Since 2013, a new crypto litigation tracker from commercial law firm Morrison Cohen LLP has displayed information on over 300 active and settled court proceedings.
The Morrison Cohen Cryptocurrency Litigation Tracker was released on Tuesday and includes any case developments involving the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and class action/private litigation in the United States.
Morrison Cohen is a New York-based law company that specialises in capital markets, business disputes, real estate, and bankruptcy, among other things, for large financial institutions, entrepreneurs, and early-stage enterprises. A bitcoin litigation team is also part of the organisation.
The firm stated that it will regularly update the tracker “to include the key rulings in these litigations,” and it also contains a host of “articles, webinars, and podcasts” and regulatory crypto announcements from various government agencies.
The SEC, CFTC and DOJ combined account for seven of those, with some high profile cases being the SEC v. the Barksdale siblings, who allegedly conducted a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) worth $124 million, and the SEC v. digital asset platform BlockFi, who agreed to pay a $100 million penalty for failing to register its crypto lending product.
According to the tracker — which is essentially a lengthy PDF document — there have been roughly 17 crypto cases that were either brought before the court or resolved in 2022 so far.
The most notable of all, however, is the ongoing DOJ v.Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan case. The husband-wife duo is charged with an alleged conspiracy to launder funds relating to the 119,756 Bitcoin (BTC) Bitfinex hack in 2016. DOJ special agents were able to seize 94,000 BTC around the time of arrests in February.
This year, there may also be plenty more in the works, considering the SEC announced that it will be upping the headcount of its enforcement-focused “Crypto Assets & Cyber Unit” to 50 dedicated positions.
The majority of action has been over in the class action/private arena, however, with SafeMoon attracting the most attention after the team was slapped with a class-action lawsuit over an alleged pump and dump scheme. The class action claims the project recruited numerous celebrities to draw in investors with allegedly misleading information, with musicians such as Nick Carter, Soulja Boy, Lil Yachty and YouTubers Jake Paul and Ben Phillips all said to have promoted the BNB Chain-based token.
A unique case that seems to have mostly flown under the radar is the Halston Thayer v. Matt Furie, Chain/Saw LL and PegzDAO from March. The trio — which includes Furie, the original creator of the beloved Pepe the Frog meme — is accused of fraudulent inducement after allegedly selling a one-of-one nonfungible token (NFT) that tanked in value following an identical NFT drop that was released for free.
“Plaintiff alleges that defendants fraudulently misrepresented the value of a Pepe the Frog NFT. Plaintiff paid $537,084 for a Pepe the Frog NFT created by Furie and sold through PegzDAO. A few weeks after the sale, PegzDAO released 46 identical NFTs for free, which allegedly reduced the value of Plaintiff’s NFT,“ Morrison Cohen wrote.
- From SafeMoon to Pepe the Frog, a New Crypto Litigation Tracker Highlights 300 Instances
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