Lawsuits against cryptocurrency exchanges, digital wallet providers, and mobile service companies following cyberattacks reached a new high in 2022, as hacking victims increasingly test unproven legal claims to recoup their crypto losses. At least 50 individual lawsuits and proposed class actions have been brought since 2017 by victims—and occasionally companies—against entities they blame for failing to protect their crypto assets from hackers, a Bloomberg Law analysis of federal court dockets found. Fewer than 10 suits were being filed annually before the total jumped to 17 in 2021 and rose to 20 in 2022, the data show. The cases against businesses like Apple Inc., Coinbase Inc., Gemini Trust Co. LLC, and AT&T Inc. claim losses ranging from as low as $4,600 to as high as $55 million—though roughly half allege crypto losses above $400,000. The increase in litigation parallels the growing adoption of crypto amid rising cybersecurity threats. However, the success of such suits remains unclear due to a lack of precedential merits rulings, as well as obstacles like mandatory arbitration clauses that can keep those disputes out of court, attorneys and law professors said. The majority of the lawsuits analyzed by Bloomberg Law fall into two categories: those targeting crypto trading exchanges and virtual wallet providers, alleging security measures failed to protect user accounts; and those accusing cellular providers of indirectly allowing hackers to access crypto accounts. A handful of cases also seek to learn the identities of the hackers.
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