Fatally flawed Crypto lawsuit against Apple dismissed by judge

A Bitcoin coin

A lawsuit against Apple complaining about instant transfer fees and the company’s alleged distrust in cryptocurrency has been dismissed by the case’s judge, with major flaws sending the suit back to the drawing board.

In November 2023, a group of Venmo and Square Cash users attempted to take on Apple, alleging that Apple was violating U.S. antitrust laws due to its App Store guidelines.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria struck down the attempted class-action lawsuit, giving the plaintiff 21 days to fix the complaint or to give up entirely. In the ruling, Reuters reports, the judge said the complaint was “speculative” in nature, and that it had “several fatal problems” in its application.

Payment rules

Apple required cryptocurrency transactions between peers to go through an exchange, effectively banning payment apps from handling cryptocurrency payments directly. It was reasoned in the lawsuit that Apple had created a system that reduced competition and enabled the increase in transaction fees.

At one point, the lawsuit referred to the peer-to-peer payments market as an “Apple-led cartel,” one that charges consumers repeated fees for handling payments. For putting payments through quicker, extra fees are applied to the transactions by payment providers.

Chhabria’s ruling explained that it wasn’t clear that companies following the App Store guidelines surrounding cryptocurrency payments would count as an unlawful agreement under antitrust laws.

The judge expressed skepticism in his ruling that the complaint could be revived, saying it is “difficult to see how amendment could salvage this case.” This probably means that, outside of a major unforeseen change that brings the lawsuit back into play, it’s unlikely to make a return to the courtroom.

Apple applied for the court to dismiss the lawsuit in February, with the argument that the suit didn’t actually demonstrate any unlawful app rules or business arrangements existed.

Based on the judge’s comments, it seems Apple won’t be bothered by the lawsuit again.

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