Public menace Elon Musk and several of his companies are facing a massive lawsuit seeking $258 billion in damages that alleges the existence of a racketeering conspiracy in Musk’s corner to artificially inflate the value of a cryptocurrency known as Dogecoin and then essentially sit back and watch it implode.
Defendants in the lawsuit include Musk, SpaceX, Tesla, and The Boring Company, the last of which works on transportation-related infrastructure projects. Across two years, the value of Dogecoin, for which Musk provided public support, went up by astronomical margins of some 36,000 percent. Since the beginning of this year, it’s apparently lost some three-fourths of the value it held when January started. Legal claims against Musk and the other defendants allege those targeted by the lawsuit profited tens of billions of dollars as other Dogecoin investors struggled. The lawsuit claims the defendants were aware of the lack of staying power behind the cryptocurrency’s value — value that the case says actually “depended solely on marketing.” Musk claims he provided support for Dogecoin after encountering people at his companies who put money into it.
The lawsuit against interests including Musk and his companies over the circumstances of Dogecoin’s decline now features seven new plaintiffs. The original lawsuit, which is from June (an updated complaint, adding plaintiffs and defendants, was just recently filed), says that besides Musk’s promotion of Dogecoin, he also “started talking to Dogecoin developers in 2019, providing advice and sharing his vast Rolodex of contacts.” As for the promotional elements of Musk’s relationship with the cryptocurrency, the lawsuit also claimed an explicit awareness on his part of the impacts his public comments had on the value of Dogecoin as more buyers were driven to join those getting onboard. Those behind the case are pushing for a jury trial. Besides the claims of racketeering, the original case brought up allegations of violations of federal and state gambling laws, common law fraud, liability over a so-called failure to warn, and unjust enrichment on defendants’ parts. Throughout the history of his public comments on Dogecoin, Musk sometimes abruptly changed his tone — driving the cryptocurrency’s value down.