Company Sues CryptoKitties Creator for Allegedly Stealing Trade Secrets

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Axiom Zen, the company behind popular Ethereum DApp CryptoKitties, has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly violating a non-disclosure agreement and stealing trade secrets.

The suit, filed last week in US District Court for the Southern District of California by San Diego-based company Starcoin (which operates under the name Tradestar) and reviewed by CCN, claims that Tradestar and Axiom Zen discussed confidential trade secrets during a series of email communications in February 2018. These discussions were allegedly protected by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), a copy of which was included in the court documents.

The lawsuit alleges that Axiom Zen, after cutting off communications with Tradestar, stole the latter’s idea to produce a digital collectible modeled after the likeness of NBA superstar Stephen Curry, an idea that was put into production through CryptoKitties’ now-suspended “CurryKitties” campaign.

Tradestar, which describes itself as a marketplace for entertainer collectibles, says on its website that it provides customers with “exclusive content from…musicians, athletes, and creators.”

Tradestar claims that, after CryptoKitties allegedly stole its trade secrets, investors who had previously been interested in Starcoin instead invested in Axiom Zen.

From the suit, portions of which have been blacked out due to a court-approved seal:

“In fact, since Axiom received Starcoin’s confidential information, two investors who had previously expressed interest in Starcoin — such as CAA Ventures and Digital Currency Group — have now passed on investing opportunities offered by Starcoin, and instead they have both funded Axiom.”

As CCN reported, CryptoKitties recently suspended the CurryKitties promotion, stating that the company has “reason to believe Steph wasn’t as involved” in the promotion as it had been led to believe.

stephen curry
Source: Axiom Zen

Tradestar CEO Jevon Feinblatt told CCN that this claim “doesn’t really make sense, since they publicly claimed before hand that a partnership was struck” with Moji, Curry’s app development company.

“Regardless, the damage has already been inflicted upon Tradestar, regarding the many reasons we are filing the case,” he added.

However, in a statement provided to CCN, a spokesperson for CryptoKitties and Axiom Zen said that the suit had “no merit.”

“We have been falsely accused of breaching an NDA and believe the lawsuit has no merit. Axiom Zen is a company that is committed to ethical and responsible work, including ownership and protection of data,” the statement read, adding in a follow up-email that “the two instances are unrelated. We suspended the CurryKitties auction for reasons prior to and separate from recent events.”

Featured Image from CryptoKitties

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Josiah is a full-time journalist at CCN. A former ancient and medieval literature teacher, he has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2014. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and children. Follow him on Twitter @Y3llowb1ackbird or email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.