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Kraken and Binance delisted Bitcoin SV. Now, they’re being sued for $13bn

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Kraken and Binance delisted Bitcoin SV. Now, they’re being sued for $13bn

Bitcoin SV was pulled from both exchanges in 2019 after Dr Craig Wright claimed he was Satoshi Nakamoto. Now, a class action alleges that caused the coin’s investors big losses.

Fresh from a damning ruling that Craig Wright “extensively and repeatedly” lied about being Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto, another crypto showdown is now unfolding in British courts.

The case currently being heard by the Competition Appeals Tribunal in London relates to Bitcoin Satoshi Vision — Bitcoin SV for short — which was created back in 2018 following a hard fork from another cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin Cash.

Dr Wright has long been a vocal backer of BSV — even going so far as to claim it’s the real Bitcoin — and argues this digital asset, which has a considerably larger block size, paves the way for cheaper and faster transactions on the blockchain. 

That background brings us back to the class action lawsuit being heard by the tribunal. A group known as BSV Claims Limited is suing four prominent crypto exchanges — Binance, Kraken, Bittylicious and ShapeShift — and demanding up to £10 billion ($12.8 billion) in damages.

Why? Because it’s alleged that these trading platforms had colluded to delist BSV back in April 2019. Lawyers representing the class claim that this artificially drove down the coin’s price and caused financial harm to British consumers who had invested in it.

It’s especially interesting to look at who’s leading BSV Claims Limited. Lord David Currie of Marylebone has held a number of influential roles in Britain during his career — serving as chairman of the Competition and Markets Authority, as well as the very first chairman of the broadcasting regulator Ofcom.

The organization goes on to say that it’s backed by a number of other prominent politicians. They include Lord Andrew Tyrie, a trained economist who was a Member of Parliament for 20 years and a former chairman of the Treasury Select Committee. A current MP, Sir Robert Buckland, is also on the advisory board. He used to be the justice secretary.

What’s going on?

According to BSV Claims Limited, the decision to delist BSV was “an anti-competitive practice in violation of competition law.” Their lawsuit is said to represent an estimated 244,000 Britons who owned the cryptocurrency and is on an “opt out” basis, meaning all investors would be deemed as eligible for damages unless they explicitly say they’re not interested. 

The case is being funded by a company called Softwhale Limited, which would receive a share of any damages if the class action is successful. Little is known about the business — but according to Bloomberg, this firm’s funding comes from Calvin Ayre. He’s a Canadian entrepreneur and one-time gambling tycoon who has also thrown his support behind BSV.

One plank of the evidence put forward by BSV Claims Limited relates to tweets sent around the time of this cryptocurrency being delisted. Five years ago, a pseudonymous Bitcoiner called Hodlonaut had brandished Wright as a “fraud” and a “scammer” on Twitter. (A defamation lawsuit soon followed, which Hodlonaut went on to win.) Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s then-CEO, had tweeted in support of Hodlonaut — writing in April 2019:

https://twitter.com/cz_binance/status/1116563034476957699

Just three days later, CZ followed through on this threat — with the exchange announcing that all BSV trading pairs were to be listed. At the time, Binance had argued:

“We periodically review each digital asset we list to ensure that it continues to meet the high level of standard we expect.”

Binance

News of the delisting by the world’s largest exchange sent BSV’s value plummeting — leading to a precipitous fall of 50% within two days. And whereas the cryptocurrency was once the 12th biggest in terms of market capitalization in 2019, it’s now 75th, with prices stagnating as other major altcoins enjoy a bull market.

For its part, Binance told the London tribunal on Wednesday that a large chunk of the case — relating to whether BSV had the potential to become a major cryptocurrency — should be thrown out. The exchange’s lawyer, Brian Kennelly, said those who continued to hold onto this altcoin made “an entirely voluntary decision” and were free to invest in an alternative.

Meanwhile, Kraken has previously described this lawsuit as “baseless.” 

The current three-day hearing relates to BSV Claims Limited’s attempt to get their class action certified with a collective proceedings order, meaning the case remains at a very early stage. If granted, it would then advance to a trial — with the organization itself admitting it could take two to three years before any decision is made on damages.