As the digital bites settle on a turbulent 2022, Roman Kubiak discusses what he sees as the top five legal cases in the crypto and digital asset space of 2022.
First reported instance of court permitting service of proceedings by NFT
We have previously discussed this case here.
Briefly, Mr Fabrizio D’Aloia had been the victim of a scam in which he deposited some $2 million worth of cryptocurrencies into a purported trading account with the website tda-finan.com. He was later unable to recover those deposits so sought injunctive relief, disclosure and related orders against “persons unknown” in the hope of recovering his cryptocurrency.
While the identities of the purported scammers were unknown, the tda-finan accounts into which Mr D’Aloia had first made his deposits were, opening up the possibility of “airdropping” NFTs into those accounts.
In a hearing held in private on 24 June 2022, Mr Justice Trower therefore permitted service not only by email but also by NFT, the first time service by airdrop of an NFT was permitted in England and Wales. Mr Justice Trower commented that “the effect of the service by NFT will be that the drop of the documents by this means into the system, will embed the service in the blockchain”.
In doing so, and thereby permitting service via one of the “gateways” permitted by the Civil Procedure Rules for foreign service, he also considered that there was a “serious issue to be tried in relation to declaratory relief in respect of [a] constructive trust.”
The third case I will talk about is Jones v. Persons Unknown  EWHC 2543 where the High Court recognises existence of constructive trust as between cryptocurrency platform and victim of crypto scam.