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Insights / News
In Ellis v Digit Europe Limited the claimant alleged he had been the victim of a multi-million pound, complex fraud perpetrated by a web of persons unknown and sham companies purporting to offer bitcoin investment and management services. In December and January the claimant obtained worldwide freezing orders against alleged recipients of bitcoin identified following a tracing exercise on the blockchain which led to deposit addresses on the Kraken exchange.
A fully contested return date due to be heard on Thursday 3 March by Mr Justice Jacobs raised wide ranging issues including a challenge to the now familiar view that the lex situs of cryptocurrency is where the claimant was at the time it was misappropriated, a challenge to the tracing exercise carried out on the blockchain, the application of Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd to persons named in crypto exchange KYC documentation and the extent to which a claimant was required to identify potential bona fide purchaser defences from an analysis of the blockchain at the time of the ex parte hearing.
In a last minute change of position the claimant agreed to withdraw its application to continue the WFO against two of the defendants and to discontinue the claim against them. The claim continues against other defendants.
Helen Pugh represented the successful thirteenth defendant.
Andrew Spink QC and Chloë Bell represented the successful fourteenth defendant.
Andrew Spink QC is a highly respected advocate with 35 years’ experience at the Bar, of which 17 years have been as a successful QC. Andrew has a broad-based business law practice and is a leading silk in the emerging area of cryptoassets.
Chloë Bell is one of a few barristers at the London bar pioneering litigation relating to cryptoassets. She obtained one of the first comprehensive set of injunctions in relation to cryptoassets in the English courts and is ranked in Chambers & Partners.