Coinbase Now Fighting (Legal) War on Two Fronts

The first lawsuit accuses the exchange of insider trading, the second of illegally claiming unredeemed funds.

Coinbase is facing two class-action law suits, both filed on the 2nd of March.

The first involves insider trading, according to Cointelegraph. The suit was filed by Jeffrey Berk, a Coinbase customer from Arizona. He accuses Coinbase of artificially inflating prices by disclosing buy and sell orders moments after Coinbase introduced Bitcoin Cash trading.

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The exchange launched support for the coin on the 19th of December 2017, a move which was obviously known about amongst employees before it was made. The suit alleges that Coinbase employees made use of this knowledge to profit.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong published a blog post the day after the introduction, which read: “It appears the price of Bitcoin Cash on other exchanges increased in the hours before our announcement… All Coinbase employees and contractors were explicitly prohibited from trading Bitcoin Cash and from disclosing our launch plans over a month ago. This was communicated multiple times via multiple channels to employees.”

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He went on to promise an investigation into the matter. In fact, Bitcoin Cash trading was suspended while the exchange investigated the suspicious spike in price, which was dramatic even for the cryptocurrency market. Armstrong said at the time: “If we find evidence of any employee or contractor violating our policies — directly or indirectly — I will not hesitate to terminate the employee immediately and take appropriate legal action.”

The second suit involves unredeemed funds, and a possible violation of the Unclaimed Property Law of California, according to Bitcoinist.

The issue is succinctly explained by the legal filing: “Imagine writing a cashier’s check to a friend. The bank withdraws funds from your account, but your friend never cashes the check. Does the bank get to keep the funds? The law clearly says no. But this is exactly what has happened with Cryptocurrencies sent through Coinbase.com…”

The exchange allowed customers to send cryptocurrency to outside email addresses instead of to cryptocurrency wallets, and recipients could use the emails to open accounts at Coinbase. However, some of the funds were not claimed, and the plaintiffs allege that Coinbase has kept the funds for itself.

The suit requests that the money be turned over to the State of California.

 

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