A recent class action refiled in federal court against Shopify highlights a growing trend of lawsuits against companies related to the theft of cryptocurrency, particularly as a result of internal company threats. See Forsberg et al v. Shopify, Inc. et al, 1:22-cv-00436 (D. Del.). Despite not itself being a repository for or facilitating the sale of any cryptocurrency, the plaintiffs in the Shopify case allege that Shopify is liable for a theft of cryptocurrency after Shopify experienced a data breach caused by its own employees, which exposed a customer list for a cryptocurrency hardware wallet vendor, Ledger SAS. As cryptocurrency storage and related transactions increasingly feature in companies’ online presence, there is likely to be a growing risk posed by threat actors motivated to target crypto-related assets and data, and more litigation activity in this space.
Michael Nonaka is a partner in the firm’s Financial Institutions practice group. He represents banks and other financial institutions on a wide variety of bank regulatory, enforcement, legislative and policy issues. Mr. Nonaka also is co-chair of the firm’s Fintech Initiative and works with a number of banks, lending companies, money transmitters, payments firms, technology companies, and service providers on innovative technologies such as big data, blockchain and related technologies, bitcoin and other virtual currencies, same day payments, and online lending.