UK High Court Rules Developers Don’t Have to Protect Users

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  • A UK High Court has confirmed that blockchain developers are not responsible for users’ coins
  • Craig Wright had challenged the perception with a lawsuit based on the famous pineapple hack
  • Wright’s case was pre-trial, with the judge ruling that developers do not have a fiduciary duty over users

A UK court has affirmed that maintainers of blockchains don’t have to install measures to protect user funds or build in ways of getting their coins back. Craig Wright, who is suing developers of four blockchains including Bitcoin, lost his case on Friday when the UK High Court ruled that the developers of blockchains do not have a fiduciary duty over their users and do not have to factor user protection into their designs.

Wright’s legal team will appeal the case, but the rationale behind the decision does not bode well for him and will be a relief for developers, who now have a legal precedent to back up blockchain law.

Wright Suing Over Alleged Pineapple Hack

Wright was suing a collection of developers of the Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, eCash, and BSC blockchains to try and get billions of dollars’ worth of coins back that he says belong to him and that were stolen from him in the famous pineapple hack event in February 2020.

His legal team claimed that as the coins still rest on the blockchains in question, the developers should be mandated by the court to effectively rewind the blockchain and give him the coins back, despite there being little evidence supporting his actual ownership of them.

The hearing, which took place in early March, saw developers argue that they do not have a fiduciary duty over the users of their blockchains, who are fully aware that the security of coins is down to them, and any form of loss is not down to them to recompense.

Developers Have Legal Precedent Over Fiduciary Duty

The ramifications of a ruling in Wright’s favor would have been monumental for the space, but fortunately the judge, Justice Falk, ruled that Wright’s had “not established a serious issue to be tried on the merits of the claim” and as such the claim was dismissed at the earliest possible stage.

Wright’s legal team announced that it would appeal, but their chances don’t look great, and developers can sleep at night knowing they have legal precedent to reinforce the notion that they aren’t legally bound to protect users from loss of their coins.