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LANDMARK NFT JUDGMENT

7th April 2022

We can now report that on 10th March 2022, Racheal Muldoon secured an urgent interim injunction from the High Court of England and Wales freezing two Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs). The NFTs represent two unique digital artworks from the Boss Beauties series removed from the Claimant’s MetaMask wallet without her knowledge or consent on 17 January 2022.  This is believed to be the first case of its kind in the world.

There have been several instances in recent years of the High Court freezing stolen cryptocurrency, however, this case is believed to be unprecedented, with the courts taking the step of freezing NFTs as a specific class of cryptoassets, distinct from cryptocurrency due to their non-fungible unique nature.  

This judgment therefore sets an important precedent in recognising the proprietary rights of NFT holders at a time when these cryptoassets are increasingly being misappropriated.  

At the return date hearing on 31 March 2022, HHJ Pelling QC granted another injunction until further order.

In obtaining these orders, Racheal was able to draw upon her dual Cyber and Art Law expertise, as well as her considerable experience of securing urgent interim relief. See for example:

  • Mr Dollar Bill Limited v Persons Unknown (2) Binance Holdings Limited trading as Binance (3) Huobi Global Limited trading as Huobi [2021] EWHC 2718; and
  • SD v (1) Persons Unknown (2) Huobi Global Limited trading as Huobi [2022] EWHC 280 (QB)).

Racheal is instructed on a direct access basis by the Claimant, Lavinia D. Osbourne, a prominent and award-winning blockchain diversity leader, as well as founder of Women in Blockchain Talks.

Racheal Muldoon is a barrister and member of 36 Commercial’s expert Cyber Team. Should you wish to explore instructing Racheal, please contact the Commercial Clerks on clerks@36commercial.co.uk or 020 7421 8051.

Lavinia Deborah Osbourne v (1) Persons Unknown (2) Ozone Networks Inc. trading as Opensea  


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