Several weeks ago, reports emerged that three separate putative class action lawsuits against Tether and Bitfinex moved to consolidate their cases. The filings by Eric Young et al., David Leibowitz et al., and Bryan Faubus et al. accuse these companies of manipulating the crypto markets.
These cases have common threads that include corporations that the companies manipulated the price of bitcoin futures and bitcoin. Hence, they violated federal law. All of these cases were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Now, one of the biggest names in the crypto world has joined the current argument.
Andreas Antonopoulos joined the argument of who will lead the class-action suit against Bitfinex and its affiliates over allegations of market manipulation that might have led to Bitcoin’s 2017 Bull Run.
Amid an increasing number of filings with entities seeking to lead the class, Antonopoulos came out in support of the legal team of Liebowitz. He filed an affidavit on January 27, vouching for the expertise of that team. He supports this team after seeing it in action on the Kleiman v. Wright case.
Liebowitz’s representation comprises of a laundry list of attorneys pooled from three different firms. However, Antonopoulos commended Kyle Roche of Roche Cyrulnik Freedman, in particular, as the primary reason why the firm should lead these proceedings. Before referring to the firm as “uniquely qualified to represent members of the class,” he wrote:
“In the Kleiman matter, Mr. Roche has repeatedly demonstrated an understanding of the technical and functional properties of bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and their underlying cryptographic principles superior to many other attorneys.”
The Strive To Lead The Lawsuit
Antonopoulos’ point of view on the issue is just one of the many filings that have come up in recent weeks after three different firms came up seeking to lead the legal proceedings.
In recent weeks, Bitfinex, iFinex, and Tether have encountered four separate class-action complaints against them. All these lawsuits allege market manipulation and identify the class as anybody within the United States who transacted in Bitcoin since mid-2017 or earlier. Hence, it potentially captures a broad demographic.
Liebowitz was the first of the four plaintiffs in October. Young followed that team in November, and then Ebanks and Faubus came earlier in January. A court in New York ordered on January 24 to merge four lawsuits against Tether and Bitfinex since the companies have faced many suits on the matter.
Since consolidation appears the best strategy for this case, the question of leadership has remained. The lead attorney for Young, Karen Lerner, vouched for leadership by law firms Radice and Kirby McInerny. According to Karen, their complaint stands out based on “significant investment of resources that resulted from our rigorous market analysis.”
On the other hand, Kyle Roche said:
“Our firm brings unparalleled experience and expertise in cryptocurrency litigation.”
He was promoting the complaint proposed by Roche Cyrulnik Freedman on behalf of Liebowitz. He termed it “the most legally sound and well-researched.” Lerner said that the case seeks to refund those who purchased Bitcoin in a recent year:
“This class action seeks to compensate investors in Bitcoin and Bitcoin futures for damages from paying an artificial price compared to what they should have paid if the Defendants had not manipulated the price.”
These firms now have until February 7 to file oppositions to each other’s motions guided by a January 28 order from the presiding Judge Failla. The ruling will enable the firms that filed their initial complaints this January to respond to the many filings in the past several days.
Origins Of These Allegations
Extensive research done by Amin Shams and John Griffin and originally published in June 2018 came up with the claims. The study report spread the theory that one whale trading USDT on Bitfinex successfully manipulated the Bitcoin market, leading to the 2017 Bull Run.
These researchers updated their work to the end of 2019, where they specified that Bitfinex is the likely culprit. Both Tether and Bitfinex have publically dismissed the single-whale theory. They also questioned the credibility of the subsequent lawsuits, which they termed as “mercenary and baseless.”