· ONTIER (on behalf of Tulip Trading Ltd) seeks to recover £3+ billion worth of Bitcoin
· Claim has significant implications for other users and the way Bitcoin operates
London, 25 March 2022:
Litigation law firm ONTIER LLP responds to the judgment handed down by Mrs Justice Falk today. This follows a successful application by 13 of the 16 bitcoin developer defendants to challenge the English court’s jurisdiction in legal proceedings brought by Tulip Trading Limited (TTL), a Seychelles registered company, whose primary beneficial owner is Dr Craig Wright.
“We are disappointed the English Court has granted the various Defendants’ applications and found that TTL has not established a serious issue to be tried on the merits of the claim in relation to whether or not developers owe fiduciary and tortious duties to those who have lost access to Bitcoin held on the networks which they control. However, we note that the Judge did not reject TTL’s factual case. She held that the Defendants’ evidence was “certainly not sufficiently strong to enable me to conclude that TTL’s factual case was no more than fanciful”. She criticised the amount of evidence filed in respect of the facts of the case as “an unhelpful distraction". We further note that the Judge found that TTL had the better of the arguments on the jurisdictional gateways and that England was the appropriate forum for the trial of the dispute. In doing so, the Judge upheld TTL’s arguments that it is resident in the jurisdiction and that its Bitcoin is also located here. The Judge also rejected the Defendants’ allegations that there had been material non-disclosure by TTL in its application for permission to serve out. Nonetheless, the matter does not rest here. The duties and responsibilities of developers are issues of the highest legal importance in a rapidly developing field that need to be fully aired and determined by an appellate court. As such, Dr Wright on behalf of Tulip Trading will seek leave to appeal today’s judgment.”
The defendants in this unprecedented action are the developers of BTC, BCH, BCH ABC and BSV residing in various jurisdictions across the world including: Netherlands, Switzerland, Kitts and Nevis, France, Japan, numerous different states in the USA, New Zealand and Australia.
ONTIER was originally granted permission to serve all the developers out of the jurisdiction by the Business and Property Courts of the High Court in London, following a 173 page application submission detailing the claim.
Notes to Editors:
Dr Wright is the inventor of Bitcoin who set out his vision for the digital currency in his famous White Paper under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
The litigation sought to examine, for the first time, the nature and extent of legal duties conferred upon and owed by developers resulting from the control they exercise over their respective blockchains.
As detailed in the Particulars of Claim, TTL requested that the individual developers enable TTL to regain access to and control of its Bitcoin on the grounds that they, the developers, owe Bitcoin owners both tortious and fiduciary duties under English law as a result of the high level of power and control they hold over their respective blockchains.
In February 2020, Dr Wright’s personal computer was hacked by persons unknown and encrypted private keys to two addresses, which hold substantial quantities of Bitcoin belonging to TTL, were stolen. These assets were, and continue to be, owned by TTL.
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