A class action lawsuit is being pursued against Bitcoin.com and owner Roger Ver for deceptive practices and potential losses related to the way both the site and Ver have promoted bitcoin spinoff Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin Cash, or BCH, is a fork, that is a cryptocurrency based on bitcoin that works in a similar fashion to bitcoin complete with the same blockchain but with some differences.
Launched in August, BCH quickly became a popular alternative cryptocurrency, particularly during the cryptocurrency bubble of late 2017. But bitcoin purists have always argued that BCH deceptively trades off bitcoin’s name.
The lawsuit, claimed to be supported by a group of “975+ participants from influential industry leaders to community volunteers & contributors,” claims that Bitcoin.com and hence owner Roger Ver tricked bitcoin users into buying BCH instead.
The heart of the allegations come down to how the Bitcoin.com website advertises BCH, complete with the same color used by bitcoin itself as well as the same logo. In one example shared on Twitter by Ragnar Lifthrasir, the head of the International Blockchain Real Estate Association, shows that the Bitcoin.com site shows BCH as simply “Bitcoin (BCH)” with bitcoin itself described as “Bitcoin Core (BTC)”.
— Ragnar Lifthrasir ⚑ (@Ragnarly) April 23, 2018
According to The Merkle Sunday, the group behind the proposed lawsuit is “determined to bring Bitcoin.com’s alleged deceptive practices to a halt,” although it has seemingly not yet specified whether it will be seeking monetary redress for the alleged deception.
Pinning down names as backing the class action lawsuit is difficult at this point. Lifthrasir is said to be supporting the suit, and bitcoin entrepreneurs Charlie Shrem, Richard Heart and Xotika.TV Chief Executive Officer John Carvalho are mentioned as being involved.
Ver argued that BCH is actually bitcoin and hence the claims of deceptive practices are false. But that argument has received pushback from an unexpected quarter: Erik Voorhees, CEO of Shapeshift and previously a close associate of Ver.
“Roger – please stop referencing me to back up your opinion that Bitcoin Cash is Bitcoin. It isn’t,” Voorhees wrote on Twitter. “Bitcoin is the chain originating from the genesis block with the highest accumulated proof of work. The Bitcoin Cash fork failed to gain majority, thus it is not Bitcoin.”
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