The lawsuit was filed on Oct. 6 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York by Devin Freedman and Kyle Roche, who successfully sued Craig Wright and represented Ira Kleiman in the Kleiman v. Wright lawsuit. The recently filed suit is based on a 2018 research paper that claims that the historic bull run of Bitcoin of 2018 was caused by the 2.8 billion USDT that Tether issued in 2017 and 2018. According to the lawsuit, this was part of a “sophisticated scheme that co-opted a disruptive innovation (cryptocurrencies) and used it to defraud investors, manipulate markets, and conceal illicit proceeds”, which has allegedly led to $1.4 trillion in damages.
Both Bitfinex and Tether anticipated the lawsuit, addressing it in an Oct. 5 blog post. The post calls the lawsuit “meritless and mercenary” and “a shameless attempt at a money grab”, also noting that the aforementioned research paper relied on flawed assumptions, used selective data, and had a faulty methodology. “We fully expect mercenary lawyers to use this deeply flawed paper to solicit plaintiffs for an opportunistic lawsuit, which may have been the true motive of the paper all along,” the post reads. The companies also stressed that Bitfinex and its affiliates have never used USDT as a tool to manipulate the cryptocurrency market or the price of tokens. The CTO of Bitfinex, Paolo Ardoino, took to Twitter to call the lawsuit “an attack against the entire crypto industry”.
Complaints of the lawsuit include violations of the Commodities Exchange Act, the Sherman Act, the NY trade practices law, and of the RICO statute.