Coinbase Faces New Bitcoin Cash-Related Insider Trading Lawsuit

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is once again facing a class action lawsuit filed by traders, alleging there was insider trading ahead of its listing of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), the cryptocurrency created through a fork of the Bitcoin (BTC) network.

According to Finance Magnates, the lawsuit was filed against the firm in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, and sees the plaintiffs argue that the exchange “made false and deceptive statements” regarding the cryptocurrency’s listing.

Per the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege Coinbase insiders were able to start buying BCH ahead of the listing, as they knew the cryptocurrency was going to be listed on the platform, and would go through what’s known as the “Coinbase effect” – the price rise a cryptoasset sees after being listed on the exchange.

The knowledge BCH would be listed, as such, allowed insiders to accumulate and rake in significant profits when the cryptocurrency was listed. Specifically, the plaintiffs claim the exchange allowed its insiders to open positions in the cryptocurrency, and only then opened the market to the public.

The crypto’s price was then inflated, and Coinbase then promptly shut down trading for the wider public, while still letting its insiders trade. At the time, according to CryptoCompare data, BCH saw a $9,500 high on Coinbase after its price started surging, and only went back to normal after trading was re-enabled.

Bitcoin Cash surged and plummeted after being listed on Coinbase

The price was inflated, the lawsuit implies, as Coinbase opened the market with only buy orders being available, meaning only its insiders were able to sell the cryptocurrency, at a premium.

This means some managed to sell their tokens at a high the cryptocurrency has never seen since then, even at the cryptocurrency market’s December highs. Bitcoin Cash’s current all-time high – across exchanges – was of about $4,100. At press time, it’s trading at about $256.

Coinbase can respond to the lawsuit’s allegations by December 20, and a hearing has been scheduled for January 31. The class action lawsuit comes shortly after another one, regarding the same listing process, was dismissed after a judge determined the plaintiff was unable to clarify how Coinbase could’ve done better.

As CryptoGlobe covered, Coinbase launched an investigation at the time, to determine whether any of its employees engaged in insider trading. The exchange claimed that the investigation “determined to take no disciplinary action” as it found no insider trading occurred.

Speaking to CNBC back then Roger Ver, a popular BCH-proponent, claimed he believes insider trading “is a non-crime” as trading in advance helps curb volatility and sees the price “much more closely reflect the price after the news became public.”

Crypto Market-Maker Altonomy Receives $7 Million in Funding from Polychain Capital

Altonomy, a New York-based cryptoasset trading, advisory, and asset management company, has completed a $7 million fundraising round from Polychain Capital, a leading hedge fund and venture capital firm.

Co-founded by Ricky Li, a former Manager of Research and Product at the CME Group, Altonomy has also received funding from 7 Blocks.

Additional Capital Will Allow Altonomy to Have More Inventory

Commenting on how the additional capital could help Altonomy’s business operations, Li said: 

As a liquidity provider for altcoins, more funding will allow us to have more inventory, taking larger exposure and managing risk more effectively.

Li added that the extra funding would allow Altonomy’s trading desk to provide better services - as the platform would not need to “put constraints” on customers at settlement.

Funds May Be Used to “Source Liquidity for Customers”

Olaf Carlson-Wee, the Founder and CEO at Polychain Capital, remarked:

As a long-time user of Altonomy’s trading services, it was an easy decision for us to invest in their business when the opportunity became available.

Carlson-Wee, a former Product Manager and Head of Risk at Coinbase, also mentioned that the additional funding would help “source liquidity for customers, regardless of token type, order size, market cap, or whether the asset trades on centralized or decentralized exchanges.”

According to Coindesk, Li had suggested to investors in January 2019 that they “liquidate enough ETH so they would have at least two years of runway.” However, Li is now anticipating that cryptocurrency prices may continue to recover - after enduring a long bear market that lasted throughout 2018.

Altonomy Introduces Cloud Service for Crypto Mining

In addition to providing crypto trading and asset management services, Altonomy introduced a new product last year, called the AltMiner. According to Li, AltMiner’s cloud service allows Altonomy’s bigger investors to mine various cryptocurrencies.

Altonomy’s management claims that the AltMiner has a “superior return profile” with the “newest generation of miners, low electricity costs and a secure hosting site.”

During an interview with CryptoGlobe in May 2019, Lee explained how Altonomy’s crypto trading services were developed and their potential benefits.

One of Altonomy’s main services, called electronic execution, allows mining firms, investment companies and crypto exchanges to “enter and exit positions as an outsourced execution desk.”

As a high-frequency market-maker, Altonomy also provides liquidity for various tokens to several crypto spot and derivatives trading platforms.