Service of legal proceedings by NFT: turning the tables on scammers?
In what is believed to be a world first, on 6 June 2022, the New York Supreme Court allowed American law firm Holland & Knight to serve a temporary restraining order on a defendant by way of Non-Fungible Token (NFT). In LCX AG v John Does 1-2, the Defendant is accused of being involved in a hack that left the equivalent of $8 million in cryptoassets missing from the wallets of LCX, a prominent exchange platform.
Having been given the all clear by the court, Holland & Knight minted the requisite court paperwork into an NFT (which they referred to as a “service token” or “service NFT”) on the Ethereum blockchain and then sent it to the defendant’s wallet address – which they had previously uncovered via “algorithmic forensic analysis”. Like all NFTs, this token is now a part of the blockchain and can be viewed here.
Holland & Knight’s innovative approach to service is a complete reversal of the common NFT scam whereby fraudsters send ‘free’ NFTs to wallets, with the promise that they are worth money if one visits the fraudster’s website.
It will be interesting to see whether the Courts of England and Wales adopt a similar approach when considering applications for permission for service by alternative means. In recent years, judges have been increasingly receptive to allowing service by electronic message or social media in suitable cases.
If you have been a victim of fraud, contact our specialist lawyers on 02071838950 to see how we can assist you.
Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.