Australian Federal Judge Dismisses Class Action Challenging Crypto Ad Ban by Meta and Google

News | October 9, 2023 By:

The West Australian has reported that a class action lawsuit challenging the ban on cryptocurrency advertisements imposed by Meta (formerly Facebook) and Google has been dismissed, marking a legal victory for the tech giants.

The lawsuit, filed in the Federal Court of Australia in August 2020 by Israel-based solicitor Andrew Hamilton, alleged that Meta and Google had engaged in anti-competitive practices and formed a cartel through their advertising policies.

The ban on crypto-related ads was implemented by both companies in 2018 and 2019, restricting or prohibiting advertising associated with the cryptocurrency industry. Hamilton, a self-proclaimed “serial tech entrepreneur,” claimed that these bans adversely affected the marketing of products and services related to 33 different cryptocurrencies, including well-known cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. He argued that the ad ban had caused a significant drop in the crypto markets, resulting in losses worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

However, Justice Elizabeth Cheeseman, presiding over the case, sided with Meta and Google, stating that Hamilton had a conflict of interest. As the applicant in the case, Hamilton was also the sole shareholder and CEO of JPB Liberty, the firm providing financial backing for the lawsuit. Around 650 individuals and businesses, referred to as group members, had purchased “Sue Facebook Tokens” from JPB to participate in the legal action, with the expectation of sharing any compensation awarded.

Justice Cheeseman determined that Hamilton’s multifaceted interests in the proceeding created a conflict between his own financial interests and those he was supposed to represent. She stated, “It is plain that (he) has a financial interest in the litigation that significantly exceeds his own claim for relief in the proceeding.” Consequently, the conflicts inherent in Hamilton’s involvement were deemed unmanageable.

Although this particular class action has been shut down, it remains possible for similar claims against Meta and Google to be pursued in the future, as long as no conflicts of interest are present. Andrew Hamilton, who is involved in various crypto-related ventures and investments, including running the crypto mining firm Green Freedom Limited and a crypto consulting business called Grant Hamilton Crypto Advisory, may explore alternative avenues for legal recourse.

 

Source: The West Australian