Florida court rules in favor of a plaintiff by serving unidentified defendants via NFT

Florida court rules in favor of a plaintiff by serving unidentified defendants via NFT

In a groundbreaking move, the first instance of the use of a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) to serve defendants has occurred in an American federal court. The defendants in question are accused of stealing almost $1 million worth of USDT from a Coinbase user.

Federal court demands stolen crypto funds returned to plaintiff

Following the theft of roughly $1 million worth of USDT from a Coinbase wallet, an anonymous group of hackers has been instructed by a Florida court to return the stolen funds to the victim.

The defendants were served legal notice of the action via an NFT, using the on-chain addresses they employed during their theft from Rangan Bandyopadhyay’s wallet in December 2021. This ruling is historic because it marks the first instance of an American federal court permitting service of defendants via NFT.

The unidentified hackers who stole $971,291 worth of USDT from Rangan Bandyopadhyay’s Coinbase wallet have been held accountable by Judge Beth Bloom of the United States District Court Southern District of Florida, who issued a default judgment in Bandyopadhyay’s favor. The hackers are required to reimburse Bandyopadhyay with the same amount of money that they stole, plus accrued interest. Nevertheless, the hackers’ anonymity renders the recovery of the money uncertain.

Attorney confident in recovering stolen funds via blockchain

By luring Rangan Bandyopadhyay into linking his Coinbase wallet to a counterfeit liquidity mining project, the hackers were able to siphon off the funds from his wallet and transfer them to their own. Eventually, the stolen money wound up in a Binance Exchange Pool.

Due to the blockchain’s inherent opacity, the identity and whereabouts of the digital thieves remain a mystery. Proficient in the nuances of cryptocurrency, hackers frequently construct intricate networks of sham businesses to convince unaware individuals to link their wallets, which are then depleted in short order.

Fernando Bobadilla, the lawyer who successfully represented Rangan Bandyopadhyay in the case, is optimistic that a portion of the stolen funds can be retrieved. He noted that the blockchain can be as challenging for hackers as it is for their targets because they cannot conceal the transfer of funds. Nevertheless, he did not provide any further insight into how the funds might be recovered.

In the past, American crypto firms like Circle and Coinbase have frozen accounts or funds at the request of the US government. However, USDT, the cryptocurrency that was stolen from Bandyopadhyay’s wallet, is produced by Hong Kong-based firm Tether.

The decision that Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) can serve as a valid form of legal notification for on-chain defendants, even those who are anonymous, represents a pivotal moment for legal systems grappling to keep pace with blockchain-enabled criminal activities.

Although the blockchain’s transparency complicates efforts by hackers to conceal their identities, the recovery of pilfered digital funds and assets remains arduous. However, the court’s verdict in this matter represents progress toward holding digital criminals liable for their misconduct.

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