Regulation Updates

Coinbase is facing class-action suits over unstable stablecoins GYEN, USTC

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The cryptocurrency exchange is accused of failing to do due diligence, among other things, after users lost large sums as a result of the depegging of stablecoins.

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A class-action suit was filed against Coinbase on Thursday, claiming the trading platform was negligent in its listing of the TerraUSD Classic (USTC) stablecoin and alleging that it failed to disclose its financial relationship with Terraform Labs. This is the second class-action suit outstanding against Coinbase. A suit was filed last month in connection with the depegging of GYEN (GYEN) in November. 

Thursday’s suit alleges that Coinbase was negligent for failing to conduct due diligence of Terraform Labs before it listed USTC and misrepresenting TerraUSD Classic’s risk as an algorithmic stablecoin. The suit compares the information on stablecoins provided by trading platforms Robinhood, Gemini and Kraken to that of Coinbase and concluded that “Rather than disclose the nature of TerraUSD as uncollateralized, controlled by an algorithm, and highly risky, Coinbase passed it off as just another stablecoin.”

The suit also claims Coinbase Ventures, the investment arm of the company, was one of the largest backers of Terraform Labs, and that was an additional motivation for the company not to disclose USTC’s volatility.

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The plaintiffs and classes in the case are represented by law firms Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman and Erickson Kramer Osborne. The latter firm is also representing the plaintiffs in a case filed against Coinbase and GMO-Z.com Trust on May 13 related to the depegging of the Japanese yen-pegged GYEN stablecoin in November.

The GYEN shot up in value then dropped precipitously a week after being listed on Coinbase, causing the platform to freeze some users’ accounts. Some users also lost money — “untold millions,” according to the suit — during the incident. The suit claims GMO-Z.com failed in its duties to the plaintiffs and the class in several ways, beginning with the design of the stablecoin.

Coinbase is claimed to have engaged in negligent misrepresentation and failure to use reasonable care in listing the GYEN despite a reasonably foreseeable risk of depegging.

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