Coinbase secures supreme court backing for arbitration in customer lawsuit

Coinbase has received a favourable ruling from the US Supreme Court regarding a class-action lawsuit filed against the company. The court has granted Coinbase permission to pause the lawsuit and pursue private arbitration instead.

The lawsuit was filed in April 2022 by Abraham Bielski, a California resident who alleged that scammers posing as PayPal representatives stole $31,000 from his cryptocurrency wallet on the Coinbase exchange in 2021. Bielski claims that he was unable to get assistance from Coinbase in resolving the issue.

Coinbase had previously requested that the litigation be suspended while the company pursued arbitration, as outlined in the dispute resolution agreement signed by customers upon joining the platform. However, a district court in California dismissed Coinbase’s motion, and this decision was later upheld by a Court of Appeal.

In a significant turn of events, the US Supreme Court has now passed a 5-4 majority ruling in favour of Coinbase, allowing the company to appeal for arbitration in the Bielski case. Arbitration is generally considered more cost-effective and easier to manage for organizations, but it can be disadvantageous for customers when it is forced upon them.

This legal victory for Coinbase comes at a time when the company is already facing allegations from the US securities watchdog regarding the operation of an illegal trading platform and the offering of unregistered securities.

Arbitration

Arbitration is an alternative method of resolving disputes outside of the traditional court system. It involves the appointment of an impartial third party, known as an arbitrator, to oversee the resolution process.