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Revealing crypto exchange’s physical location was not harmful, court rules

09/24/2020

A former employee’s actions did not cause ‘damage or loss, in any amount’ to the exchange.

A federal judge has ruled that an employee who revealed the location of a major crypto exchange did not violate its trade secrets.

According to court records filed Sept. 22, U.S. District Judge Maxine M. Chesney has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Payward Inc. — the owner of Kraken — against former employee Nathan Peter Runyon for misappropriating “trade secrets” by publicly disclosing the exchange’s physical address in San Francisco and accessing one of the company’s protected computers.

The Judge ruled that Payward was not alleging Runyon used the address to gain an economic advantage, nor did the complaint include facts that accessing the computer caused “damage or loss, in any amount, to Payward.”

Runyon published the address in a November 2019 lawsuit he filed against the exchange in connection with alleged breach of contract and sanctions violations. He accused Kraken of unethical and illegal business tactics, defrauding employees over their stock options, sanctions violations, discrimination against him as a disabled military veteran and faking company officer addresses.

Payward filed the suit against Runyon in March, stating that keeping its address secret protects it from physical threats including workers being kidnapped. The exchange also claimed that by publishing its address, Runyon had breached the terms of his original contract fr when he was employed as a financial analyst from March 2018 to August 2019.

Judge Chesney stated that Payward will have the right to file an amended complaint against Runyon before Oct. 9.