Crypto Investors' $28M ‘Black Thursday’ Lawsuit Against DeFi Giant Maker Dismissed by US Judge

The class-action lawsuit alleged Maker-related entities misrepresented risks of holding collateral debt positions, resulting in heavy losses for some users.

AccessTimeIconFeb 24, 2023 at 11:00 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

A federal judge dismissed a class-action lawsuit that alleged investors on Maker, one of the largest decentralized finance protocols, suffered some $8 million in losses because the platform misrepresented risks, according to a court document filed on Wednesday.

The “Black Thursday” lawsuit filed in April 2020 claimed that Maker-related entities including Maker Ecosystem Growth Foundation misrepresented collateralized debt positions on the platform as more secure investments than other assets because they required over-collateralization, CoinDesk reported at the time.

The Maker Ecosystem Growth Foundation was dissolved as part of a strategy helmed by founder Rune Christensen to decentralize the protocol, handing operations over to a decentralized autonomous organization called MakerDAO.

Judge Maxine M. Chesney of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the complaint, saying that “Maker Growth [Foundation] is not a proper defendant because it has been dissolved, and therefore lacks capacity to be sued,” and that the “plaintiff has failed to allege facts sufficient to support each of his claims for relief.”

This was the second amended version of the complaint.

Maker is a lending protocol, where users can withdraw loans in the platform’s native stablecoin dai (DAI) by pledging assets such as ether (ETH) as collateral. Borrowers must maintain a certain collateral level to avoid liquidation. To counter volatile crypto prices, Maker requires loans to be over-collateralized, meaning borrowers have to lock up a higher value of assets than their debt.

But Peter Johnson, the lead plaintiff, claimed that Maker advertised the over-collateralization policy as a safeguard that caps losses at 13% and that the collateral would return to users. When ETH’s price sharply dropped in March 2020 during a market-wide crash, his position and that of many others on the platform were liquidated, Johnson alleged.

The suit alleged that investors suffered a total of $8.3 million in losses, and sought compensation and punitive damages of $20 million.

Plaintiffs may amend the complaint and file a third version until March 17, “as there is no showing the deficiencies noted above cannot be cured,” the judge said.

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Krisztian  Sandor

Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the U.S. markets team focusing on stablecoins and institutional investment. He holds BTC and ETH.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.