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Wrongly Sent Ethereum Should Be Returned To The Owner, Rules British Columbia Court

The issue of cryptocurrency being stolen or lost have been a real concern in the ecosystem. A post published on the Business Law Blog, by the faculty of law at the University of Oxford on the 12th of December highlighted the issue and the consequences of the subsequent claims.

A researcher at SAFE Frankfurt – Grygoriy Pustovit, cited the case of Copytrack Pte Ltd vs. Brian Wall in the blog post. The post states that the British Columbia superior trial court ruled the return of Ethereum (ETH) tokens that were mistakenly sent to another receiver.

Copytrack, a blockchain startup based in Singapore, mistakenly sent 530 ETH tokens, instead of 530 Copytrack (CPY) coins into defendant, Brian Wall’s wallet. He was to receive the 530 CPY tokens for participating in the Initial Coin Offering by the firm. Notably, the total value of ETH sent is equivalent to $370,482 (495,000 Canadian dollars), whereas the total value of CPY coins was $583 (780 Canadian dollars) at the time.

The ruling asked the defendant to return the said tokens back to Copytrack. Pustovit asserts that:

 “This pattern may have a huge effect on the enforcement of claims about stolen and lost digital currency.

Here the plaintiff was awarded the power to trace and recover coins from whosoever might be holding the Ethereum tokens at the moment.

Crypto Tracing

Using proficient services for tracking digital currencies, the rightful owners could trace some of the tokens on public ledgers and recover them once they surface on the wallet of trading platforms. Pustovit notes that the blockchain is not just governed by codes, it is indeed governed by laws of concerned jurisdiction.

Furthermore, the blog states that enforcing different national regulations and laws could prove difficult over cryptocurrencies. However, the cryptocurrency business will gladly in accordance with ruling in jurisdictions as this works in favour of their strategic interests.  According to Pustovit, the court did miss the opportunity of defining the legal traits of digital currencies. The reason being that it couldn’t be handled via summary judgment.

The defendant is no longer alive and thus the matter is not sent to trial. The court ruled that ETH token are the plaintiff’s property, and all the tokens should be returned. However,  the claims regarding conversion and detinue remained unsettled.


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