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US Supreme Court agrees to hear Coinbase arbitration dispute

CNA – The United States (US) Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc’s bid to halt lawsuits the company contends belong in private arbitration, including one by a user suing after a scammer stole from his account.

The justices agreed to consider whether two proposed class actions by customers suing Coinbase could move forward while the company appeals judges’ rulings declining to force its users to arbitrate their claims.

“We are gratified the Supreme Court agreed to hear our appeal, and we look forward to its resolution of this matter,” a lawyer for Coinbase Neal Katyal said in a statement.

A US law called the Federal Arbitration Act requires agreements customers sign to pursue legal claims against companies in private arbitration to be enforced according to their  contractual terms.

Business groups call arbitration a quicker and more efficient alternative to suing in court.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers say arbitration favours companies and that consumers can have more power and obtain broader relief by filing class-action lawsuits in court on behalf of larger groups of people.

The lawsuits at issue before the Supreme Court include one in California by customer Abraham Bielski, who said he was tricked into giving access to his Coinbase account to a scammer who then stole more than USD31,000 from him.

A representation of the cryptocurrency is seen in front of Coinbase logo. PHOTO: CNA

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