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Blockchain basics for asset recovery
Episode 125th May 2022 • Contentious Crypto • Harneys - Christopher Pease, Megan Elems
00:00:00 00:11:58

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Introducing our Contentious Crypto podcast series, where we take a look at what makes blockchain technology and crypto ownership fertile ground for asset tracing and recovery exercises.

In this introductory episode, Christopher Pease and Megan Elms of Harneys in conjunction with James Drury of Kalo consider the basics of digital asset ownership and how crypto disputes tend to arise. This sets the groundwork for more in-depth discussions in this series, which include a look at the BVI’s first reported crypto recovery case (ChainSwap) where they will explore the mechanisms available for tracing digital assets, the use of mixers, how they can be overcome and the ways the courts are adapting to the challenges posed by the growth of disputes in the digital asset sector.

Key takeaways:

  • Fraud, disputes, and litigation concerning digital assets are on the rise globally. The British Virgin Islands prevalence in the market means it is seeing a commensurate increase in digital asset disputes and recovery work. 
  • The BVI Commercial Court has recently handed down a “first of its kind decision” in ChainSwap v Persons Unknown, in which it granted an interim freezing injunction and other relief against unknown hackers. 
  • Digital assets use blockchain technology – a live public ledger of transactions. Transactions concerning digital assets are therefore often traceable using public explorers.
  • One of the mechanisms used by those seeking to dissipate and conceal misappropriated digital assets are decentralised mixing services. However, with the right tools and expertise, these can be traced through and overcome.
  • The key to recovery often entails identifying centralised exchanges that hold critical information regarding the wrongdoer - understanding how to leverage these “gateways” and the information they hold is all-important.