A US court has rejected a lawsuit in which UnitedCorp accused Bitcoin Cash supporters of manipulating the price of the cryptocurrency during the 2018 hard fork, which resulted in the creation of Bitcoin SV.
The defendants included Bitmain and its co-founder, Jihan Wu, Kraken and its founder, Jesse Powell, and Roger Ver. United American Corp, a Florida-based blockchain development company, filed a lawsuit against nine defendants. In the complaint, the company alleged that the defendants conspired to “seize control” and manipulate the Bitcoin Cash cryptocurrency during the network’s fork in 2018.
This lawsuit was the first antitrust case in the United States involving cryptocurrency companies. In addition to Bitmain and Kraken, a lawsuit was filed against Bitcoin ABC developers Amaury Sechet, Shammah Chancellor, and Jason Cox.
On Monday, US judge Chris McAliley of the southern district court of Florida dismissed the lawsuit, without exonerating the accused from responsibility. This means that the plaintiff can re-file an amended version of the claim.
The initial complaint reported that Ver, Kraken, and Bitcoin Cash developers colluded with Bitmain to unfairly redirect hashing power at exactly the time the fork was planned. This not only forced the network to implement the Bitcoin ABC architecture, but also allegedly caused irreparable damage to the BCH network, which turned into problems for UnitedCorp and other stakeholders.
UnitedCorp claims that this collusion violated US antitrust laws and restricted the right of other companies to compete. Each of the defendants filed separate motions to dismiss the case last year. However, some argued that UnitedCorp did not collect the necessary amount of evidence to address its complaint.
Ver told CoinDesk that the amended version of the lawsuit is unlikely to change the final outcome of the dispute.
“As I understand it, this means that UnitedCorp has already essentially lost the case, but the judge is allowing them to make changes to the original claim to see if they can find better evidence,” he said.
Benoit Laliberte, President and CEO of UnitedCorp, said the decision showed that the court “recognized the importance of complying with the law in a rather uncertain environment.”
“Bitcoin was developed as a decentralized and distributed P2P e-money system, operating in accordance with the democratic principles created in the network,” Laliberte said in a statement to CoinDesk. “Any action to centralize or manage the network is contrary to its very philosophy and basic principles.”
UnitedCorp must file an amended version of the lawsuit by February 28.