John Deaton: The Pro-XRP Lawyer Standing Up for Innocent Holders
John Deaton has had an eventful life, from childhood dreams of becoming a rapper to serving in the United States Marines, and now being known as “the pro-XRP lawyer” on Crypto Twitter. Although his dream of becoming a rapper didn’t work out, his 260,000 Twitter following would make many up-and-coming rappers envious.
Deaton has become a legend among the XRP army over the past couple of years, fighting in their corner after the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Ripple, alleging it had issued unregistered securities. He strongly believes that the “innocent holders” of XRP deserve a knight in shining armor standing up for them in the same way Ripple has a squad of lawyers fighting for the company.
Deaton put out a call on Twitter and gathered 76,000 signatures from XRP holders worldwide to let him represent the XRP community in court. “They all joined on a form wanting to be heard in the lawsuit, essentially, saying, ‘Yes, you can speak and advocate for me,’” he says.
Deaton’s fame grew as he offered an informed legal take on what can often be opaque and confusing legal maneuvering in the court case. It certainly helps that he’s usually pretty optimistic about Ripple’s chances of beating the charges. His follower count has shot up exponentially ever since he was granted permission by U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres to write a brief on behalf of XRP holders in March 2021, collecting anywhere between 3,000 to 20,000 each month since then.
“A lot of my content is about the war on crypto,” Deaton says, while also sprinkling his spicy thoughts on government regulation and throwing shade at the SEC from time to time, too. But of course, Deaton is best known for his aggressive support for XRP, to the extent that many people think he’s actually representing XRP. Funny thing is, he’s more of a Bitcoin and Ethereum guy.
The SEC spat the dummy in a 2021 court filing regarding Deaton’s mock cross-examination of then-SEC Chairman Jay Clayton in a YouTube video. Deaton sliced and diced Clayton’s various interviews about crypto regulations and Ripple, hilariously inserting clips of himself as the interviewer, grilling Clayton with a series of questions. The SEC cried to the judge and dobbed on Deaton for teasing Clayton online.
Deaton remembered how Ripple boss Brad Garlinghouse tried to alpha-dog him at a crypto conference. Deaton says Garlinghouse has a unique quality, the kind of charisma that made everyone want to be around him and shake his hand. However, Deaton walked right past him and “wasn’t going to talk to him.” Garlinghouse enthusiastically yelled out, “John, I’m Brad Garlinghouse” and they shook hands.
Deaton has taken on Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin over his public comments about XRP. Buterin was decidedly unimpressed when Ripple tried to drag Ethereum into the securities case and called Bitcoin and Ether “the two Chinese-controlled virtual currencies.” He tweeted that XRP was a “shitcoin” and that it had “lost their right to protection” as a result. Deaton stood up for XRP holders in a long thread calling Buterin’s tweet a “shameful and disgusting comment.”
“I don’t care about Ripple, in the same way, I don’t care about Vitalik [Buterin], I don’t own Ethereum because I like Vitalik, I own it because I like Ethereum.” Deaton signed off the series of tweets directed at Buterin with a little bit of advice for the “young man.”
Deaton’s Twitter account is an excellent source of information for anyone interested in the ongoing XRP case. He is a lawyer who is passionate about his work and who has gathered a significant following because of his expertise and dedication to the cause.