Members of the Steem community filed a lawsuit against the bittrex cryptocurrency exchange and demand to pay them $16 million. The plaintiffs want to return the funds” saved ” from the Steem hard fork, as well as receive compensation.
Key members of the Steem community filed a lawsuit against the bittrex exchange, to whose wallet assets worth $5 million were transferred in may of this year, and, according to community members, owned by them. The plaintiffs are demanding that the exchange pay them $16 million.
The lawsuit is another twist in a long-running battle between the Steem community and Tron Foundation CEO Justin Sun, who bought Steemit Inc. in February. After acquiring Steemit, sun received a significant share of STEEM coins and influence on the outcome of consensus votes on the network. This marked the beginning of a struggle between San and the Steem community to manage the network.
In mid-March, part of the community announced the launch of a new blockchain to avoid the influence of the Tron Foundation, and at the end of the month, the hive platform was launched. Soon after, Steem witnesses froze eight accounts, blocking 17.6 million STEEM coins worth approximately $ 3.2 million in an attempt to stop the influence of “whales” switching to Hive.
At the end of may, the Steem team conducted a hard fork, in which some accounts were taken under control, and 23.6 million STEEM coins were withdrawn from their wallets. After the withdrawal, the coins were sent to a special community321 account. However, the user who had access to it sent the coins, at that time equivalent to about $5 million, to the main wallet of The bittrex exchange with a request to return them to their original owners.
The exchange refused to return the coins” saved ” from the Steem hard fork to their owners, arguing that although the community considered the withdrawal of coins unfair, technically the witnesses control the blockchain and decide its fate. This led to the largest STEEM holders filing a lawsuit against the exchange. The plaintiffs include Dan Notestein, Dan Hensley, and other members of the community.
“The plaintiffs are seeking a court order that will oblige Bittrex to immediately transfer STEEM to the original owners ‘accounts,” the document says.
Bittrex responded to the complaint and confirmed that it had received STEEM coins, but rejected many of the claims in the original complaint. The exchange claims that the damage was not caused by The bittrex platform itself, and that it should not be held responsible for these funds. In addition, the person who sent the crypto assets to the site ” did not provide information that can be used to identify the “original owners” of STEEM.
To this, members of the Steem community responded that Bittrex has no reason to believe that an unknown user could have stolen funds. The plaintiffs pointed to an accompanying message received by Bittrex when transferring funds: “These are funds stolen by Steem witnesses during HF23 on may 20, 2020, please return them to their original owners before the hard fork.”
Further development of events will now depend on the bittrex exchange, which should respond to the statement of the Steem community members in the near future.