According to a Tuesday notice from U.K. law firm Giambrone & Partners, a case brought by Fabrizio D’Aloia against Binance Holdings, Poloniex, gate.io, OKX, and Bitkub over allegations someone was operating a fraudulent clone online brokerage has resulted in a legal precedent offering a digital solution to serving someone. On June 24, the judge in the case allowed parties to be served by airdropping NFTs into wallets originally held by D’Aloia but stolen by unnamed individuals.
Until now, Civil Procedure Rules in the U.K. allowed lawsuits to be served by personal services, mail, dropped off at a physical address, or by means of a fax or another type of “electronic communication.” However, using electronic methods to serve someone has usually been in cases where the parties agreed in advance to such th delivery, or a court authorizes it for a “good reason.” According to Giambrone & Partners, these methods have included Instagram direct messages, Facebook messages and a contact form on a website.
“This order is a noteworthy development in the area of service of court documents and a welcome example of a court embracing new technology,” said the law firm. “This judgment paves the way for other victims of cryptoasset fraud to pursue persons unknown who have misappropriated their cryptocurrency in situations where they otherwise would not be able to.”
Demetri Bezaintes, an associate at Giambrone & Partners, added:
“I am confident that this latest judgment using NFT service has the potential to show the way to digital service over the blockchain, with all the benefits of immutability and authentication, becoming the usual practice in the future on legal matters related to the digital world [...] It is clear that this method of service has a far greater level of success over conventional means of service, such as post, in this sector.”
In addition to the precedent set by serving individuals via the blockchain, the court said crypto exchanges were responsible for ensuring the stolen assets were not moved or withdrawn.
A judge in the United Kingdom has authorized a party in a lawsuit to serve legal documents using nonfungible tokens, or NFTs.
In June, a law firm in the United States also served a defendant using an NFT in an $8-million hacking case involving Liechtenstein-based cryptocurrency exchange LCX. The legal team airdropped the NFT as a temporary restraining order into a hot wallet when the name of the served party was unknown.