Blocked-Chain: Tech Giants Defeat Crypto Ad Ban Lawsuit

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A class action challenging a ban on cryptocurrency ads by both Meta and Google has been shut down in a court win for the tech giants. Throughout 2018 and 2019, the two companies brought in measures to prohibit or restrict advertising relating to the crypto industry. In the Federal Court of Australia lawsuit, filed August 2020, Israel-based solicitor Andrew Hamilton accused Meta, formerly known as Facebook, and Google of engaging in a cartel and implementing policies that were anti-competitive. The self-proclaimed “serial tech entrepreneur” argued those bans negatively impacted anyone marketing products and services relating to 33 different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. The ad ban was claimed to have “dropped crypto markets by hundreds of billions of dollars.” But on Sept. 29, Justice Elizabeth Cheeseman shut down the class action. The judge agreed with Meta and Google that Mr. Hamilton had a conflict of interest as both the applicant in the case and the sole shareholder and chief executive of JPB Liberty, the firm financially backing the case. Around 650 individuals and businesses, referred to as group members, had purchased “Sue Facebook Tokens” from JPB to be part of the lawsuit. Any compensation received would have been shared between Mr. Hamilton, the group members and JPB. Because of this, Mr. Hamilton had a conflict between his own interests and the interests of those he was supposed to represent, Justice Cheeseman said. “It is plain that (he) has a financial interest in the litigation that significantly exceeds his own claim for relief in the proceeding,” the judge wrote. “I am not satisfied that the conflicts inherent in Mr. Hamilton’s multi-faceted interests in the proceeding are capable of being appropriately managed.” Similar claims can still be brought against Meta and Google in a future case provided there are no conflicts. Mr. Hamilton runs the Israel-based crypto mining firm Green Freedom Limited, a crypto consulting business Grant Hamilton Crypto Advisory and has invested in STEEM cryptocurrency.

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