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 likely given that non-replaceable tokens are not just limited to art, but can be useful in authenticating ownership. Under this idea, a court in the United Kingdom ruled that an NFT could be legal evidence in a specific case. At the moment it is not possible to say anything about the real contribution of this decision, but by itself it shows that NFTs could enter the legal world.
While NFTs can verify in a tamper-resistant manner who the legal or natural person is entitled to a thing, they are not yet authorized as such in any state. To a neophyte, who is also a lawyer, this refusal to use them as legal evidence is not surprising. Remember this is a new technology that has yet to prove itself to the public. Correlatively, this unknown can delay more than one, especially when fate is at stake in the courts.
Be that as it may, the UK dares to take the plunge and is now ahead of the rest! A UK court has just upheld for the first time the use of an NFT as evidence for initiating legal action.
NFT – A Cryptocurrency Theft Case
The case involved the theft of cryptocurrencies. A technical engineer named Fabrizio D’Aloia, represented in the lawsuit by the law firm Giambrione & Partners LLP, complained to take legal action to recover its stolen cryptocurrencies.
“Mr. D’Aloia’s cryptocurrencies were hijacked by unknown individuals who operated a fraudulent online brokerage clone and encouraged investors to deposit cryptocurrencies into two wallets to ‘trade’ them.”
Giambrione & Partners LLP, law firm
Platforms such as Binance, Poloniex, gate.io, OKA, and Bitkub have also been targeted by the victim’s request. But how do you initiate legal proceedings for cryptocurrencies stolen by a person whose identity has not been established? That’s the whole point of the matter.
In reality, the legal process was initiated by sending an NFT. Indeed, the law firm representing the victim was able to: serve the legal process on the anonymous person by sending a non-fungible token to the address of the wallet from which the cryptocurrency was stolen. Service of proceedings refers to formal notification to the opposing party that a lawsuit has been initiated against them. It therefore follows from this decision: that a natural or legal person has the possibility to receive official legal documents via an NFT.
One of the lawyers of the victim agency points out the indirect liability of the platforms:
“If cryptocurrency exchanges act against these orders and fail to secure identifiable cryptocurrencies, they risk being held liable for breach of trust. »
Joanna Bailey, Partner at Giambrione & Partners LLP, Law Firm
Are NFTs a means of proof?
The exchange of documents is often problematic in such cases. Joanna Bailey explains that since this solution, the company has been sending documents requesting the return of stolen cryptocurrencies. In reality, it is not the judges who underlie this authorization. Indeed, it was the British Government that paved the way for this recognition. Moreover, many people applaud this initiative.
For the cabinet charged with defending the victim of the theft of cryptocurrencies, this decision by the British government represents a “a step towards better consumer protection and responsible practices”. But others have more mixed reviews. For example, Preston Byrne, a partner attorney at law firm Anderson Kill, who believes this measure will have limited effect in practice.
“It’s an interesting kind of alternative service and in keeping with UK tradition through platforms such as Twitter, although the practical effect will be limited if a user has been annoying on [la sécurité opérationnelle] or simply decide never to trade with that wallet again. »
Preston Byrne, partner at Anderson Kill, law firm
Do not pay attention to the real effect of this decision in the future. she is anyway participates in the progressive recognition of NFTs as admissible means of evidence. And there is now (almost?) no doubt that this will eventually happen in many states.