By Angela Morris (ABA Journal, February 2019)
David Silver learned about cryptocurrency the way a lot of people do—at a dinner party.
It was 2014 and there was one person at the dinner table who was heavy into bitcoin mining—the computer-powered competition that creates new bitcoins. It was the first Silver and most of his friends, who were on a trip to Utah as part of their service on a nonprofit philanthropic foundation’s board, had ever heard of it. But after the dinner conversation, Silver returned home to Florida and found himself the beneficiary of philanthropy from this miner.
“He gave everyone bitcoin,” recalled Silver, who received five bitcoins—worth over $1,500 back then. Silver still holds them, worth more than $18,705 at presstime, down significantly from $95,000 in December 2017 when bitcoin hit an all-time high.
The world of cryptocurrency soon spilled over into his practice. He learned that the under-regulated industry has tremendous potential for fraud and that investors have suffered real losses. The Coral Springs, Florida-based plaintiffs’ attorney, who had mainly concentrated on securities and financial fraud cases, began to carve out a niche representing allegedly defrauded cryptocurrency investors in class-action lawsuits against the largest crypto exchanges and companies that conducted initial coin offerings.