Service of Court documents via NFTs – no longer a novelty

Service of Court documents via NFTs – no longer a novelty

Traditionally, service of Court documents in English proceedings has taken place by non-electronic means such as post or personal delivery, unless the receiving party has confirmed they are willing to accept service by fax or email.

However, particularly in cases involving the misappropriation of crypto assets, the English Court has demonstrated a willingness to take a progressive approach to service of documents and permit service by more innovative methods.

In D’Aloia v Persons Unknown [2022] EWHC 1723 (Ch), the English High Court – it is believed for the first time – permitted service of documents via a non-fungible token (NFT). An NFT is a crypto token which is bought and sold on a distributed ledger (such as the Ethereum blockchain) which is unique, rather than fungible like cryptocurrency.

The claimant alleged that he was the victim of a scam, as a result of which he had been fraudulently induced to transfer a significant amount of cryptocurrency to the individuals behind a website with the name www.tda-finan.com. The claimant sought permission from the Court to serve documents on the individuals by email and, unusually, by NFT.

The Court granted this request, with the judge stating that “There can be no objection to it; rather it is likely to lead to a greater prospect of those who are behind the tda-finan website being put on notice of the making of this order, and the commencement of these proceedings…. I am satisfied that, in this particular case, it is appropriate for service to be effected by NFT in addition to service by email.

The D’Aloia case is not a one off. In Jones v Persons Unknown [2022] EWHC 2543 (Comm), the High Court permitted service of an order for summary judgment by way of email and NFT.

And, most recently, in Osbourne v Persons Unknown Category A [2023] EWHC 39 (KB), in a further bold step, the English High Court approved service by NFT as the sole method of service of documents on defendants accused of misappropriating NFTs.

Service of documents via NFTs is no longer a novelty, and is an example of the English Court’s willingness to grapple with the practical and technical issues presented by cases involving the misappropriation of crypto assets.

Recent posts

Previous
Next
AI Report
Read more
Baby Reindeer, internet sleuths and the perils of jigsaw identification
Read more
What businesses should consider before implementing monitoring
Read more
'Consent or pay’: the EDPB’s two cents on the right model
Read more
Take note: new guidance on the ICO’s penalties and fines
Read more
Labour’s proposed secondary ticketing reforms
Read more
The abolition of non-domicile in the Spring Budget
Read more
Content moderation: the ICO's guide
Read more
The Government moves to address unlawful immigration exemption under the Data Protection Act 2018
Read more
How can I get probate to sell my property?
Read more

More from this author

Previous
Next
Positive Development for Cross-Border Enforcement
Read more
Dispute Resolution in the Metaverse
Read more
How brands can adopt generative AI and avoid disputes
Read more
Digital Assets: Final Report
Read more
High Court claim involving claimed Bitcoin creator – a significant Court of Appeal judgment
Read more
Significant Court of Appeal Judgment on Limitation of Liability in IT Contracts
Read more
Meet you in the Metaverse
Read more
High Court claim involving claimed Bitcoin creator – the latest twist
Read more
New Podcast: Succession & Digital Assets
Read more
High Court claim involving claimed Bitcoin creator – one to watch
Read more
Tech and Sport podcast now live
Read more
Jurisdiction in 2021: LexisNexis webinar
Read more
Smart legal contracts: important update
Read more
Latest trends in data protection enforcement
Read more
Listen to our new podcast episode on NFTs
Read more
Listen to our first Digital Download podcast
Read more
Lawtech UK feasibility study
Read more
Jurisdiction post Brexit: Lugano Convention update
Read more

Share this page