University of Oxford Faculty of Law notes possible repercussions for lost and stolen crypto claims following a case in a Canadian trial court earlier this year

The faculty of law at the University of Oxford recently published a post that highlighted the possible consequences for stolen and lost digital currency claims. This was published on Business Law Blog on the 12th of December. In the blog post, a researcher at SAFE Frankfurt – Grygoriy Pustovit – highlighted the case of Copytrack Pte Ltd vs. Brian Wall.

British Columbia Superior Trial Court Rules to Return Mistakenly Sent Ethereum (ETH)

According to the blog post, the British Columbia superior trial court ruled the return of Ethereum (ETH) tokens which were mistakenly sent to another receiver. The digital currency was mistakenly sent by Copytrack – a blockchain startup based in Singapore. The court has ordered the defendant – Brian Wall – to return the digital currency to Copytrack.

Brian Wall, the defendant, mistakenly received 530 ETH tokens from the startup rather than 530 Copytrack (CPY) coins. The defendant was supposed to receive 530 CPY tokens after participating in the Initial Coin Offering of Copytrack.

The total value of Ethereum (ETH) sent to the defendant is equivalent to $370,482 (495,000 Canadian dollars). Whereas, the value of CPY coins the defendant wanted to buy was $583 (780 Canadian dollars) at the time. According to Pustovit, “This pattern may have a huge effect on the enforcement of claims about stolen and lost digital currency.” The ruling gives the plaintiff the power to trace and recover coins from whosoever might be holding the Ethereum tokens at the moment.

Rightful Crypto Owners Could Soon Be Able to Trace Their Coins

As proficient services for tracking digital currencies emerge, the rightful owners of some digital currencies could be able to trace them on public ledgers and recover them once they surface on the wallet of a trading platform. According to Pustovit, codes are not the only things governing blockchains. Blockchains are also governed by laws of concerned jurisdiction.

The blog post noted that while international enforcement of different national regulations and laws could prove difficult, digital currency businesses will likely act in accordance with ruling in jurisdictions where they have strategic interests. Pustovit also pointed out that the court missed the opportunity of defining the legal traits of digital currencies. The reason is that it couldn’t be handled via summary judgment.

Since the defendant is no longer alive, there is no need of sending the matter to trial. This led the court to rule that the Ethereum (ETH) coins should be the plaintiff’s property, and all the tokens should be returned. However, the court left claims regarding conversion and detinue unsettled. While the legal status of digital currencies in regards to case law is still hazy, there are lots of verdicts recognizing that other intangible assets, such as shares, mineral interests, and funds, might be subject to claims in conversion and detinue.

Canada is known to be one of the most digital currency friendly nations in the world. The country has regulations that are favorable to the crypto industry. It also offers low energy costs for the mining of digital currencies.

Also read: U.S. federal court has ordered two executives from crypto firm AriseBank to pay nearly $2.7 million in fines