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Crypto-Asset Disputes

With a strong understanding of the technical and economic underpinnings of crypto-assets, Enyo has broad experience litigating the complex issues that arise in this developing area.

We advise on all areas of commercial disputes in this sector, representing exchanges, R&D labs, Bitcoin developers, founders, online auction platforms and investors. We understand the players in the market, the relevant technology, and the issues that can arise in connection with the tech.

Given the rapid growth in the industry in recent years, and the relative novelty of some of the issues that have arisen, disputes in this area tend to have significant direct and indirect consequences. Decisions in even some of the smaller cases by value can have outsized consequences for the wider industry and are therefore often heavily fought. We have the heavyweight litigation and arbitration experience to litigate these cases effectively against any opponent.

Led by partner Tim Elliss, the team is involved in some of the largest and most complex cryptocurrency cases before the English courts. Enyo acts for the Bitcoin developers in the well-known Tulip Trading case where it has been alleged that software developers who contribute to the Bitcoin client software owe fiduciary duties to owners of Bitcoin. This litigation seeks to undermine the core concepts of Bitcoin including its open-sourced, distributed nature and the concept that private keys are necessary to transact. It is the most consequential cryptocurrency case globally.

Representative cases:
  • Acting for Bitcoin research and development lab, Chaincode Labs, in defence of claims asserting copyright and database rights in the Bitcoin Whitepaper and Bitcoin Blockchain. The claims are brought by Craig Wright, an individual who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto. The proceedings will determine whether Mr Wright is in fact Satoshi Nakamoto as he claims.
  • Acting for investors in confidential arbitration proceedings against a major cryptocurrency exchange in relation to its interpretation of its terms and conditions insofar as they apply to digital assets held by the exchange as collateral.
  • Acting for an NFT auction platform owned by well-known cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, the Winklevoss twins, in a novel dispute on the intersection between the auction platform’s standard terms and the mandatory consumer protection laws in force in the UK (and elsewhere).
  • Acting for the founder of the Coinomi wallet in an unfair prejudice petition following his exclusion from the management of the business and misappropriation of the assets of the business by its management.
  • Acting for an exchange in relation to its response to fraudulent dealings on its platform and the recovery of those assets from the fraudsters and the police.
  • Numerous instances of advising individuals the subject of fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes including advising on chain analysis to track movements in the stolen assets, the availability of disclosure orders to identify assets for enforcement and freezing orders to secure assets whilst litigation is conducted for their recovery.
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