Business 17 December 2018Ed Drake
You got served: Bitmain, ‘team of conspirators’ ordered to respond to BCH market manipulation lawsuit
Jihan Wu, his company Bitmain Technologies, and their alleged ‘team conspirators”—composed of cryptocurrency heavyweights like Bitcoin.com’s Roger Ver, ABC lead developer Amaury Sechet, and Kraken CEO Jesse Powell—have 21 days to respond to a lawsuit accusing them of intentional fraud and market manipulation during the recent Bitcoin Cash BCH network upgrade.
The lawsuit was filed two weeks ago by Florida-based blockchain company United American Corp. (UAC). In it, the company asserted that the Bitmain, ABC and Ver camp colluded to manipulate the BCH network, claiming that BCH has become centralized. The scheme, allegedly spearheaded by Bitmain and Ver’s camp working in conjunction with the Chinese government, reportedly caused “a global capitalization meltdown of more than $4 billion and caused many American and Canadian coin holders to suffer financial damages.”
Two weeks later, and five of the 11 defendants—Powell, Wu, ABC developer Shammah Chancellor, Payward Ventures Inc. d/b/a Kraken, and Bitmain Inc.—have been tracked down.
ABC developers Jason B. Cox and Amaury Sechet have yet to be served the summons, along with Saint Bitts LLC d/b/a Bitcoin.com, Bitmain Technologies Ltd., Bitmain Technologies Holding Company, and Roger Ver. There are reports that Ver, who allegedly plans to stay in Japan for a little while, is supposed to be in Miami for the North American Bitcoin Conference but has decided against it due to visa troubles, although there’s a high chance that it might be a case of cold feet as it’s possible that the UAC lawyers would be at the event to serve him legal papers.
The defendants have 21 days from the date they were served the summons to respond to the lawsuit, and they have several options at their disposal: They can file a response to say that they have done nothing wrong, and prove that the UAC lawsuit is full of garbage; they can also ask for an extension given it’s the holiday season; or they file an application to have the UAC complaint dismissed, which, in the process, may prove discoveries on the group sooner rather than later.
The so-called “team of conspirators” can also claim that the Florida court has no jurisdiction on them, and then possibly try to run away from the United States and look like fugitives. Or they can do nothing and wait for a default judgment to fall. Either way, they need to act fast because the clock is ticking. Check out the countdown counter at the Bitcoin Cash Litigation website to see where things stand.
Kraken builds ‘war chest’
Meanwhile, crypto exchange Kraken—one of the defendants in the UAC lawsuit—is looking to raise funds by offering its “most valued clients with the opportunity to become equity holders in the company,” CoinDesk first reported.
The exchange, which described itself as “profitable” in an email to a select group of clients, said the offering will be at $4 billion valuation with a minimum investment size of $100,000. The email noted that Kraken is “profitable and sitting on significant reserves so fundraising is not a necessity, however, further aligning interests with our top clients while building a war chest for acquisitions in the bear market presents a win-win opportunity.”
But the question remains. With the pending lawsuit against Kraken and the current market conditions, how many of the select clients will be willing to cut the embattled exchange a lot of checks?
Read the full court filing here.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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