By HVY Journalists: An ex-employee of Electric Coin Company, which is behind privacy cryptocurrency Zcash, has sued the firm for unpaid equity, demanding $2 million in relief. According to the plaintiff, the company breached its contract and tried to silence him.
After reaching out on Twitter, Zerocoin CEO Zooko Wilcox replied that – due to the pending litigation – he was unable to comment on the case.
According to the complaint, which was filed on May 29, Simon Liu was working as a senior software engineer at Zerocoin – now known as Electric Coin Company – between August 2016 and May 2019.
Liu signed a contract with Zerocoin in which he allegedly was entitled to an equity award including “incentive stock options to purchase 15,000 units of its stock” as well as a share of the Founders’ Reward, according to the complaint.
The plaintiff claims that Zerocoin never granted him any stocks. What’s even more interesting is that Liu alleges that the company did not have the authorization to issue common stock to its employees in 2016 and that the firm was aware of this.
In December 2018, Zerocoin allegedly sent a status update to Liu admitting that it had no stock option plans and the company did not grant stocks to its employees. In the same update, the firm promised the plaintiff that they would present employees with choices by the end of the year.
Plaintiff: ‘Zcash Attempted to Silence Me’
In January, Liu sent a letter to Zerocoin complaining about the unpaid stock options and requested access to the company’s books and records. Four days later the firm replied, rejecting the software engineer’s request.
According to the document, Zerocoin posted a further announcement in late January, stating it was “going to issue new shares in the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company, diluting everyone’s percentage of ownership interest.”
On May 22, the plaintiff alleged that Zerocoin had attempted to silence him from expressing his concerns. According to the complaint, Zerocoin threatened the former employee with terminating his contract unless he immediately “stops spreading incomplete and inaccurate information and unverified rumors.”
Seeking $2 million
On May 28 – the same day he launched the lawsuit – Liu told the company that he was resigning from his position due to the unpaid equity, “intolerable working conditions,” and the firm’s threats.
The former Zcash employee demands $2 million as relief for damages and for the lawsuit’s upcoming legal fees.
CCN Markets reported a similar case in April in which a former employee of the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken launched a lawsuit against the company, seeking a $900,000 payday for unpaid stocks and options.