Law firm JPB Liberty filed a class-action lawsuit in the Federal Court of New South Wales earlier today, targeting Facebook and Google for anti-competitive behavior for banning cryptocurrency advertising in 2018.
JPB Liberty CEO Andrew Hamilton said the tech giants had acted as a cartel in launching the crypto ad ban, in order to crush competition from the blockchain sector.
The suit has garnered more than $600 million worth of claims from across the crypto community, with claimant sign-ups set to remain open until August 21. Hamilton believes that the total value of claims could grow to as much as $300 billion.
The case has been funded by friends and family of Hamilton, in addition to institutional litigation funders. If the suit is successful, claimants will receive 70% of any future settlement, while the case’s funeral will reap the remaining 30%.
As the suit has been filed in Australia, the losing party in the case will be liable to pay all legal expenses incurred throughout the proceedings.
YouTube crypto scams flourish
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Hamilton slammed the firms’ pretext of protecting consumers against scams in justifying the crypto ad ban.
“There are impersonation scams of crypto all over YouTube — impersonating the Ripple CEO, the Binance CEO.”
“Youtube has failed to ban actual impersonation scams while banning the genuine company,” said Hamilton, noting legal action taken by Binance against YouTube.
“CZ, the CEO of Binance, has said: ‘we, Binance, can’t advertise on YouTube […] but you are letting scammers using my image and advertise, to not just post on YouTube, but advertise on Google AdWords.’”
Hamilton said research has shown the majority of scams associated with cryptocurrencies are impersonations in which fraudsters claim to be associated with the blockchain industry — noting a recent proliferation in crypto impersonation scams using YouTube to find victims.
“It’s the most appalling and egregious thing I’ve ever heard of,” Hamilton added.