Landmark case recognizes Bored Ape NFT as an asset

Singapore issues injunction against the sale of image procured through questionable foreclosure

For the first time, a court has issued an injunction to stop the sale and transfer of a non-fungible token (NFT) at the request of a previous owner.

NFT digital art seen on smartphone. Bored Ape Yacht Club (or BAYC) is the collection of the most expensive NFTs

NFT digital art seen on smartphone. Bored Ape Yacht Club (or BAYC) is the collection of the most expensive NFTs

"We are the first law firm in Singapore, and one of the first few in the world, that is successful in obtaining a worldwide proprietary injunction to freeze a Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT sale on the blockchain against a Metaverse personality," said international arbitration and litigation specialist Shaun Leong on law firm Withers KhattarWong's LinkedIn page.

The Singapore High Court issued an order in the commercial dispute over the jovial beanie-wearing ape on May 13, thus restoring its ownership to Janesh Rajkumar, after it had been used as collateral in a loan and subsequently seized.

Rajkumar had used his NFT to borrow Ethereum from public persona and Twitter afficionado "chefpierre" on NFTfi. The ape was to be held in escrow by NFTfi until the loan could be repaid with the stipulation that the loan could be extended.

However, rather than extending, chefpierre foreclosed on the loan, shifted the NFT to his personal Ethereum wallet, and listed it for sale in OpenSea.

"This injunction recognizes NFTs as an asset," said Withers KhattarWong in a canned statement, adding: "The case is also unique as it allows for the service of court papers to be effected via social media such as Twitter, including on Ethereum's platform."

high court singapore (the disc shaped building)

The high court in Singapore (the disc shaped building on the left) was designed by Norman Foster and opened in 2005

Leong asserted that the ruling is important as it recognizes that Singapore courts can take jurisdiction over assets sited in the decentralized blockchain.

Around 10,000 BAYC apes exist worldwide as a collection of pictures of apes in costumes with varying facial expressions, with some owned by celebrities including Madonna, Eminem, and Jimmy Fallon. Their price peaked at $434,000, or 152 ETH, in April 2022 on online NFT marketplace OpenSea.

The UK also had a recent landmark ruling in January when it recognized the digital art tech as legal property, froze two stolen NFTs, and returned them to the digital wallet of the owner.

Since then, BAYC's Instagram was hacked, leading to the theft of about $3 million from the digital wallets of NFT enthusiasts. ®

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Taiwan creates new challenge for tech industry: stern content regulation laws
    Big tech asked to be more transparent by logging what it took down and why

    Taiwan's concentration of tech manufacturing capability worries almost all stakeholders in the technology industry – if China reclaims the island, it would kick a colossal hole in global supply chains. Now the country has given Big Tech another reason to worry: transparency regulations of a kind social networks and surveillance capitalists detest.

    The regulations – named the Digital Intermediary Service Act and released as a draft yesterday by Taiwan's National Communications Commission – require platform operators to create a complaints mechanism anyone can use to request content takedowns, remove illegal content at speed, undergo audits to demonstrate they can do so, and respond promptly to orders to remove content.

    When platforms decide to take down content, they'll need to list each instance in a public database to promote accountability and transparency of their actions.

    Continue reading
  • India extends deadline for compliance with infosec logging rules by 90 days
    Helpfully announced extension on deadline day

    Updated India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the local Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) have extended the deadline for compliance with the Cyber Security Directions introduced on April 28, which were due to take effect yesterday.

    The Directions require verbose logging of users' activities on VPNs and clouds, reporting of infosec incidents within six hours of detection - even for trivial things like unusual port scanning - exclusive use of Indian network time protocol servers, and many other burdensome requirements. The Directions were purported to improve the security of local organisations, and to give CERT-In information it could use to assess threats to India. Yet the Directions allowed incident reports to be sent by fax – good ol' fax – to CERT-In, which offered no evidence it operates or would build infrastructure capable of ingesting or analyzing the millions of incident reports it would be sent by compliant organizations.

    The Directions were roundly criticized by tech lobby groups that pointed out requirements such as compelling clouds to store logs of customers' activities was futile, since clouds don't log what goes on inside resources rented by their customers. VPN providers quit India and moved their servers offshore, citing the impossibility of storing user logs when their entire business model rests on not logging user activities. VPN operators going offshore means India's government is therefore less able to influence such outfits.

    Continue reading
  • IBM settles age discrimination case that sought top execs' emails
    Just days after being ordered to provide messages, Big Blue opts out of public trial

    Less than a week after IBM was ordered in an age discrimination lawsuit to produce internal emails in which its former CEO and former SVP of human resources discuss reducing the number of older workers, the IT giant chose to settle the case for an undisclosed sum rather than proceed to trial next month.

    The order, issued on June 9, in Schenfeld v. IBM, describes Exhibit 10, which "contains emails that discuss the effort taken by IBM to increase the number of 'millennial' employees."

    Plaintiff Eugene Schenfeld, who worked as an IBM research scientist when current CEO Arvind Krishna ran IBM's research group, sued IBM for age discrimination in November, 2018. His claim is one of many that followed a March 2018 report by ProPublica and Mother Jones about a concerted effort to de-age IBM and a 2020 finding by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that IBM executives had directed managers to get rid of older workers to make room for younger ones.

    Continue reading
  • Small in Japan: Hitachi creates its own (modest) cloud
    VMware-powered sovereign cloud not going to challenge hyperscalers, and won't be repeated beyond Japan

    Updated Hitachi has taken a modest step towards becoming a public cloud provider, with the launch of a VMware-powered cloud in Japan that The Register understands may not be its only such venture.

    The Japanese giant has styled the service a "sovereign cloud" – a term that VMware introduced to distinguish some of its 4,000-plus partners that operate small clouds and can attest to their operations being subject to privacy laws and governance structures within the nation in which they operate.

    Public cloud heavyweights AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, IBM, and Alibaba also offer VMware-powered clouds, at hyperscale. But some organizations worry that their US or Chinese roots make them vulnerable to laws that might allow Washington or Beijing to exercise extraterritorial oversight.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022