As one of the latest and most innovative developments in business and finance, cryptocurrency – and, in particular, its use of encrypted, decentralised blockchain - has revolutionised the way individuals and corporates conduct operations. Cryptocurrency and decentralised ledger technology offers new business possibilities, either through investment or its use in transactions. It is an ever-developing area, and Rahman Ravelli offers sophisticated and knowledgeable legal counsel to navigate this rapidly-evolving space.
At the heart of Rahman Ravelli’s cryptocurrency and blockchain practice is a deep understanding of the technologies that drive blockchain and related developments in distributive computing networks.
The fact that cryptocurrency does not adhere to borders, that its regulation is in its relative infancy and the risks it carries mean that anyone considering any involvement with it must be fully aware of its intricacies. At Rahman Ravelli, our international experience means that we are ideally placed to offer the best advice, carry out the necessary checks, deal with the relevant enforcement agencies worldwide and assist whenever assets need to be traced and recovered.
While cryptocurrency and blockchain is still a relatively new concept from a regulation perspective, it has attracted the attention of enforcement agencies around the world. Such agencies have been quick to assess the potential dangers associated with such currencies, as well as allegations that they have been set up to defraud investors and / or are being used to facilitate other offences. From email scams to ransomware, cybercrime can take many forms. In recent years, cryptocurrency has also become the preferred detergent for offenders looking to launder money.
Any company or individual that comes under investigation has to know how to respond – and must do so quickly. We at Rahman Ravelli have put ourselves at the forefront of representing those who believe they may have - or are accused of having - used cryptocurrency as a vehicle for wrongdoing
Many may also find themselves wanting to recoup their cryptoassets as a result of wrongdoing which has been committed against them. Here at Rahman Ravelli, we employ a number of civil recovery instruments that are at our disposal to seek a return of the asset to the rightful owner. We have seen first-hand how cryptoassets have been identified as being suitable for civil remedies including proprietary injunctions, freezing injunctions, bankers trust orders and Norwich Pharmacal orders. We also work closely with asset tracing companies to assist in the location of the cryptoassets to enhance the effectiveness of any orders we seek.
Our specialist cryptocurrency team at Rahman Ravelli brings together a wealth of legal expertise from multiple disciplines across the firm, including our investigations, litigation, regulatory, asset tracing and business crime practices.
We specialise in all areas of cryptoasset compliance and all types of cryptoasset disputes and are on hand to ensure that we can help in whatever way assistance is needed.
What is a Cryptoasset / Cryptocurrency?
The term ‘cryptoasset’ is used as a catch-all for any form of digital asset that exists solely within the internet.
The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce (UKJT) established in November 2019 stated that cryptoassets are “property” under English law — but they are not “things in possession”, and they have been defined by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as:
‘A cryptographically secured digital representation of value or contractual rights that uses a form of distributed ledger technology and can be transferred, stored or traded electronically’
‘Cryptocurrency’ is a digital or virtual currency accessed via the internet that is secured by cryptography and used to make cross-border payments and fund transfers. Many cryptocurrencies are decentralised networks based on blockchain technology — a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. A defining feature of cryptocurrencies is that they are generally not issued by any central authority, rendering them theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation. According to the FCA, cryptocurrency is:
“Any publicly available electronic medium of exchange that features a distributed ledger and a decentralised system for exchanging value”
When Can a Cryptocurrency Dispute Arise?
Disputes involving cryptoassets can occur in a number of situations. These may include:
- Where a claimant is trying to recover cryptocurrencies or access to a private key;
- Where a criminal matter has occurred, such as fraud or money laundering;
- Where a party is allegedly using cryptoassets to hide assets;
- Where a party is allegedly concealing assets in the course of litigation; or
- Where there is a breach of contract by way of inducement.
Further Reading:We have an in-depth guide relating to this subject which can be read here:
▸ Cryptocurrency – Reducing The Risks
If you would like to speak to our specialist team, we can be contacted on: +44 (0)203 947 1539.