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A Dogecoin investor filed a $258 billion lawsuit against Elon Musk on Thursday, accusing him of operating a pyramid scheme to promote the cryptocurrency.
In a case filed in federal court in Manhattan, plaintiff Keith Johnson accused Musk, electric car business Tesla Inc and space tourism firm SpaceX of racketeering for hyping Dogecoin and pushing up its price, only to later allow the price drop.
Musk is the chief executive officer of both Tesla and SpaceX.
“Defendants knew since 2019 that Dogecoin had no value, nevertheless they pushed Dogecoin to profit from its trade,” according to the lawsuit. “Musk exploited his position as the world’s wealthiest individual to manage and manipulate the Dogecoin pyramid scheme for profit, publicity, and entertainment.”
The complaint also collects Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and others who have questioned the value of cryptocurrencies.
Tesla, SpaceX, and Musk’s attorney did not reply quickly to demands for comment.
A lawyer for Johnson did not immediately reply to queries for comment about the particular proof his client had or expects to possess that indicates Dogecoin is worthless and the defendants operated a pyramid scheme.
Johnson seeks 86 billion dollars in damages, representing the drop in Dogecoin’s market value from May 2021, and wishes to have it double.
He also seeks to prevent Musk and his firms from marketing Dogecoin and to have a judge rule that dealing in Dogecoin constitutes illegal gambling under federal and New York law.
According to the lawsuit, Dogecoin’s selloff began around the time Musk hosted NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and referred to Dogecoin as “a scam” during a “Weekend Update” segment.
In February 2021, Tesla said it had purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and briefly accepted it as payment for automobiles.
Dogecoin traded for around 5.8 cents on Thursday, a decrease from its May 2021 high of over 74 cents.
Johnson v. Musk et al., United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Case No. 22-05037.