A court rules that an NFT can serve as evidence

After the peak of public interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in 2021, would crypto-art gradually give way to utility NFTs? The hypothesis is probably given that non-fungible tokens are not only limited to art, but may be useful in authenticating ownership. In this idea, a court in the United Kingdom held that an NFT could constitute a means of legal evidence in a specific case. At present, it is not yet possible to comment on the real contribution of this decision, but in itself it shows that NFTs could enter the legal world.

Although NFTs can authenticate in a tamper-proof manner who is the legal or natural person entitled to a thing, they are not yet admitted as such in any state. For a neophyte who is moreover a legal professional, this refusal to use them as legal evidence is not surprising. Keep in mind that this is a new technology that has not yet proven itself to the public. Correlatively, this unknown can slow down more than one, especially when fate is at stake in the courts.

Either way, Britain dares to take the plunge and is now ahead of the others! A British court has just validated for the first time the use of an NFT as evidence to initiate legal proceedings.

NFT – A cryptocurrency theft case

The case concerned the theft of cryptocurrencies. A technical engineer named Fabrizio D’Aloia, represented in the case by the law firm Giambrione & Partners LLP, sued legal action to get his stolen cryptocurrencies returned to him.

“Mr. D’Aloia’s cryptocurrencies were hijacked by unknown individuals who operated a fraudulent online broker clone that encouraged investors to deposit cryptocurrencies in two wallets in order to ‘transaction’ them.”

Giambrione & Partners LLP, law firm

Platforms like Binance, Poloniex, gate.io, OKA and Bitkub are also targeted at the victim’s request. But how do you initiate lawsuits for cryptocurrencies stolen by a person whose identity has not been established? That’s the whole point of the case.

In fact, the legal process was triggered by the sending of an NFT. It was the law firm that represented the victim, capable of it proclaim the legal process to the anonymous person by sending one non-fungible token to the address of the wallet from which the cryptocurrency was stolen. Service refers to a formal notice to the other party that a lawsuit has been initiated against him. It therefore follows from that decision that a natural or legal person has the opportunity to receive official legal documents through an NFT.

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One of the lawyers from the victim’s office points to the indirect responsibility for the platforms:

“If cryptocurrency exchanges act against these orders and fail to secure identifiable cryptocurrencies, they risk being held liable for breaches of trust.”

Joanna Bailey, partner at Giambrione & Partners LLP, Law Firm

Are NFTs evidence?

Exchange of documents is often problematic in this type of case. Joanna Bailey explains that since this solution, the company sends documents requesting the return of stolen cryptocurrencies. In fact, it is not the judges who are the cause of this authorization. In fact, it was the British Government that paved the way for this recognition. In addition, many people welcome this initiative.

court uk evidence

For the Cabinet responsible for defending the victim of cryptocurrency theft, this decision constitutes a decision of the United Kingdom Government “a step towards better consumer protection and responsible practice”. But others have more mixed reviews. For example, Preston Byrne, partner lawyer at the law firm Anderson Kill, who believes that this measure will have a limited practical effect.

“It is an interesting form of alternative service and in line with British tradition via platforms such as Twitter, although the practical effect will be limited if a user has been bored on [la sécurité opérationnelle] or simply decide to never trade that purse again. »

Preston Byrne, partner at Anderson Kill, law firm

Do not forget the real effect of this decision in the future. At least she participates in the gradual recognition of NFTs as an authorized legal evidence. And there is now (almost?) No doubt that in time this will happen in many states.

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