New Lawsuit Alleges Coinbase CEO Stole Work From Blockchain Startup

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In Brief
  • MouseBelt Labs filed the lawsuit, alleging that Armstrong and others had stolen ideas from a platform that it had invested in.

  • The lawsuit alleges that Coinbase used the ideas for its own platform and with the desire to eliminate a rival.

  • Coinbase has not yet made a public statement on the matter.

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A new lawsuit by MouseBelt Labs alleges that Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong stole ideas from a research platform called Knowledgr. The exchange has not yet responded on the matter.

A new lawsuit filed in San Francisco alleges that Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong stole work from a rival blockchain startup. Specifically, it states that Armstrong stole ideas while ostensibly trying to invest in the startup. The lawsuit was filed by MouseBelt Labs on Dec 17.

Armstrong was reportedly working on a platform for publishing academic research, which made use of tokens that could be traded. These tokens would reward users for their efforts in the ecosystem, which was called ResearchHub.

The lawsuit claims that he learned of a platform called Knowledgr, which was already pursuing a similar goal. It goes on to say that Armstrong became aware of Knowledgr and offered financial investment with the additional offer of listing the tokens on Coinbase. MoustBelt Labs was another investor in the platform.

MouseBelt says that Armstrong did not wish to help fund and grow Knowledgr, but rather take the idea of the latter and remove a rival. Essentially, MouseBelt says that Coinbase stole ideas from Knowledgr and put it into its own platform. The complaint states,

It was Armstrong’s and the other Defendants’ intent to steal MouseBelt’s work for themselves, to not only eliminate a potential competitor but to obtain for ResearchHub the benefits of the financial, design and technical resources MouseBelt put into Knowledgr, thereby allowing ResearchHub to launch sooner at less cost a successful platform based entirely or substantially on MouseBelt’s work.

Coinbase likely to fight case

Coinbase has not offered a public comment on the lawsuit. It remains to be seen how valid the arguments made in the lawsuit are, and the exchange is likely to fight back strong. The exchange has been through several controversies in the past and has managed to grow regardless.

Two of the biggest controversies that Coinbase has faced in the past have to do with allegations of racism and a “company-first” workplace policy. The latter banned controversial workplace discussions, which some criticized as being not in the spirit of decentralization.

The success of Coinbase since its IPO has been readily apparent. The exchange’s CFO has said that it stores 12% of the world’s crypto assets, which is no small number. In terms of business, it is performing well, recording $1.2 billion in revenue in its third-quarter financial results.


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Rahul's cryptocurrency journey first began in 2014. With a postgraduate degree in finance, he was among the few that first recognized the sheer untapped potential of decentralized technologies. Since then, he has guided a number of startups to navigate the complex digital marketing and media outreach landscapes. His work has even influenced distinguished cryptocurrency exchanges and DeFi platforms worth millions of dollars.

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