UK Court Rules NFTs as ‘Private Property’ Favouring NFT Holders

The High Court of Justice in the UK has ruled to recognise NFTs as private property. The ruling has been hailed as a “landmark” but in reality will not actually change much, apart from helping to combat fraud. NFTs are already treated as private property in the US:

The catch in the ruling is that this conferred private property status does not extend to the underlying content an NFT represents.

OpenSea Caught Up in Case

The court case came about when Lavinia Osbourne, founder of Women in Blockchain Talks, claimed that two Boss Beauties NFTs had been stolen from her MetaMask wallet earlier this year. The NFTs ended up in two anonymous accounts on OpenSea and in an effort to reclaim the stolen property, Osbourne filed an injunction against the NFT marketplace.

A judge overseeing the case ruled that the NFTs were technically property and thereby enabled the court to issue an order requiring OpenSea to freeze the accounts so the NFTs could not be traded or sold.


Since no one knew the identities of the wallet holders, the injunction was granted against “persons unknown”. In a comment regarding the decision, Stevenson Law firm described the ruling as “a draconian remedy”.

Osbourne commented following the ruling:  

Women in Blockchain Talks was founded to open up the opportunities blockchain offers to anyone, regardless of age, gender, nationality or background. This case will hopefully be instrumental in making the blockchain space a safer one, encouraging more people to interact with exciting and meaningful assets like NFTs.

Lavinia Osbourne, founder, Women in Blockchain Talks

UK authorities have been cracking down on the fraudulent use of NFTs, with the country’s first NFT seizure worth US$1.9 million earlier this year having been part of an investigation into an elaborate tax evasion scheme.

Jana Serfontein

Jana Serfontein

Jana has keen interest in what cryptocurrencies have to offer in regards to NGO’s, governments and the financial system. And is also intrigued with the psychological effect that cryptocurrencies have on society.

You may also like