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17 March 2023 | Comment | Article by Roman Kubiak TEP

Top Five Crypto Cases of 2022: D’Aloia v. Persons Unknown [2022] EWHC 1723


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 [2022] EWHC 2543 where the High Court recognises existence of constructive trust as between cryptocurrency platform and victim of crypto scam.

If you would like any advice regarding any crypto claim that you may have then please do not hesitate to contact our specialist crypto lawyers at Hugh James.

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Author bio

Roman Kubiak is a partner and head of the market leading Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates team. He advises across the whole spectrum of private wealth disputes, with a particular focus on high value, complex and cross-border disputes including: trust disputes, breach of trust claims and applications to remove trustees; will disputes, particularly those with an international element; claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975; and claims for equitable relief under proprietary estoppel, constructive trusts and resulting trusts.

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