Santa’s Crypto List: Who’s Been Naughty and Nice This Year?

Have crypto’s most influential figures behaved themselves this year? Let’s see which quirky characters made Santa’s Naughty and Nice Lists in 2023.

Santa writing Naughty and Nice list.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin

Before the biggest personalities in crypto start dipping their hands into their Christmas stocking, do you think they take a moment to reflect on their behavior this year? 

On the 11th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eleven pipers piping. As our ancestors clamored around pipers in the days of yore, the crypto community tends to gather around influential figures. 


For better or worse, these cult figures wield immense power in the space. 

Have crypto’s quirky characters been saints or sinners this year? When Santa Claus writes his list and checks it twice, who does he think has been naughty or nice?

Getting on Santa’s List

Let’s imagine that Santa Claus is pro-crypto. For the sake of this list, our jolly gift-giver is a Bitcoin (BTC) bull and decentralization maxi who wants to see cryptocurrency succeed.

To make it onto Crypto Santa’s ‘Nice List,’ pipers should be making a meaningful contribution to the growth and development of the blockchain industry. Whether that’s developing creative new platforms for blockchain users or educating the masses on the benefits of this novel technology, being a net-positive influence in the crypto space should reward these pipers with a stocking stuffed with chocolate.


On the other side of the yule log, blockchain inhibitors, scammers, and false idols find themselves on the ‘Naughty List.’ Stamping out blockchain innovation, exploiting protocols, and scamming funds from unwary followers is a surefire way of guaranteeing a cold lump of coal under your tree this Christmas season.

Grimy Grinches: The Naughty List

Crypto Santa probably breathed a sigh of relief when he drafted up this year’s Naughty List. 2023’s Grinches, while souring the space in their own way, were nowhere near as devastating as the previous years. 

While 2022’s villains included fallen idols like Sam Bankman-Fried and Do Kwon, this year’s troupe has been far better behaved. That being said, these grievous Grinches have done everything they can to bring the crypto space down.

Who made Santa’s Naughty List?

1. Ben ‘BitBoy Crypto’ Armstrong

Once cherished as the host of ‘the largest crypto channel on the interweb,’ Ben ‘Bitboy Crypto’ Armstrong is an outspoken crypto personality with an army of loyal followers. Despite his success on YouTube, Armstrong has been widely criticized by much of the crypto community for promoting scam coins and allegedly pumping and dumping them on his followers.

In 2023, the Bitboy Crypto story took a darker turn. First came the BEN coin, a disastrous meme coin that Armstrong swiftly dumped and abandoned, betraying his followers’ trust mere days after vowing grand plans for the project and promising not to sell any coins for six months.

Bitboy crypto.

Things went from bad to worse. Bitboy threatened to dox the identity of Shiba Inu’s developer, Shytoshi Kusama, gloated about ignoring court summons related to harassment allegations, and even faced legal action for endorsing FTX’s native token, FTT.

The action escalated when Armstrong and his media company, Hit Network, parted ways amidst a controversy. Armstrong, citing threats and extortion, turned to his followers, seeking donations to reclaim his Lamborghini from Hit Network following supposed death threats from his former partners.

Bitboy’s dramatic fall from grace culminated in Armstrong’s live-streamed attempt to repossess his Lamborghini. With firearms and narcotics in his vehicle, Bitboy live-streamed his Lambo reclamation attempt to thousands of followers, only to be arrested by Police outside the home of one of his Hit Network colleagues.

2. Gary Gensler

As the Chairman of the SEC, Gary Gensler has led a regulatory crusade against the cryptocurrency industry. While crypto exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken have all been handed lawsuits from his iron fist, Gensler’s main conflict has been with Ripple Labs.

Gary Gensler.

Dishing out lawsuits left, right, and center, Gary Gensler’s war on crypto is believed to drive blockchain-based businesses out of the United States. The SEC’s allegedly inconsistent and unclear crypto regulations have made it difficult for crypto businesses to operate effectively.

Gary Gensler’s stance has not been without its critics. Several U.S. officials have pointed to his failure to safeguard U.S. investors from arguably the two greatest failures in crypto history: the collapse of the FTX exchange and the Terra Luna debacle.

However, it’s worth mentioning that in Gensler’s view, he’s the guardian of the masses, shielding them from a market plagued by ‘‘hucksters, scam artists, and fraudsters.

3. Lazarus Group

While North Korea probably doesn’t celebrate Christmas, the Lazarus Group is on crypto Santa’s Naughty List. The elite cybercriminal collective has been busy this year, orchestrating devastating attacks across the crypto space.

Throughout 2023, the Lazarus Group’s reign of terror has kept DeFi protocols on their toes. The North Korean group has managed to exploit some of the most popular applications in the industry, including Atomic Wallet and, successfully stealing $240M from several platforms over a 3 month period.

However, there’s a glimmer of hope as their reign of terror wanes. A report by Chainalysis indicates a significant decrease in their activities, with the total value of their ill-gotten gains dropping by over 80% from the previous year when they infamously pilfered $1.65B USD off the back of the Axie Infinity Ronin Bridge hack.

Christmas Champions: The Nice List

Now for some good news! Who have been the heroes of the Blockchain space in 2023? How have these pipers helped to push the industry forward and made a genuine positive impact on their audience?

1. Brad Garlinghouse

Coming in at the top of Crypto Santa’s list is a familiar face for the XRP community. As CEO of Ripple Labs, Brad Garlinghouse has led the charge against Gary Gensler and the SEC in their long-standing legal battle regarding the sale of XRP tokens.

Brad Garlinghouse.
Source: 𝕏

Throughout the dramatic case, Garlinghouse has truly championed cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Guiding Ripple Labs with poise and precision, Garlinghouse has led his team to some significant wins in the courtroom. His influence undoubtedly persuaded Judge Analisa Torres to declare that XRP is not a security, solidifying a landmark moment in the case.

Given that the Ripple Labs lawsuit is expected to set a precedent for how cryptocurrencies are regulated in the U.S., a positive result for Brad Garlinghouse will likely begin a domino effect, bringing clarity to crypto regulation everywhere.

2. Vitalik Buterin

The Ethereum co-founder and boy-genius of the cryptocurrency world once again finds himself as one of the blockchain industry’s brightest stars. In 2023, Buterin has continued to push the space forward, both as a leader in the Ethereum ecosystem and as a commentator.

Aside from his work with Ethereum, Vitalik often shares thoughtful and objective blogs regarding key developments in the industry. His musings help the crypto community digest emerging narratives and technologies without succumbing to unsubstantiated hype.

Amongst the chaos and calamity of the blockchain world, key figures in the crypto space frequently use their influence to push their own agenda. Despite being arguably one of the biggest names in the industry, Vitalik’s takes can be a breath of fresh air and are generally objective and balanced.

3. Shytoshi Kusama

Soldiers of the SHIB Army, this one’s for you! Shytoshi Kusama has been a force of nature for Shiba Inu this year, rolling out the meme coin ecosystem’s most ambitious product yet.

After years of development, Shiba Inu’s dedicated Layer 2 blockchain, Shibarium, finally became a reality. Despite some technical difficulties at launch, Shytoshi maintained clear communication with the SHIB Army throughout the process, helping to calm what could’ve otherwise been a tumultuous period.

The lead developer of the Shiba Inu ecosystem, Shytoshi Kusama, has been the driving force behind most of Shiba Inu’s growth. With Shibarium ticked off their to-do list, Kusama can focus on the next products in the Shiba Inu ecosystem, including a metaverse, a crypto wallet, and a decentralized identity protocol.

4. Michael Saylor

CEO of MicroStrategy and the world’s biggest Bitcoin bull, Michael Saylor is quickly becoming the face of Bitcoin to the outside world. Frequently appearing in interviews, Saylor is always the first to put his hand up and champion the benefits of Bitcoin to the masses.

Michael Saylor.

Beyond serving as an educator for Bitcoin newbies, Saylor does his best to bolster BTC prices and keep the asset green. According to CoinGecko, MicroStrategy is the world’s largest publicly-known BTC holder, with over 158,000 bitcoins.

On the Flipside

  • As we’ve seen in the past, the crypto space can be fickle indeed. Do Kwon and SBF were some of crypto’s biggest heroes in 2021, only to have their public image destroyed amidst their respective scandals.

Why This Matters

The cryptocurrency world is rife with misinformation and characters who can control and manipulate the market using their influence and power. Always think for yourself and avoid being led astray by crypto pipers.


Are there any Christmas cryptos?

Every year, dozens of Christmas-themed meme coins are launched during the festive season. Almost all of them fizzle out after a few days and are abandoned.

What happens to the crypto market on Christmas day?

Unlike traditional markets, the crypto market doesn’t close on Christmas day. However, the markets typically see reduced trading volume, with many traders taking the day off to spend with their loved ones.

How do you give crypto as a Christmas gift?

To give cryptocurrency as a gift this Christmas, all you need to do is send crypto directly to the receiver’s wallet address. Depending on the receiver’s jurisdiction, they may need to declare the gift for tax purposes.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Finn Miller

Finn Miller is a New Zealand-based blockchain writer for DailyCoin who specializes in simplifying complex blockchain topics. He is experienced in crafting whitepapers, researching on-chain data, and advising emerging crypto projects, and uses his unconventional approach to learning and passion for knowledge to provide cornerstone educational content for readers of all levels. When not exploring the depths of DeFi, Finn can be found exploring his other passion, the great outdoors.