Global investment management firm VanEck is facing a lawsuit from blockchain company and former partner SolidX over a Bitcoin ETF that VanEck filed for SEC approval less than two weeks ago.
In 2017, VanEck became the first company to file an application for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund registered under the Investment Company Act, while SolidX has been working on bringing a Bitcoin ETF to market since 2015. The two companies joined forces in June 2018, with SolidX touting its deep experience with crypto as a complement to VanEck’s extensive experience in issuing financial products.
However, after withdrawing their last joint request for a Bitcoin ETF in September 2019, the two companies separated in August 2020. SolidX’s complaint describes the split as a “bad faith termination” of their agreement.
On December 31, VanEck announced that it had filed a new application for a Bitcoin ETF.
According to the lawsuit, documents filed by VanEck with the SEC suggest that the company “was working surreptitiously on its own Bitcoin product while telling the world that it was ‘married’ to SolidX.” The blockchain firm claims:
“Using SolidX’s labor and labor product to compete with it is bad enough, but the registration statement filed by VanEck would be called plagiarism in any other context: the structure of the Bitcoin ETF offered by VanEck is substantially the same, or virtually , to the structure for which SolidX sought SEC approval. “
The complainant also alleges that “VanEck began to advertise directly competitive products” within weeks of terminating their agreement, and that VanEck “could not have started broadcasting [said products] without going against the interests of SolidX while remaining its business partner. “
In November, VanEck launched a physically backed Bitcoin exchange-traded note on the German market Deutsche Börse Xetra.
SolidX states that VanEck’s “flagship” brand and “credibility” as an ETF issuer informed its decision to partner with the company, claiming that VanEck “had little or no expertise in Bitcoin” and hired SolidX for its expertise in crypto assets.