A nascent technology with seemingly limitless applications, cryptocurrency, and the underlying blockchain technology exploded onto the scene in 2017. Although already making waves in certain circles, widespread craving for cryptocurrency largely correlated with Bitcoin’s historic 2017 rally. With the 2017 cryptocurrency market generating unprecedented windfalls for early adopters, Main Street was primed and ready to enter the burgeoning market of Initial Coin Offerings.
Eager to find the next Bitcoin or Ethereum, investors drove the ICO market from just $10 million during the first quarter of 2017 to nearly $7 billion dollars during the first quarter of 2018. While this period saw a number of revolutionary projects that provided exceptional returns to investors, the early ICO landscape was also saturated with bad actors looking to exploit unsuspecting investors through a myriad of fraudulent schemes.
While cryptocurrency and blockchain-based companies have faced an abundance of regulatory actions in recent years, individuals may still have a private right of action to pursue remuneration for any harm suffered as a result of investing in cryptocurrency. Generally, an individual that invested in a fraudulent cryptocurrency project may be allowed to file a lawsuit and recover their investment within two years of discovering the fraudulent act but no more than five years after the alleged misconduct. Similarly, investors that purchased cryptocurrency in an unregistered and non-exempt offering may be entitled to recover for a decrease in the cryptocurrency’s value, provided they bring their claims within one year of the offer or sale of that cryptocurrency.