A class action lawsuit against internet giants Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Yandex, is reportedly being put together by the respective cryptocurrency and blockchain associations of Russia, China, and South Korea, in response to their recent outlawing of cryptocurrency advertisements.
The heavyweight lawsuit will be filed in an American court by the Eurasian Blockchain Association (EBA) in May, with funding coming via a dedicated cryptofund which, once set up, will also accept public donations.
Indeed, it was only yesterday that the EBA came into existence; the result of an agreement reached in Moscow by representatives of the three aforementioned countries’ blockchain industry bodies.
Specifically, the EBA will represent the interests of the Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Association (RACIB), the Korea Venture Business Association (KOVA), and the Chinese Association of Cryptocurrency Investors (LBTC).
The (sometimes partial) banning of cryptocurrency-related advertisements has received immense publicity in recent months, ever since Facebook (including their Instagram subsidiary) – the world’s largest social network platform – acted as the ‘lead domino’ after deciding to outlaw certain types of cryptocurrency adverts back in late January.
Since then, other major online platforms have followed suit, such as Google (including their YouTube subsidiary), Yandex (Яндекс), Twitter, and also Snapchat. Each ban has prompted a fresh batch of alarmist headlines (i.e., FUD), resulting in multiple spates of intense sell-side pressure in virtually every known cryptoasset, even Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
It has yet to be determined where exactly in the United States the EBA take their class action. The legal team’s decision looms as critical, however, for as the RACIB’s president Yuri Pripachkin told Russian news agency, RIA Novosti:
You know, every state has different laws. Some states, like Wyoming for example, have been fair towards cryptocurrencies.”
The legal line of argument that will be pushed by the EBA is not dissimilar to cartel collusion, according to Pripachkin, particularly when one considers the short timeframe in which these bans took place.
Speaking for the EBA, the RACIB president explained how:
We think these four companies are using their monopoly power and have colluded to manipulate the market.”
In defence of these publicly-listed companies, their respective decisions did come weeks after the cryptocurrency market experienced a ridiculously white-hot bull run; prompting a slew of new investors who – having never heard of a ‘blockchain’ or ‘Bitcoin’ until the market-wide price bonanza – were incredibly vulnerable to being duped by fraudulent ICOs, cloud mining operators who owned not one ASIC miner, or some other devious scheme.
In fact, many crypto enthusiasts and investors commended these internet giants for casting aside what was sure to be a fruitful revenue stream (i.e., the cost to advertisement on their respective platforms); instead prioritising the layperson who was too often being swindled by these well-conceived cryptocurrency scams.
It is clear the EBA thinks otherwise, and so the crypto community will keenly await the impending class action trial. At the very least, it will provide further authoritative insight on a cryptoasset industry that the law barely (if at all) acknowledges.