An American YouTuber says he’s written off a six-figure Bitcoin loan to Australia’s top crypto-influencer, Alex Saunders.

Ben Armstrong, who goes by the handle “BitBoy” online, posted screenshots on Thursday documenting how Alex Saunders made repeated excuses about his tardiness in repaying the March 16 loan of 5 BTC, which was supposed to be repaid in a week. Armstrong enquired about the loan’s status on March 26, April 5, April 15, May 10 and May 24.

“Will send tomorrow when I’m back. Completely forgot. Sorry mate,” Saunders wrote on April 5.

At the time, that much Bitcoin would have been worth roughly A$375,000.

“It’s not about the money for me, it’s about someone who I trusted,” Armstrong said on a YouTube livestream last week.

“I just did it to help him out because he said he needed it for this deal… he basically put me off for weeks. Guys, I’ve written these five bitcoins off.”

Armstrong said after he posted the tweets documenting the episode, Saunders did send him a message for a repayment plan. Armstrong didn’t say whether he had replied.

A crypto influencer with 147,000 subscribers on YouTube and 121,000 followers on Twitter, Saunders is a former board member of Blockchain Australia and the chief executive of Nugget’s News, a digital media channel with paid content for subscribers.

Stockhead first approached Saunders for comment on Friday and sent him a detailed list of questions on Sunday.

Saunders messaged back on Monday that he needed to speak with his lawyer before commenting, “id love to give you my side of things”.

Stockhead said it would delay this story, initially until yesterday afternoon and then until today, so to include Saunders’ comments.

Saunders messaged yesterday afternoon that he was “waiting on one more thing…If that comes thru happy to chat,” but didn’t reply to a follow-up message yesterday evening.

Stockhead will update this story if and when Saunders replies further.

A $1.5m loan request

Three other crypto influencers also posted screenshots last week showing that Saunders approached them this year for large personal loans of Bitcoin, but they decided against it.

The first was Hex founder Richard Heart, who documented how Saunders asked for a 20 Bitcoin loan on April 8. At the time, that much Bitcoin was worth around A$1.5 million.

“I had someone screw me over with an OTC [over the counter crypto exchange],” Saunders wrote. “I only do them for ppl in my network. Not officially. And now I have some not nice characters saying I owe them. So I need a whale [a rich Bitcoiner] for a short term loan.”

Saunders wrote he had “plenty of funds” but wasn’t liquid. His few millions in RFOX tokens were vested until September, he claimed. (RedFOX Labs CEO Ben Fairbank tweeted on Friday that “there is no token release in September … we dont have vested tokens for outside parties.”).

Heart didn’t loan Saunders any money, but had him on his podcast last week as a guest. They had a contentious exchange that led to Heart posting the text messages, which prompted Armstrong to do so as well.

Another Twitter user also posted screenshots indicating that Saunders asked him for a loan of one Bitcoin on January 20, while crypto trader Jacob Canfield documented how Saunders had approached him on May 29 for a loan of five to 20 Bitcoin, at the time worth A$220,000 to A$880,000.

Canfield replied that his son was born that morning, “so it’ll prob be a bit before I can get around to doing much.”

“if you have a moment at all today mate let me know what you are comfortable with sending as a trial this week?” Saunders texted back.

The next day he messaged the new father, “if you can send any thru today thatd be awesome”.

Canfield ultimately decided not to loan Saunders any money at all.