Oxford Law Weighs In On Illegitimate Ethereum Transactions


Many in the cryptocurrency world have praised the fact that blockchain technology is immutable. This means that once a payment is made, it is recorded forever, and cannot be altered. Of course, this does present its own issues.

For example, if a party sends cryptocurrency to the wrong address – there is no real recourse. The recipient does not actually have to pay you back, and there is no authority that can reverse the transaction, given the decentralized nature of blockchain technology.

However, that might change one day. At least, that’s what The University of Oxford Law School suggested in a recent blog post. The post was written by Grygoriy Pustovit, who is currently a research fellow at SAFE Frankfurt.

Specifically, the post stated:

“It is infeasible to reverse a single transaction, even if there were valid reasons to do so. However, it is frequently overlooked that blockchain transactions (including those relative to cryptocurrency), apart from the digital rules (code), are governed by law. Therefore, while a cryptocurrency transaction cannot usually be changed in the ledger, the outcome of the transaction, what matters at the end of the day, can be modified through legal recourse.”

The post also referred to a legal battle between Copytrack Pte Ltd and Mr. Wall, a Canadian court case in which Mr. Wall was transferred more Ethereum than he should have when he participated in the Copytrack ICO. Copytrack is a project that aims to become a global blockchain-based cryptocurrency digital media register:

Unfortunately, Mr. Wall passed away before the matter went to court. The court “confined itself to the fact that the Ether tokens were the property of the plaintiff, and should be rightfully returned to it.”