
- The company’s founder and CEO Emin Gün Sirer published a statement today playing down its close ties with Roche.
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Ava Labs developed a litigation platform on Avalanche in collaboration with Roche Freedman founding partner Kyle Roche, according to documents obtained by Crypto Briefing.
Ava Labs and Kyle Roche Co-Built Ryval
A pitch deck seen by Crypto Briefing reveals that Roche had pitched the project, dubbed Ryvalto clients in February 2022, advertising an “Initial Litigation Offering” platform developed in partnership with Ava Labs. Ryval was designed to tokenize lawsuits, allowing investors to purchase a stake in the outcome of a case.
According to the deck, the company sought a $6 million raise at a post-money $100 million valuation and established plans to work alongside Ava Labs engineers for an interim period until it could build a full team. In one email seen by Crypto BriefingRoche shared the deck and separately pitched Avalanche’s Subnet technology to the investor.
This comes amid a turbulent few days for Ava Labs and Roche. On August 26, crypto “whistleblower” Crypto Leaks published a lengthy exposé alleging that Ava Labs had paid Freedman Roche a stake in its company and Avalanche’s AVAX token allocation to sue its competitors and fend off regulators. A series of undercover videos showed Roche bragging about his close ties to Ava Labs and the compensation he received for supporting the firm in a legal capacity. “They haven’t been sued yet, and there’s a reason for that,” he says in one clip. “I deal with making sure the SEC and CFTC have other magnets to go after.”
After the report surfaced, Roche published a statement claiming that the videos were “highly edited and spliced out of context.” He said the parties filming him had engaged in “a deliberate scheme to intoxicate and then exploit [him].” He alleged that he had been interviewed by Christen Ager-Hanssen, who he says was paid off by Dfinity founder Dominic Williams. Crypto Briefing reached out to Ager-Hanssen and he denied the allegations, saying he didn’t know of the Crypto Leaks report, Dfinity, or its Internet Computer project until Roche had published his statement.
Gün Sirer Played Down Relationship With Roche
Ava Labs founder and CEO Emin Gün Sirer later published his own official statement denying any improper relationship between the two firms. The outspoken engineer categorically denied that Roche or his firm had ever acted with the knowledge or at the direction of Ava Labs; he went so far as to characterize Roche as “a lawyer at a firm [Ava Labs] retained in the early days of [the] company,” who was “[trying] to impress a potential business partner by making false claims about the nature of his work for Ava Labs.”
Gün Sirer’s 500-word statement neglected to mention Ryval, instead claiming that he had become a victim of “personal attacks and fraudulent lies.” Crypto Briefing reached out to an Ava Labs representative to find out why he stayed quiet about Ryval but is yet to receive any response.
Ryval was first conceptualized in 2020, but its Twitter account states that it’s set to launch in 2022. Alongside Roche himself, its 1,811 followers include Avalanche, Gün Sirer, and Ava Labs chief operating officer Kevin Sekniqi.
An unnamed source who shared the pitch deck with Crypto Briefing said that they had zero doubts that Roche received compensation in Ava Labs equity and AVAX tokens in exchange for legal services. They described the pair’s efforts to understate their relationship as “bullshit” and estimated that Roche made about $200 million from the arrangement, a portion of which he sold off to purchase property in New York City and other locations across the United States.
Questions Over Pair’s True Relationship
Since the Crypto Leaks report did the rounds in the crypto community over the weekend, Ava Labs has gone on the defensive, with Gün Sirer initially writing it off as “conspiracy theory nonsense.” Sekniqi, meanwhile, said that the article was “stupidity to the maximum mega giga level written by some ICP conspiracy site.” However, both the Ava Labs team and Roche have been careful not to mention any token or equity arrangement.
Whether the Crypto Leaks report came from a credible source or not, Roche has confirmed that he appeared in the videos and made statements about his relationship with Ava Labs, blaming his comments on intoxication and deception. The Ryval development sheds light on the relationship Ava Labs shared with Roche, and their attempts to conceal their close contact with one another. When placed under the spotlight today, they chose not to disclose any details about Ryval or Roche’s AVAX and equity compensation. Naturally, then, that raises a question of whether Ava Labs and Roche are covering anything else up.
Crypto Briefing reached out to Ava Labs, Freedman Roche, and Kyle Roche multiple times but had not received a response at press time.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the authors of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.