The law firm JPB Liberty filed a class action suit in New South Wales Federal Court today, targeting Facebook and Bitcoin Loophole for their anti-competitive behaviour in banning crypto currency advertising in 2018.
JPB argues that the ban, which was relaxed in 2019, killed the ICO market and caused serious financial damage to the crypto coin industry in general.
JPB Liberty’s CEO, Andrew Hamilton, said these large technology companies had acted as a cartel by establishing the ban on crypto ads, with the aim of crushing competition from the blockchain sector.
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The lawsuit won more than $600 million in claims through the crypto community, and applicant registration will remain open until August 21. Hamilton believes the total value of the claims could grow to as much as $300 billion.
The case has been funded by Hamilton’s friends and family, as well as institutional litigation funders. If the lawsuit is successful, the plaintiffs will receive 70% of any future settlement, while the closing of the case will take the remaining 30%.
As the lawsuit was filed in Australia, the losing party will be responsible for paying all legal expenses incurred throughout the proceedings.
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Speaking to Cointelegraph, Hamilton used the companies’ pretext of protecting consumers from scams to justify banning crypto ads.
“There are phishing scams linked to crypto-currencies all over YouTube, such as that of the CEO of Ripple and the CEO of Binance.”
“YouTube has failed to prevent phishing scams and at the same time has censored real companies,” Hamilton said, pointing to legal action taken by Binance against YouTube.
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“CZ, the CEO of Binance, said: ‘we, Binance, can’t advertise on YouTube […] but they do let scammers use my image and my advertising, and not only publish on YouTube, but also on Google AdWords.
Hamilton said research shows that most of the scams associated with crypts are spoofs in which scammers claim to be associated with the blockchain industry, and he pointed to the recent proliferation of crypto currency scams that use YouTube to find their victims.
“This is the most appalling and atrocious thing I have ever heard of,” he said.