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Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

Tulip Trading granted leave to appeal in bid to recover over £3bn of Bitcoin

Tulip Trading granted leave to appeal in bid to recover over £3bn of Bitcoin


London law firm ONTIER represent the appellant

Rt. Hon. Lady Justice Andrews DBE has granted permission for Tulip Trading Ltd to appeal the judgment handed down by Mrs Justice Falk on 25 March 2022 which denied jurisdiction over a claim for breach of fiduciary and tortious duties.  

Seychelles-registered company Tulip Trading is represented by ONTIER LLP. It is seeking to bring proceedings in the English High Court against 16 bitcoin developer defendants, 13 of whom had challenged jurisdiction leading to Mrs Justice Falk’s judgment upholding their challenge.

However, Lady Justice Andrews in granting the appeal recognised the importance of the issues in the claim. She said: “The issue as to whether Developers owe duties of care and/or fiduciary duties to the owners of digital assets and if so, what is the nature and scope of those duties is one of considerable importance and is rightly characterised as a matter of some complexity and difficulty. 

“Given that in addition to its complexity and difficulty the underlying facts will play a significant role in determining that issue, it is arguable with a real prospect of success that it is not susceptible of summary determination in the context of a challenge to the jurisdiction, and therefore that the Judge fell into error in deciding that there was not even a serious issue to be tried and in the approach she adopted.”

Oliver Cain, partner at ONTIER LLP, commented: “We are grateful that Lady Justice Andrews recognised the wider importance of establishing in law the responsibilities of developers of digital assets to end users. The complex and fact-heavy considerations, that characterise developers’ duties to those who have lost access to their Bitcoin, deserve to be explored and determined at full trial and not to be dismissed through a jurisdiction challenge.

“Individual owners of digital currencies will be grateful that leave to appeal has been granted as the outcome will set the precedent for others to follow, should they lose access to their private wallets. We look forward to successfully presenting our case in full in due course.”

The defendants are the developers of BTC, BCH, BCH and ABC and reside in various jurisdictions across the world including the Netherlands, Switzerland, Kitts and Nevis, France, Japan, numerous 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.

Following the jurisdiction hearing, the Bitcoin Association, developers of BSV, has entered into a settlement agreement with Tulip Trading Ltd.