Don’t know who stole your crypto? If you’re in the U.K., you can now sue them through a blockchain.
A U.K. court last month granted the firm Giambrone & Partners LLP permission to serve legal proceedings to an anonymous individual via an NFT airdrop sent to the individual's crypto wallet, the firm reported Tuesday. Fabrizio D’Aloia, who is represented by Giambrone, is suing an unknown person—as well as the crypto exchanges Binance, Poloniex, gate.io, OKA, and Bitkub—over a loss of crypto funds.
NFTs are unique tokens that exist on blockchain networks such as Ethereum or Solana and signify ownership over a digital item, which can be anything from an image to virtual land or, now, legal papers.
According to the law firm, D’Aloia is trying to get lost crypto returned to him.
“Mr. D’Aloia’s cryptocurrency being misappropriated by Persons Unknown operating a fraudulent clone online brokerage encouraging would be investors to deposit cryptocurrency into two wallets so that ‘trades’ could be placed with it,” the firm wrote.
Giambrone Associate Joanna Bailey sees exchanges as a part of the problem. The law firm is now serving legal papers demanding the allegedly stolen crypto be returned.
“Should cryptocurrency exchanges act contrary to such orders and fail to ringfence the identifiable cryptocurrency, they risk being held liable for breach of trust,” Bailey said of the lawsuit. The associate did not respond to Decrypt's request for further comment.
The law firm also argued that regulators and legislators aren’t doing enough to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges and are “failing to exert control.”
In its statement, the firm applauded the U.K. government’s move to allow for legal proceedings to begin via NFTs, in part because it believes it’s a move toward “greater consumer protections and responsible practice.”
That said, it's currently unclear how enforceable legal documents served via an NFT will be. Preston Byrne, lawyer and partner at Anderson Kill, told Decrypt via email that such a practice is likely of “limited practical effect.”
“It's an interesting type of alternative service, and in keeping with the UK's tradition of alternative service via platforms like Twitter, albeit one which is of limited practical effect if a user has been fastidious about [operational security] or decides simply to never transact with that wallet again.”