On Thursday, a Dogecoin investor sued Elon Musk for $258 billion, accusing him of conducting a pyramid scheme to promote the cryptocurrency.
Plaintiff Keith Johnson filed a case in federal court in Manhattan accusing Musk, electric car firm Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), and space tourism business SpaceX of racketeering for praising Dogecoin and pushing up its price, only to see it plummet.
Musk is the founder and CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX.
“Defendants were aware since 2019 that Dogecoin had no value yet promoted Dogecoin to profit from its trading,” according to the lawsuit. “Musk used his pedestal as World’s Richest man to operate and manipulate the Dogecoin Pyramid Scheme for profit, exposure and amusement.”
The case also includes quotes from Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and others who have questioned the worth of cryptocurrencies.
Tesla, SpaceX, and Musk’s lawyer did not reply quickly to demands for comment.
Johnson’s lawyer did not immediately reply to questions for comment on what particular proof his client has or expects to have proving Dogecoin is worthless and the defendants conducted a pyramid scheme.
Johnson is suing for $86 billion in damages, which he claims represents the fall in Dogecoin’s market value since May 2021, and he wants it quadrupled.
He also wants Musk and his firms barred from marketing Dogecoin and a court to rule that trading Dogecoin is illegal under federal and New York law.
According to the lawsuit, the selloff of Dogecoin started around the time Musk presented the NBC program “Saturday Night Live” and, while playing a bogus financial expert on a “Weekend Update” piece, dubbed Dogecoin “a hustle.”
Tesla said in February 2021 that it had purchased $1.5 billion in bitcoin and had briefly accepted it as payment for autos.
Dogecoin was trading at about 5.8 cents on Thursday, down from its top of almost 74 cents in May 2021.