How to Bring Claims Against a Cryptocurrency Exchange  

Gold bitcoin coins on laptop keyboard

Written by Jordan Matyas and Mike Haeberle

Please Note:

  • If your loss was due to clickbait or fraud, we cannot help.
  • We also cannot recover funds lost on exchanges outside of the US.
  • If an exchange is telling you that you need to make a tax payment and then they will release your funds, you are likely the victim of an unrecoverable fraud, and you should not make any tax payments or additional transfers to the thieves.

Users of cryptocurrency exchanges sometimes end up in disputes with the exchanges.  Common reasons include:

  • Accounts may be locked by exchanges;
  • Funds may be improperly removed from the account;
  • Transactions may not be properly executed.

In any of these situations, users often first reach out to the exchanges for support. For many users, however, customer support is slow or inept or both.  After numerous calls, emails and chat conversations, customers then look to their next option and most seek to take the next step by bringing a claim against the exchange.

The critical document in determining what the next step is the user agreement or terms of service.  These documents typically provide a procedure for dispute resolution.  The agreements will most likely have a provision requiring arbitration or bringing the claim in small claims court (which will not be an option for many users because of the magnitude of the loss).  

Jeffrey Berk v. Coinbase, a case decided in December 2020 by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, looks at the application of Coinbase’s arbitration clause and shows what can happen if claims are filed in court.  The case was filed in March 2018, yet almost two years later, the Court sent the matter to arbitration because the language in Coinbase’s user agreement provided for mandatory arbitration. 

Filing a case in the wrong court or ignoring an arbitration requirement can lead to huge delays.  Avoid timely delays and contact us today so we can help guide you down the right path.


About the Authors

Jordan Matyas – Clients benefit from Jordan’s more than two decades in government including working in the White House, the Legislature and as the Financial regulator for the State and most recently as the Chief of Staff at the Regional Transportation Authority.  Jordan is also a registered State and City lobbyist, working with clients on government relations, legislation, policy, and other aspects of public affairs. Contact Jordan at 1818 Legal.

Michael Haeberle – Clients contact Mike when they need a litigator.  He assists businesses and individuals in cases pending in court, arbitration and administrative agencies, and has tried cases before judges, juries, arbitrators, and administrative law judges, with a focus on business lawsuits, contract litigation, shareholder disputes (business divorces), and professional negligence cases. Contact Mike at, The Business Lawyers to Call in a Crisis.

Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas

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Jordan Matyas is a lawyer, lobbyist, and Founder of 1818 Legal, an Illinois professional licensing defense law firm he created in 2014. With more than 18 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including professional license defense, administrative law, land use and zoning, and state, local, and municipal law.

Jordan received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois — Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Illinois Bar Association.