The claim is brought in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) on behalf of an estimated 240,000 U.K. investors in Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (“BSV”). The claim, a legal first in competition law applying to the digital assets sector, seeks an opt-out collective proceedings order (“CPO”) on behalf of the estimated 240,000 investors. The investors, or class members, are being represented by BSV Claims Limited. BSV Claims Limited is a company limited by guarantee. Lord Currie of Marylebone is the director of BSV Claims Limited. Lord Currie was inaugural Chair of both Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority. Lord Currie is former professor of economics and also a former Dean of the Bayes Business School.
The claim alleges that beginning in April 2019, U.K. BSV holders suffered losses estimated up to £9.9 billion as a result of the delisting of BSV by exchanges Binance, Bittylicious, Kraken and Shapeshift.
Kraken and Binance are also alleged to have caused further losses to investors by forcibly converting BSV to other cryptocurrencies without investors’ consent. The application states that the four exchanges combined in such a way as to breach the Competition Act 1998 by reducing, preventing, or distorting competition in the United Kingdom.
The application claims that, among other matters, the four exchanges colluded to damage the prospects for BSV by delisting which prevented trading. It is alleged the exchanges did this deliberately, harming BSV and reducing competition in the U.K. between BSV and other digital assets.
The application also alleges that the exchanges caused investors to lose money and gave them no meaningful opportunity to withdraw their BSV. The case argues that the exchanges’ actions curtailed BSV’s ability to become successful, despite its inherently superior technology.
SEAMUS ANDREW, Founder and Managing Partner, Velitor Law: “Hundreds of thousands of people have potentially lost significant amounts of money, through no fault of their own, due to the actions of these exchanges and we are determined to help them win that money back. This is a rare type of case, which has only been recently made possible in the English courts due to changes in the law in 2015. We aim to show that these exchanges harmed BSV and caused financial hurt to many small, individual investors.”
The exchanges made no attempt to hide their coordinated delisting of BSV. The exchanges’ intentions were communicated publicly over Twitter by leading cryptocurrency figures.
The application is being brought in the CAT. If the application is certified by the CAT, the case will proceed to trial at a date to be fixed. A CPO is similar to a class action in the United States. Both types of case involve a representative claim being brought on behalf of all people in the same situation (the “class”). This claim is brought on an opt-out basis which means that everyone in the class approved by the court is included automatically unless they choose to opt-out of the case.
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The application claims that, among other matters, the four exchanges colluded to damage the prospects for BSV by delisting which prevented trading. It is alleged the exchanges did this deliberately, harming BSV and reducing competition in the U.K. between BSV and other digital assets.Previous