Vlad Zamfir, an ethereum developer who is working on an alternative blockchain called casper, is suing CasperLabs, a blockchain research and development company backed by cryptocurrency investor and former U.S. presidential candidate Brock Pierce.
Zamfir has accused Switzerland-based CasperLabs of using casper in marketing materials for CasperLabs in a way that might mislead potential investors ahead of an imminent fundraising, scheduled for the coming three days.
Pierce, who’s understood to be an investor in the CasperLabs token sale scheduled to take place between March 23 to March 26, took a run at the White House as an independent last year—a bid he has said was preparation for another in 2024. Pierce’s venture capital company DNA Fund is also an investor in CasperLabs, along with billionaire cryptocurrency investor Tim Draper and crypto fund Digital Strategy.
Zamfir, who filed the lawsuit against CasperLabs in California last week, began working with the company in February 2019, joining as lead architect. However, Zamfir quit CasperLabs in October 2019, claiming the company didn’t meet promises to fund his casper blockchain research and was “misleading” investors.
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“CasperLabs vigorously disputes the trademark claims made by Vlad Zamfir in the lawsuit he filed in San Diego,” a CasperLabs spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “CasperLabs prides itself on its innovation, and it will not shy away from this litigation. We have a duly registered trademark on “CASPER” in the U.S. and will be responding to Mr. Zamfir’s lawsuit shortly in court. In the meantime, we remain focused on Casper’s upcoming mainnet launch and other company milestones as we continue to support the growth of Casper’s global community.”
Representatives for Pierce failed to respond when asked for comment.
CasperLabs’ planned token sale has a fundraising goal of $21 million, adding to at least $30 million raised by the company since 2019. A source close to the company described Pierce as a “token holder” ahead of the sale.
CasperLabs has said it plans to use the funds it’s raised to build a scaleable so-called proof-of-stake blockchain, which allows holders of its cryptocurrency to help secure its network.
Last October, CasperLabs announced that it has raised $14 million in a private token sale, with crypto fund Digital Strategy leading the sale that involved Consensus Capital, Hashkey Capital, and RockTree Capital. In 2019, CasperLabs completed a funding round worth $14.5 million.
“The team at CasperLabs has built an essential blockchain platform for real-world applications without sacrificing the essential components of usability, cost, decentralization, or security,” Draper said last year via Twitter following an undisclosed investment by his venture capital firm Draper Goren Holm.