Members of Wilberforce Chambers have extensive expertise in acting in disputes concerning cryptocurrency. We are involved in three of the biggest and most important cases in the cryptosphere: Re FTX Bahamas; Tulip Trading v Van der Laan; and Wang v Darby (scroll down for further information). The occurrence of such disputes in the English courts has seen a rapid rise in the last few years, and members have been at the forefront of significant developments in the law in this area. The expertise of our members in civil fraud, commercial, trusts and property work provides them with the ability to confidently grapple with the problems that arise in these cases, such problems being frequent given that cryptocurrencies are a very recent form of asset class.

Our members are also comfortable working with blockchain forensic experts who are commonly instructed in such cases, and in explaining the technical nature of cryptocurrencies and their movement on the blockchain to the court.

Our work includes:

  • Freezing and proprietary interim relief, alongside disclosure orders (in respect of both cause of action defendants and third parties such as cryptocurrency exchanges)
  • Litigating claims concerning cryptocurrency from breach of contract claims to trust claims and claims for breach of fiduciary duty
  • Jurisdictional and conflict of law issues, which are extremely common in these disputes
  • All advisory and interim stages
  • Trial
  • Enforcement of judgments, including how to attack or get at cryptocurrency assets which may be shielded
  • Questions relating to the status of cryptoassets (including NFTs) as property

Notable cases

Re FTX Bahamas

The ongoing liquidation of the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange. Lexa Hilliard KC is assisting as Counsel to the Joint Provisional Liquidators of FTX Digital Markets Ltd. in the Bahamas, including, in particular, advising on cross border issues arising in the provisional liquidation.

Tulip Trading v Van der Laan

John Wardell KC, Bobby Friedman and Sri Carmichael were instructed in a £2-3 billion claim brought by Dr Craig Wright who alleges his computer was hacked early in 2020. The Claimant claims to have lost access to bitcoin worth, at current values, £2-3 billion. The case raises the important question whether the developers of “Bitcoin” owe fiduciary duties to victims of fraud. Our client succeeded in the Court of Appeal following a 2-day hearing in opposing jurisdiction challenges. A full case summary can be found here.

Read the full judgment

Wang v Darby

Tim Penny KC and Daniel Scott were instructed in the case first ever case on the holding of cryptocurrency on trust. The interim judgment also deals with a challenge to the WFO obtained against the Defendant.

Read the full judgment

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    Recent Cases

    Wilberforce team successful as Court of Appeal dismisses jurisdiction applications in leading “Bitcoin” case

    Cryptocurrency, Commercial disputes

    John Wardell KC | Bobby Friedman | Sri Carmichael
    Friday 3 February 2023

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    By Gilead Cooper KC
    Friday 29 July 2022

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