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Issues Raised By Multi-Million-Pound NFT Sale Considered

Author: Syedur Rahman  4 November 2021

Questions are being asked about what is claimed to be one of the most expensive non-fungible token (Non-Fungible Token'>NFT) sales.

While it has been reported that a CryptoPunk NFT has just been sold for over $500 million, some analysts have raised doubts about whether the sale is genuine.

According to the CryptoPunk sales feed, the NFT CryptoPunk #9998 was sold for $532 million. This makes it the most expensive sale in the history of Cryptopunks, which are unique collectible characters with proof of ownership stored on the Ethereum blockchain.

But the sale has led to some in the crypto community voicing concerns that there may have been some form of manipulation involved in the sale.

While NFT’s exist to authenticate provenance – in other words, the origin of something - with the benefit of blockchain technology, the risks of money laundering and fraud do still remain. This is inevitable given the anonymity that exists within the blockchain.

At the moment, NFT’s are a new asset class and much of the legal and regulatory framework for them is still developing in the UK and across the world.  The fact that both the buyer and the seller of an NFT can remain anonymous makes them very attractive  to those looking to launder money.

The European Union’s Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive has attempted to address the importance of customer due diligence and ongoing monitoring for cryptoasset exchange providers and custodian wallet providers. But, as yet, it is still to be determined how an NFT should be defined. It is unclear whether it should be considered an “unregulated token” or a type of regulated financial instrument that falls within the UK’s regulatory perimeter. 

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Syedur Rahman is known for his in-depth experience of serious fraud, white-collar crime and serious crime cases, as well as his expertise in worldwide asset tracing and recovery, international arbitration, civil recovery, cryptocurrency and high-stakes commercial disputes.

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