Bitcoin exchange Bitcoinica is being sued by four former users who allege they are owed nearly half a million dollars-worth of the virtual currency, plus damages.
Created by teenager Zhou Tong, Bitcoinica was one of the most successful Bitcoin exchanges until it claimed, earlier this year, that it had been hit by hackers who stole 43,554 coins, worth $87,000.
Tong sold the exchange to UK-based rival Intersango in June but a second attack was suffered within days, with the thief making off with 18,547 Bitcoins worth $90,000. The site has been offline since.
Bitcoinica assured users that the money was stolen from it, not customers, and that all withdrawal requests would be honoured. It set up a claims system but then told users that only half of their money would be returned.
With speculation swirling on forums
that Tang himself was behind the hacks, the four plaintiffs have now filed a complaint in San Francisco demanding the $460,457.70 they say they are still owed.
The former exchange users allege that the defendants - Bitcoinica, Intersango and some associated individuals - "knowingly and wilfully conspired and agreed upon themselves to hinder, delay and deprive Plaintiffs of their rights with respect to the monies at issue".
Via The Verge
, read the complaint:Brian Cartmell et al vs. Bitcoinica LP