Crypto exchange Binance seeks to slash size of $13 billion UK lawsuit

By Thomson Reuters Jun 5, 2024 | 10:06 AM

LONDON (Reuters) – Crypto exchange Binance on Wednesday sought to throw out the vast majority of a London lawsuit worth up to 10 billion pounds ($12.8 billion) over claims it and other exchanges colluded to “delist” the Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) cryptocurrency.

Binance and exchanges including Kraken are being sued at London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in a case brought on behalf of over 200,000 BSV owners.

Lawyers representing BSV Claims, a vehicle set up to pursue the case, say the exchanges engaged in anti-competitive behaviour to delist BSV in 2019.

They argue the move caused the value of BSV to plummet and prevented it becoming a “top tier” cryptocurrency, valuing that part of the claim at up to 9 billion pounds.

BSV Claims’ lawyers said the exchanges were not opposing the case being certified under the UK’s collective proceedings regime, which is roughly equivalent to the U.S. class action regime. Such certification would be just the first step in the lawsuit.

But Binance has asked the CAT to throw out the part of the case about BSV’s alleged potential to become a major cryptocurrency, which is being brought on behalf of people who kept BSV after it was delisted.

Binance’s lawyer Brian Kennelly said people who kept BSV had made “an entirely voluntary decision”. They “could reasonably have sold it and reinvested it in comparable cryptocurrency”, Kennelly added.

BSV Claims’ lawyers argued in court documents that the issue should proceed to trial with the rest of the case.

Binance declined to comment on ongoing litigation.

Binance, Kraken and other exchanges delisted BSV in 2019, partly in response to claims by Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, who was associated with BSV, that he was the pseudonymous inventor of bitcoin known as “Satoshi Nakamoto”.

Earlier this year, Wright was found in separate litigation to have lied and forged documents to support his false claim to be Satoshi. Wright has said he will appeal against that ruling.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Mark Potter)