Blockchain & digital assets disputes & recoveries

Our team includes precedent setting and blockchain native lawyers who have substantial experience in deal with complex multijurisdictional litigation involving blockchain technology and recovering cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

Highly specialised, experienced and client centric, our agile lawyers are the market leaders for all things blockchain- including experts who have been instrumental in setting  much of the law in this sector and across the globe.

Through a dedicated blockchain sector-focused litigation practice, Shoosmiths is able to draw on years of expertise, market knowledge and sharing, and thought leadership to adapt to the extremely fast paced blockchain and digital assets sector.

A unique practice advising clients who seek to recover digital assets as part of a fraud, ransom paid, under insolvency or otherwise, the team strive to  to find commercial solutions for  the most complex issues facing  businesses and individuals alike.

Having secured strategic relationships with some of the world’s leading blockchain analytics firms, to developing specialist industry know how, Shoosmiths has cemented its multi-disciplinary commitment to the sector to ensure first class advisory services.

With an ingrained international outlook and select strategic legal partners across the globe, the team is designed to deal with intricate, multi-jurisdictional issues to secure the necessary results for clients.

Expertise includes:

Digital asset recovery

We recover digital assets, like Bitcoin and Ether, stable coins, non-fungible tokens and all other crypto assets, whether due to fraud, payment of a ransom under an insurance policy, insolvency and where parties are seeking to obfuscate particular digital assets.

Our team includes precedent setters who have shaped the entire legal landscape around crypto assets, including the rule that crypto assets like Bitcoin are “property” under common law (see Matt Green’s seminal case of AA v Persons Unknown Re Bitcoin, 2019), which fundamentally shaped the treatment of crypto assets across the world. Since then, the team continues to secure High Court decisions which seek the ringfencing and then return of digital assets.

We have key relationships with reputable investigators, forensic tracers, expert report specialists and government advisory consultants, as well as  dedicated insolvency practitioners, custodial providers for crypto assets, key exchanges, and insurance providers. These relationships enable the team to deliver a full, streamlined service, from the moment assets are lost through to recovery.

How do we do it?

The team works hand in glove with specialist investigators who trace digital assets across blockchains to determine their whereabouts, usually in foreign jurisdictions, and then ringfence, freeze and seek return of those funds to their rightful owners using the established rules upheld by the English Courts. Proceedings are usually in private, and claimants can usually be anonymised to furnish added protection.

Having developed relationships with centralised digital asset exchanges, we can secure informal blocks on the account preventing dissipation before applying to the Courts for formal relief. In addition, we prepare Proceeds of Crime notices where appropriate to add further safeguards.

From there, and having instructed barristers in this field, we apply for worldwide and proprietary injunctions and pursue the individuals holding victim’s funds in order to secure a quick and commercial solution.

We always seek to make sure clients are informed of fees and costs prior to each step of the proceedings to ensure commercial outcomes that make sense for victims. Given the breadth of experience in this field, we are able to rely on in-house precedents to keep legal fees down and work with specific counsel to ensure a communicative, responsive and therefore cost sensitive approach.

Dispute resolution focusing on blockchain technology

We conduct complex litigation and arbitration involving blockchain technology, usually across multiple jurisdictions.

This can include corporate disputes where stakeholders are at odds, to the offering of certain financial products in violation of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, breach of contracts involving commercial deals with distributed ledger technology at their heart, to insolvency proceedings and disputes over custody and insurance.

Meet the team

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